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!