Aspens in A Changing Climate & IBM Environmental Leadership

Image Credit:  National Geographic Tree Patterns Wallpaper

Image Credit: National Geographic Tree Wallpaper

“Imagine a world of idyll, where a chorus of wavering lime-green leaves creates an ethereal backdrop to columns of bright white trunks.” – Tyler Williams, American Forests

The aspen is a striking tree with it’s silver white bark and golden fall hues.  It’s also a really interesting tree.  Did you know that one of the largest living organisms on earth is actually a 108-acre stand of aspens in Utah called ‘Pando‘?  Groves of aspen trees commonly develop from a single root system, which means that large groups of aspen trees can essentially be a single living organism growing together as a clone.  The aspen tree is often called the ‘quaking aspen’ because aspen leaves will flutter (or ‘quake’) in the slightest breeze, so they can be a loud tree as well.  Legend has it that the Native Americans knew they were approaching aspen trees long before they saw them because they could hear the rustling leaves.  It’s one of the most adaptable tree species, capable of replenishing itself in as little as 50 years, and is the most widely distributed tree in North America with cousins around the world, into the Far East and Africa.  It belongs to a select group of trees dubbed “circumglobal super species,” which means it is capable of spanning continents in strikingly similar forms.

But what’s in store for this beautiful tree as our climate changes?

Aspens have been in decline for the past half century, in large part due to global warming.  Scientists agree that global warming is caused in large part by greenhouse gases that come from fossil fuels in cars, factories, electricity production, landfills, agriculture, etc. – in other words, the growing effect of human urbanization on the planet.

us__none__sustainability__sustainability_icon_2__170x120Did you know that, for more than 40 years, IBM has been ahead of the curve on environmental issues, and is a recognized environmental leader?

“Protecting the environment is in our DNA,” says Wayne Balta, IBM vice president of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. “Even before the issuance of our corporate policy commitment to environmental responsibility in 1971, our commitment to being a good corporate citizen was part of the company’s Basic Beliefs and Principles in the mid-1960s.  As stated in those Principles: we understood well that “we serve our own interests best when we serve the public interest” and “we want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make our world a better place.”

Image credit:  World Environment Center

Image credit: World Environment Center

  • Newsweek Votes IBM Greenest Company in America (Newsweek, Oct 2012)
  • The European Union recognized 27 IBM data centers in the EU for their energy efficiency in January 2012 – the largest group of data centers from a single company to receive this award.
  • IBM is the only company to have twice received the Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development in the 28-year history of the World Environment Center’s annual award (in 1990 and 2012).

IBM’s approach to sustainability is twofold:  working to make existing products and processes more efficient, while also developing new innovations that can help the world lessen environmental impact.  As one example of a sustainability project that IBM worked on, check out this video on IBM’s partnership with the city of Dubuque, Iowa to create a replicable model of a sustainable city for communities of 200,000 or less.

Learn more:

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Related:

–By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Calling All Thinkers and Creators – Help Your City Get Smarter (#P4SC)

smartercities3

Are you a doer, thinker, problem solver, creator or dreamer? Help your city get smarter.

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Giant Fish Sculptures Made from Plastic Bottles in Czech Republic

IBM is helping cities around the world use the vast amount of data, analytics, and information already available to fuel more effective solution ideas from citizens.  In turn, they are helping their city leaders transform their communities.
IBM’s new global People for Smarter Cities site is a place where residents can conduct meaningful online conversations and contribute original ideas about how to make their cities work smarter.

One idea that’s been contributed from Paris, France is for interactive trash bins that encourage Metro passengers to recycle their subway tickets instead of throwing them on the floor.  A little imagination and fun is helping keep the station clean.

Ready to change cities for the better? Join P4SC and start making a difference!  Share YOUR ideas and join the conversation on the site or on Twitter at #P4SC.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Why the World Thirsts for Smarter Water Management

Whether too much or not enough, the world needs a smarter way to think about water

Around the world, one in eight people lack access to safe water supplies.

That’s 884 million people. The planet is thirsty. Not just for a drop to drink, but for information about how we can be smarter about water in the first place.

