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Happy Earth Week!

This Thursday will mark the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and Earth Day celebrations around the world are showing the expected pomp, ceremony and celebration one might expect. For an increasing portion of the population, people are finding ways to adjust their own habits, work and lives to have a lower overall impact on the environment. In those 40 years, we have come around and around again to the same cycle of issues: air, waste, water. This decade’s concerns focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and how to reduce them to minimize climate change. We’re finding out where waste goes, from landfill size and impact to the so-called plastic islands in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. We’re extremely concerned about the supply and cleanliness of our water supply and how we can ensure that it will be available and clean for future generations – of fish as well as humans. And yet, as we revisit these issues, we’ve come to the realization that the issues we face are increasingly severe, and that they cannot be solved without the participation and active involvement of individuals, corporations, not-for-profits, and government.

For those of you who have read my posts here in the past,  you know I am an advocate of simple steps. I have seen the power of a simple step multiplied over and over to make significant changes – I am pretty sure you have, too, if you think about it. Last year, I made a commitment (part of Cisco’s award-winning program for our employees called “Think green, Act green”) to spend less time in my car, commuting. I’ve succeeded. Through a combination of creating an ability to work at home and finding available desk space in an office walking distance from my home, I’ve drastically reduced the amount of time I spend in my car, and as a result my personal GHG emissions.

The best part was that at least some of my colleagues saw what I did and (maybe out of jealousy?) tried it themselves. Not everyone went as far as I did, and I can’t take credit for all or even most of the telecommuting that happens from my office, but it is one simple step, multiplied over and over, that is having an effect on not just how a few of us work, but on how the office works  – and creating an increase in efficiency or flexibility (or sometimes both) that has helped me, and I think others, get more done.

I’m proud to say that Cisco this year is taking another simple step – this one bigger than in past years – and making our Earth Day just a bit greener.

For the third straight year, Cisco is holding a Virtual Earth Day celebration! This year we are welcoming our customers, partners, and everyone else who is interested to join us.

Replacing the employee fair in the parking lot, the Virtual Earth Day event will span four days (in fact, it’s underway as I write this), culminating on Thursday, April 22 – Earth Day. We’re focusing our event on:

–          Helping our people be greener at home and at work (sorry, this track is for Cisco people only)

–          Policy and regulatory issues in sustainability

–          How Cisco is becoming a greener company

–          How Cisco is developing solutions that help our customers be more sustainable and enable a more sustainable world

–          Stories from our customers, partners, and institutes that have spun out of our work on how they are becoming more sustainable and creating a Smart+Connected world

Please join us! Take a look at the schedule for your time zone, and register for the sessions you find interesting.

I’d start Monday at 5PM US-Pacific time, which is Tuesday 10AM Syndey, Australia time with the GM and SVP of Cisco’s Collaboration Software Group, Debra Chrapaty, discussing how collaboration is one of the simplest and most sustainable technology choices and opportunities for many organizations. Then Tuesday at 1PM US-Pacific time, Will Sarni, CEO of Domani Sustainability Consulting, will discuss how sustainability drives innovation.

So take one small step for this 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Stay home (or in your office) don’t get in your car, and join us.

Happy Earth Week!

by Jeff Weinberger, chair, Cisco WebEx Green Initiative



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