Earth Day at Microsoft–Looking forward, looking back

Though concern for the environment is always top of mind at Microsoft, Earth Day is a good moment in time for taking a step back and reflecting on environmental initiatives and activities across the entire company.

To that end, I’ve put together a roundup of environmentally themed stories from across several different groups here at Microsoft.

New LiveANDES app helps citizens give endangered species a fighting chance. It’s easy to feel helpless when we hear about species falling into extinction in far-away lands. But now, thanks to a new app that Microsoft Research developed in partnership with researchers from two organizations in Latin America, hikers and other nature enthusiasts can play an important role in keeping endangered species alive. The app is called LiveANDES and is part of a system designed to collect, house and analyze data about Latin America’s wildlife. Watch the video below and then head on over to the Microsoft Research Connections Blog to get the rest of this great story.

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Earth Day 2013 – reflecting on our commitment to sustainability. For the past several years, Microsoft Chief Environmental Strategist Rob Bernard has used Earth Day as an opportunity to look at Microsoft’s progress on environmental sustainability issues over the past 12 months and where we are headed in the year to come. The most significant progress to report is around Microsoft’s work to achieve carbon neutrality in our current fiscal year. Head on over to the Microsoft Green Blog to learn more about the company’s carbon neutrality initiative as well as company investments in renewable energy and carbon offset projects, Microsoft’s smart buildings project and progress on waste reduction.

Celebrate Earth Day with these environmental-themed games. Games are a great way to learn about the environment. In recognition of Earth Day, the Microsoft Student Blog has highlighted five games developed by finalists from the 2012 Imagine Cup where the environment played a central role. The five games include “Verdant Fantasy”, “Radiant”, “Swifty Ball”, “Red Phoenix” and “Bloom Block”. Head on over to the Microsoft Student Blog to watch video clips from each game. Below is a video clip from “Verdant Fantasy”.

Skype to the rescue! How you can help the planet. This year marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, a day meant to shed light on important environmental issues and inspire greater awareness. Whether it’s through composting, recycling or reducing the amount energy used, there are countless options you can partake in to decrease the overall negative impact you have on the environment. Not sure where to start? Try out some of our favorite Skype green tips and commit to showing the planet earth you care by vowing to “go green”. Read more about it over on the Skype Blogs.

Microsoft ITPAC – a perfect fit for off-the-grid computing. Last November we announced our zero carbon Data Plant R&D project in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For a quick refresher, we’re placing a small container data center we call an IT Pre-Assembled Component, or ITPAC, at a wastewater treatment facility in Cheyenne. A natural bi-product of a wastewater plant is methane gas, which is typically flared off because it’s uneconomical to recover and convert to grid energy. At our Data Plant, we view this methane gas as an opportunity to provide a reliable power source to power a data center, and we decided to launch this project to test the concept and the capabilities. Head on over to the Microsoft Data Centers Blog for the rest of this story.

Ten earth friendly facts about Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. Microsoft has an environmental strategy that spans the entire company and is focused on reducing the impact of our own operations and accelerating the use of information technology in addressing environmental issues. Read this post over on the Microsoft Data Centers Blog to see 10 earth friendly facts about Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog