The dogwoods are flowering, the daffodils have sprouted along the walkways and highways, the birds in our wide blue sky are in full voice. And to make the picture complete, it’s the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.

The first Earth Day ever was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Many consider it to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. Before Earth Day, words like “ecology” and even “environment” were more likely to be read in a scholarly journal than in the newspaper. The cars were huge and heavy, and they consumed massive amounts of leaded gasoline. The amount of pollution being pumped into the waterways and atmosphere was massive. And, for the most part, concern for the Earth as our host and home was not on the minds of the people of our planet.

But now, 45 years later, Earth Day has become such an important marker of our interests and concern that it is estimated that well over 1 billion people in as many as 192 countries will honor Earth Day today. While the issues facing us about our environment and stewardship of the planet are difficult and demanding of our best attention (and are often discussed in polarized or divisive contexts), the idea of taking a day to think about our terrestrial home, our island planet in the vastness of space, is one that has captured our attention for more than four decades.

Where the first Earth Day was imagined as a giant “teach-in,” or an awareness event, today Earth Day is celebrated by our active participation in things that improve the health of our planet. One of our core values in Adventist HealthCare is stewardship, which calls us to a comprehensive approach to our overall environmental footprint. We believe that this is key to providing excellent care for our patients, as well as a significant part of being good citizens in our community.

On Earth Day we join with millions of other people and organizations around the planet to celebrate our world of blue and green and to express our commitment to protecting and caring for the Earth every day throughout the year.