This week marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which began as a way to not only honor the planet but to remind us to treat the Earth respectfully. Four decades later, thanks to the vision and dedication of those who established the very first Earth Day, it is now common to consider and question the impact we make on the Earth’s environment in our daily lives.
At Microsoft Research, we strive to honor the principles of Earth Day every day. We are guided by our mission to collaborate with the global research community through research, education and innovation with the ultimate goal of improving lives for all of us on Earth. As scientists, having a deep understanding of the planet and its intricacies is critical to our life’s work. But as citizens, pursuing innovative ways to harness the power of technology and science in support of a healthy, thriving environment is beyond critical: it is essential.
One way in which we appreciate the planet is to capture its essence in digital imagery for the purposes of both pleasure and research. Microsoft Research has enhanced the ability to easily display extremely large images using HD View. Developed by the Interactive Visual Media Group at Microsoft Research, HD View draws on technological advances to enable in-full, 360-degree fields of view. It also harnesses the power of current graphics hardware for smooth panning and zooming of images. Available as an Active X Web browser component, users of Microsoft Windows can use HD View to create content that can be easily shared and distributed via the Internet.
In that spirit, in addition to providing tools that enhance our appreciation for the environment, in honor of Earth Day Microsoft is introducing a new online destination where people can learn how each and every one of us can be more mindful of sustainability throughout each and every day.
To provide year-round inspiration and information on the collaborative discovery and scientific research underway, