Today is Earth Day! While combatting climate change is something we should think about daily, today serves as an international reminder of our duty to protect our planet and all of those who inhabit it. As we simultaneously battle a global pandemic, our sustainability efforts are going to look a bit different - this year, Earth Day is going digital. Thankfully, there is still plenty we can do from the comfort of our homes to help solve the climate crisis.
We owe it to our planet to change our wasteful behaviors – small lifestyle adjustments are a cheap price to pay for the health of our environment. Here are a few ways to improve upon your own sustainability efforts:
- Educate yourself: We all know climate change is a global emergency, but many people have underestimated its severity. We’re at a tipping point – last year, the United Nations warned that we only have 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. Check out this list of 7 of the newest climate change documentaries, or the latest data from NASA to understand the consequences we’re already experiencing today.
- Cut out the excess: Think harder about the amount of waste you produce daily. This comes in many forms – from uneaten food, plastic bottles, to the packaging on items we buy. Here’s a list of 5 creative ways to cut down on waste from someone who lives a zero-waste lifestyle.
- Eat cleaner: It takes a massive amount of water to produce animal products like meat and dairy (calculate your own water footprint here). In addition to the water wasted, livestock is also a major contributor to methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Buy organic and local when you can, or even try growing your own food.
- Donate: Show your appreciation for the folks dedicating their lives to environmental conservation. On the forefront of battling climate change includes organizations like The Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, and The NRDC.
- Vote: Individual efforts alone aren’t going to halt climate change – systemic change is required to enact solutions at scale. Vote for leaders at all levels of government who have not only committed to setting science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions, but also have detailed plans to meet these targets.
- Support environmentally-responsible companies: Do your due diligence before you make a purchase, or decide to partner with a company. Organizations like Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia are setting the bar for how businesses should think about corporate social responsibility.
We must be thoughtful about where we choose to shop, who we partner with, and where we work. People want to engage with companies and colleagues that are mission-driven and enacting positive change on the planet. A recent IDC survey found that half of organizations plan to only do business with partners with shared environmental goals. I’m proud to work at Turbonomic, a company whose impact on the environment is tangible – ultimately, Turbonomic is helping customers do more with less, without sacrificing performance.
Looking at the issue of climate change through the lens of a technology company, we know that data centers are one of the nation’s fastest-growing consumers of electricity. In an IDC Whitepaper sponsored by Seagate, they estimated that by 2025, every connected person in the world on average will have a digital data engagement over 4,900 times per day – that's about 1 digital interaction every 18 seconds. With the increase in applications, big data, e-commerce, and Internet traffic, the amount of electricity that data centers consume isn’t slowing down.
On top of the massive amount of data being processed, consider the fact that almost every data center in the world is dramatically overprovisioned – the average rate of server utilization is only 12-18% of capacity. And, much of the energy consumed by U.S. data centers is used to power over 12 million servers that are running idle most of the time. Unsurprisingly, the National Resource Defense Council suggests that increasing server utilization is one of the industry’s biggest energy-saving opportunities.
This predicament has led CIOs and other progressive business leaders to ask: how can my organization safely increase infrastructure utilization without risking the performance of applications that are critical to running my business? This is a problem that Turbonomic helps solve. By understanding the real-time demand of applications, Turbonomic provides full-stack, automatable resourcing decisions that keep your environment performant while increasing efficiency. In fact, 77% of IT organizations have dramatically improved their infrastructure utilization by using Turbonomic – you can learn more about reducing energy consumption in data centers here.
With corporations contributing to climate change at exponentially higher rates than individuals, it’s critical that we are mindful of who we work with and for. A recent study found that just 100 companies are the source of 71% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. If consumers choose to invest their dollars in environmentally conscious companies over those who are apathetic, it will signal to corporations and political leaders just how much social responsibility matters.
As we celebrate Earth Day today, consider how you, and perhaps the company you work for, can help fulfill the duty we have to our environment.