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Did you know that April 22 is Earth Day?
In 2020, over 100 million people worldwide celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, driving awareness and actionable learning around environmental issues with activities focused on education, conservation, citizen science, cleanup and more.
In 2021, the #EarthDay theme is Restore Our Earth with a focus on five topics:
- The Canopy Project – a conservation and restoration effort to plant trees and rehabilitate areas in need of reforestation.
- Foodprints For the Future – an effort focused on fighting climate change with diet change.
- The Great Global Cleanup – an effort focused on reducing our waste footprints by working to clean up our environment.
- Climate and Environmental Literacy – combining grassroots community efforts with national initiatives and civic engagement.
- Global Earth Challenge – a citizen science initiative to engage millions of people in collecting and understanding environmental data.
Sustainability is an area of significant importance to Microsoft and we wanted to do something to help create awareness and empower actionable learning around relevant topics for technologists.
Awareness: #GreenTech Advocacy
In a January 2020 announcement, Microsoft laid out ambitious company-level goals for sustainability including: being carbon negative by 2030, removing historical carbon emissions by 2050, and establishing a $1B climate innovation fund to invest in research in context. One year later, the Environmental Sustainability Report (read the three-part blog coverage) reviewed progress, focusing on four pillars:
- Be carbon negative – remove more carbon dioxide than we emit each year.
- Be water positive – put more water back into the environment than we consume.
- Be zero waste — encourage redesign of resource lifecycles to eliminate or reduce waste.
- Support healthy ecosystems – collect and analyze data to understand ecosystems, stop decline.
This is progress at organization scale. But you might be asking yourself — “how can I educate myself on the issues and contribute to, or advocate for, sustainable living and engineering practices in my community and workplace?” We’re glad you asked!
Here are a few resources to get you started on your learning journey:
- GreenTech blog – read articles on best practices and insights from experts and practitioners.
- Principles of Sustainable Software Engineering – learn key concepts in this 30-minute module
- Visual Guide to Sustainable Software Engineering – summarized in 1 image, for visual learners.
- EcoChallenge.org – build better habits by taking actions with impact (see: Microsoft challenge)
- Celebrate Earth Day with Minecraft – empower student actions with Minecraft worlds & lessons
Awareness is great but actionable learning is better! So we came up with a fun challenge for April, just in time for #EarthDay!
Action: #VisualGreenTech Challenge
Here is how this works:
- What we do: Share a learning prompt (pinned daily under @nitya) with a resource link to help you explore that topic.
- What you do: Check out the resource and respond to the prompt using a visual (sketchnote or doodle) with insights.
- Share the visual on Twitter and tag it #EarthDay #VisualGreenTech
- We’ll collate all submissions and feature them in a segment on the #HelloWorldLive show on EarthDay (Apr 22)
Submit responses to as many prompts as you like, as many times as you want to. The goal is to create awareness around those topics and share our own learnings and perspectives in context. Want a sneak peek at the prompts in advance? check out the gallery here.
But wait. There’s one more thing!
Share a Sketch. Plant A Tree!
Along with featuring all submitted visual Earth Day images, we will also work with Ecosia to plant 1,000 trees in honor of all #VisualGreenTech challenge participants to help tackle climate change. Yes, that’s right! Let’s give back to the earth and learn more about sustainability in the process.
Have questions? Leave us a comment on this post! And let’s make a difference to this planet.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.