Look up our region on Google Maps, and load the satellite view so you can see the way it looks from space, and you get a sense of how wonderfully wooded and green our surroundings are. We really do live in a suburban forest! Particularly now, as spring has returned, the rains have subdued (more or less), and a thousand shades of green cover our landscape.

Green means growth. I love to see the yards come back to life after the winter, and the green shoots of the daffodils push up through the soil. The tiny green buds on the apple trees will eventually yield apples. And the produce section in the market is filled with all things green and leafy—some of which I actually like to eat.

Green means other things, too. Some of them, like “turning green” or “green with envy,” we can leave to discuss another day, but in the last few years “green” has come to mean relating positively to the environment and ecology.

At Adventist HealthCare we have been engaged in “being green” for a long time. Our company-wide Energy and Sustainability Programs have had significant benefits for the environments you find in our hospitals and the environmental “footprint” we have in our community—and resulted in significant cost savings in our operations. We have worked hard on conservation efforts, energy efficiency, waste disposal and management, and safety issues. The result is that we are a far more “green” system now.

Actually, being aware of the environment around you is pretty much what being green is all about. The springtime causes us to look around and see the world as a place filled with growth and renewal. It is when we are mindful of how we can affect the impact we have on the natural environment that we embrace the changes that help make a better world.

What if we apply green thinking to other aspects of our lives? How can we practice awareness? Where can we look for renewal and growth? How can we alter our attitudes and practices, and embrace changes that improve our lives and our communities?

Kermit the Frog sings, “It’s not that easy bein’ green.” Fair enough—but it’s worth it. And it’s what we want to be.