You may have read our article on persuasive technology and the popular documentary The Social Dilemma. But according to the head of our Innovation Lab, Phil Magnuszewski, David Attenborough’s A Life on our Planet is “the most important documentary of the year.” Perhaps this is because even among all our social and political challenges, the most urgent tangible threat we face is an environmental one. In Attenborough’s 93 years, he’s witnessed vast natural destruction—this latest documentary of his is “the story of global decline during a lifetime.” And yet Attenborough isn’t all gloom and despair—pairing his usual sense of wonder in the natural world with the capabilities we have today, he expresses a hope in what might be our last chance to turn things around and achieve environmental sustainability. We want to take part in that effort, and Microsoft does too. Here are some ways we’re doing it.
Microsoft’s Sustainability Commitment
Microsoft has created their own Sustainability Pledge. Here’s what that entails:
- A company goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030
- Creating a “Planetary Computer” featuring machine learning to gather and analyze environmental data around the world
- Planting 250,000 trees during 2020 (particularly in Uganda, Brazil, and Burkina Faso in West Africa)
The tech giant also offers this Microsoft Sustainability Champion marketing badge to companies who participate in their sustainability activities.
AI for Earth Partners
Another key role that Microsoft plays is through its collaboration with environmental groups around the world with its AI for Earth program. The point of this initiative is to empower those doing environmental work with the most innovative tools, enabling them to make better and faster progress. There are several different categories, from agriculture to animal identification—and many of them allow for citizen participation without any organizational affiliation. Those who are making more organized efforts can apply for AI for Earth grants. One example of such a grant recipient is the nonprofit group The Ocean Cleanup. They’ve created large solar-powered vessels called Interceptors that trap and collect up to 11,000 pounds of trash per day in rivers flowing to the ocean. Their autonomous design keeps humans out of these polluted areas while effectively halting plastic from entering the ocean. With the AI for Earth grant, The Ocean Cleanup now has the power of machine learning to identify and track debris faster.
Call for Partnerships
Infused Innovations partners with both Microsoft and environmental advocates to help bring innovative resources to organizations. One of our partnerships is with INSPIRE Environmental, a group that uses AI to measure the health of the seafloor and works with the environmental sustainability leader Ørsted to place offshore windmills effectively. Our Secure Intelligent Workplace for Good initiative provides steeply discounted Microsoft 365 licenses and Azure donation credits to non-profits working on repairing the earth, and we want to help you be more productive. Contact us below to find out more.
Other Simple Things You Do to Improve Environmental Sustainability
Even if you don’t work in an environmental organization, there are steps that all of us can take to help put us in a better direction. Consider what you might start doing today:
- Watch Attenborough’s film, learn about soil regeneration in Kiss The Ground, and explore other documentaries on environmental sustainability.
- Make changes in your diet. Switching to more plant-based and local options makes a big impact on the environment and will become increasingly necessary for a growing population to maintain enough food supply.
- Do your own backyard gardening and composting, and advocate for city government recycling and food waste management. (San Francisco is a great example.)
- Consider donating your time or money to environmental organizations whose efforts you’d like to support.
As David Attenborough has said, “I would feel guilty if I saw what the problems are and ignored them.” The planet is all of ours to protect. And while we are now faced with the biggest environmental challenges in human history, we also have the best tools available to make a difference. Today is the day to start.