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Mother’s (Earth) Day Epistle

In the 1970s, many of the climate change issues that now dominate our public debate first surfaced. Among the more enduring periodicals from that period was Mother Earth News, a homespun pioneer in practical approaches to ecology, renewable energy, recycling and Emersonian approaches to self-reliance. As I write this, just past Mother’s Day here in the U.S., it is an appropriate time to reflect on the betterment of our planet and to consult Mother Earth News for a definition of total ecology:

“A scientific means for discovering the expeditious ways of employing the world’s resources in a way which will render a higher standard of living for all mankind- a means of accumulating facts, information and statistics related to world resources-a way of discovering trends in the use and misuse of resources-a network for relating these trends and developing a logical sequence of events to show how a future state might evolve.”

Climate change is not a fashion issue: it is a boardroom issue. Increasingly we see environmental responsibility taken seriously. Businesses, consumers and service providers of all sizes are driving behavioral change to protect the environment. Tightening environmental regulations accelerate this trend. So it is not surprising that our industry is now turning to a system of green product testing and analysis. In fact, on April 29, 2008, Miercom, a leading network product test center and consultancy, introduced its”Certified Green” product testing and evaluation program. Aimed at establishing complete ‘green’ analysis of networking products, Miercom’s Certified Green program is based on detailed lab test results and qualitative product assessments in addition to a holistic view of product impact. The program provides meaningful, independent guidance to IT organizations looking to improve their own ‘green’ IT and business practices. As noted in a recent InformationWeek article, Cisco’s Catalyst ® 3750-E, 3560-E, 3750, 3560 and 2960 Series Switches were the first products designated as Certified Green:See here and here. Miercom’s Cisco Catalyst testing focused on power efficiency, including power usage and management, heat dissipation, cooling requirements, and overall energy efficiency. Focusing on power efficiency and ‘green’ product practices is a top priority for Cisco. We are proud that our Catalyst switches are the first to be certified under this important new program. But we also recognize this is only the beginning. Meeting more stringent standards for energy usage is only one part of the equation. It will take new kinds of architecture for technology to play a role in reducing the harmful effects of climate change. In an earlier blog, I shared how a Unified Communications”architecture of inclusion” could play a role: These new kinds of technology architecture support the four-pillar approach to addressing climate change Cisco adopted over 6 years ago:1. Providing employees with approaches to reduce/conserve energy consumption (telecommuting, web conferencing, Telepresence, carpooling, etc.) 2. Sustainable business practices (energy/resource efficient workplaces, more efficient product packaging, etc.)3. Designing each successive generation of products to use less energy (lower energy usage when not in duty cycle, cold standby, etc.)4. Customer-centric solutions that reduce duplicative, energy-inefficient systems (connected real-estate/cities, etc.).As we just celebrated Mother’s Day, I salute all mothers around the world, including Mother Earth. In closing, I cite the writing of Washington Irving, an American man of letters who began his career two centuries ago. A prolific essayist, he is best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He also has some wise words for why we must protect Mother Earth:

“œA mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

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