Happy Earth Day!

image_0af3e79f News Today is Earth Day, a day designated nearly 40 years ago to inspire awareness of and appreciation for our environment. But it isn’t easy to be green, according to this study from MSN. Nearly 70 percent of people said that they would never limit toilet flushes to conserve water or use a kitchen compost. What Earth Day does do, is rise awareness of all-things-environmental.

Over on Microsoft’s Environmental Sustainability Blog we read about why Earth Day Matters to Microsoft:

Effectively managing our scarce energy resources while addressing climate change – even as the world’s population steadily rises – will be one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Microsoft is working hard with our partners, customers and suppliers, as well as with governments and leading environmental organizations, to help address this critical environmental challenge.  This Earth Day, I want to share the latest information on our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which focuses on three core areas:

Using information technology to dramatically improve energy efficiency.  Information and communications technology (ICT) products are responsible for around 2% of global carbon emissions, according to the analyst firm Gartner.  Microsoft is working to create new technologies and improve industry best practices to reduce the energy use of information technology devices.

Accelerating research breakthroughs. Scientific research into the impact that human behavior has on complex environmental and biological systems provides the insights needed for effective policy change and increased environmental awareness. Microsoft Research is working with leading scientists to expand the boundaries of our knowledge by creating tools, technologies and models to enhance scientific understanding on a global scale.

Demonstrating responsible environmental leadership at home. Microsoft is committed to reducing our global carbon emissions per unit of revenue by at least 30% by 2012 (compared with 2007 levels). We have undertaken several initiatives to decrease our environmental impact, from green-building-designs to the introduction of food composting on all our campuses. We operate one of the world’s largest company-owned fleets of buses to reduce congestion, emissions and employee commuting miles at our Puget Sound headquarters.

For more information on Microsoft’s sustainability work please visit http://www.microsoft.com/environment

To celebrate Earth Day and help you create a more energy efficient IT infrastructure, TechNet Magazine is publishing a special online-only edition dedicated to Green IT.

Live Search is helping you go green by answering the following questions:

What is my carbon footprint?
What hybrid car is best? 
Where can I find stylish reusable shopping bags?
How do I kitchen compost?

More tips and tricks for going green are offered on MSN Green.

Virtual Earth:

Los Angeles County just announced their Solar Map project which leverages Virtual Earth to allow homeowners and businesses to go online to determine if their properties are good candidates for solar power.

The Microsoft Research Team launched a new search engine called SciScope which is focused exclusively on rich environmental information presented on a Microsoft Virtual Earth map. The site facilitates data discovery and retrieval from millions of sensors that monitor the quality of the environment.

More information about the Solar Map and SciScope can be found on Chris Pendleton’s blog.

Photographers around the world can contribute to an ambitious project that will attempt to create a photo-composite of the world on Earth Day. The Earth Mosaic project started out as a wild idea to do something truly significant, involving photography. Something world-wide. More info over at the Microsoft Professional Photography Blog.

Happy Earth Day!