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Remembering Our Planet

My father refuses gifts on Father’s Day. “Every day is Father’s Day,” he says. His implication is simply that appreciation for loved ones shouldn’t be dedicated to a single day, but rather every day throughout the year. I suppose it’s no surprise that my view of Earth Day is similar.

Earth Day, a dedicated day in which individuals, groups and organizations tune their consciousness into environmental concerns, has been around since 1970. There’s simply no limit as to how it’s celebrated. Some people conduct cleanups of rivers or highways. Others raise awareness of water issues and climate change.

At Affinity Health System, we’ve been fortunate to do numerous unique activities in regards to Earth Day. Here is what we did for the past three years:

  • 2010 – Local utility representatives showed us how electric meters work in homes.
  • 2011 – Helios USA, Wisconsin’s first solar panel manufacturer, educated audiences on how sunlight is harvested and turned into energy.
  • 2012 – St. Elizabeth Hospital invited students in from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for an intimate tour of the “factory” floor. Emphasis was placed on how sustainability practices impact the community and the planet. Students received a glimpse into why a patient’s care is built around an environment that takes sustainable design, lean process improvement and evidence-based design into great consideration.

Regardless of the celebration type, the message is the same. We only have one earth, and the relationship of human activities and our respective impact is reflective. I once heard a speaker say that humanizing the planet and speaking of it as if it were a person is perhaps the best avenue for giving it the respect it deserves. Well, Earth Day is a great start, right up there with the best of days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. However, remembering the value of those days all year round isn’t a bad idea either!

About Iqbal Mian

Iqbal Mian is the sustainability team leader at Affinity Health System. His work involves energy benchmarking of facilities and projects around reducing usage. He also coordinates efforts for the environmental management system at Affinity. He begs the question of how processes in health care impact people, planet and prosperity. He received his Bachelor’s degree in business administration in supply chain and operations management from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2008 and is a certified building operator in addition to be trained in ISO 14001 internal auditing. He joined Affinity Health System in February 2010.

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