The world’s water system  is vulnerable. Essential for health, food, energy, manufacturing and transportation, the global water system is suffering from stress, deteriorating quality, aging and insufficient infrastructure. Managing this critical resource requires a smarter approach to deliver improved outcomes across the water management lifecycle. Using information and analytics, governments, cities, utilities and businesses must take immediate action to deploy a smarter approach to water management to solve the world’s water crisis.

infog water

With advances in technology — sophisticated sensor networks, smart meters, deep computing and analytics — we can be smarter about how we manage our planet’s water. We can monitor, measure and analyze entire water ecosystems, from rivers and reservoirs to the pumps and pipes in our homes. We can give all the people, organizations, businesses, communities and nations dependent on a continuing supply of freshwater—that is, all of us—a single, reliable, up-to-the-minute and actionable view of water use.

But that’s just the first drop. Learn what IBM is doing to address this global issue.

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Related:

Visit the interactive Smarter Water experience

The Sights and Sounds of Smarter Water: check out the video playlist

Get  the report: Fixing the Future – Why we need smarter water management for the world’s most essential resource

Solutions

The CreekWatch App: Snap a photo, save a stream

IBM Connects Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Europe

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IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced a project that will simplify electric vehicle (EV) charging and payment for consumers, regardless of their location. The operational demonstration, called the B2B Marketplace will allow energy providers, car manufacturers, and charging point owners to share and integrate services on one common IT platform. This will create a network of EV charging services that are compatible regionally in Europe with the aim of increasing electric vehicle adoption.

IBM is one of 43 partners in Europe involved in the Green eMotion project, including energy providers, electric car manufacturers, as well as cities and research institutions, working to enable electromobility across Europe. Similar to the recently announced project with ESB Networks IBM is helping to improve power grid reliability, encourage EV adoption amongst consumers, and address the challenges of financial and billing settlement – by combining cloud and analytic capabilities.

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For More Information:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Centennial Grant supports movement for green schools in Singapore with SMART meters

singapore greenToday on Citizen IBM, Corporate Citizenship Manager and Singapore Green Building Council member Kok Chin (KC) Tay details how an IBM Centennial Grant is helping to support Singapore’s national movement for green schools. Specifically, a public-private partnership between IBM and Singapore’s Ministry of Education established Project Green Insights to help secondary and post-secondary students understand issues related to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability through education and hands-on projects.  Supported by an IBM Centennial Grant throughout 2012, this pilot program has developed strategies and activities to raise awareness around energy efficiency in 20 academic institutions in Singapore. Participating schools (19 secondary schools and one technical institute, the Institute of Technical Education College East) installed SMART meters to monitor live energy usage, and either created or strengthened their green clubs and developed “green ambassadors” among their student population to develop insights and actions based on the data from the meters projects.

Read more about it here:  http://ibm.co/SXhI4t

singapore green2

Institute of Technical Education College East, Singapore

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IBM Centennial Grants have helped enable programs to improve access to public information in Latin America, connect India’s rural entrepreneurs to outside markets, provide computer training for Ireland’s older citizens, create better lives for Turkish children with disabilities, and help Vermont (US) residents manage energy better through a program similar to Singapore’s Project Green Insights.

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Newsweek Votes IBM Greenest Company in the US

Technology giant IBM has been recognized for the second year in a row as the greenest company in the US in the Newsweek 2012 Green Rankings survey.

Big Blue is the greenest.

A panel of independent judges ranked major companies based on several criteria, including their environmental impact, environmental management and sustainability disclosure.

IBM’s Smarter Planet products help clients measure and reduce their resource consumption – and save money. At its Zurich lab, water that cools a supercomputer is used to warm nearby buildings,” the survey said.

Wayne Balta, IBM’s vice-president of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, said environmental sustainability benefits IBM’s clients, the company itself and the planet, and IBM is constantly striving for continual improvement.

“We are grateful for this recognition as it reflects the long-term commitment of IBM and its people to environmental leadership throughout the company’s global business operations,” said Balta.

After IBM, the greenest companies in the US are mostly technology companies, according to the survey. In order, the companies are: Hewlett-Packard, Sprint Nextel, Dell, CA Technologies, NVIDIA, Intel, Accenture, Office Depot, Staples, EMC, Microsoft, Cognizant, Hartford Financial Services Group, and McGraw-Hill.

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Congratulations to IBM on this 2nd consecutive honor. Leave your comments below!