Surely you know about the United Nations 15th Climate Change Conference (COP15), which is taking place right now. But did you know that Microsoft has sent a delegation of issue and technology experts to support COP15?
That group is participating in a series of briefings, events and partnerships to showcase the power of information technology to help address the daunting global energy and climate challenges the world faces. An important aspect of addressing climate change involves increasing awareness and access to information about the scope of the problem. As such Microsoft partnered with the EEA, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to create the Environmental Atlas of Europe.
This application is built on top of Windows Azure, with Bing Maps and Microsoft Silverlight providing the interface and aims to raise awareness by showcasing stories from eyewitnesses describing their first-hand experiences of climate change and how their communities have responded.
Should you worry about climate change? Yes, you should! Just take a look at the videos on the Environmental Atlas of Europe and see how it affects us all. For example in the video of the Netherlands (my home country) you see what flooding does to a country, which will happen again if the ice melts even more. The water level will rise and large parts of the world will overflow, not just the Netherlands! The effects of global warming are bigger than you think, have you seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth?
But hey isn’t all that happening in like what 20, 30, 40, 50 years or so? No, it is already happening and will only get worse if we don’t do something now. That’s why COP15 is so important and just has to succeed! I really hope this time the big countries America and China will do their part too and sign the agreement, if they can come to one, in Copenhagen.
But not just governments have to do something, you can help too. How? That is answered by the second application Microsoft revealed on December 13th: Bend the Trend
Here you can see what you can do and make your pledge.
The pledges vary from eating less meat, eating potatoes instead of rice to recycling cans, and from taking a 5 minute shower instead of a 10 minute one to replacing your boiler every 10 years and using energy saving light bulbs. Probably lots you can easily fit into your current lifestyle.
Let’s make a change today, hopefully it’s not too late!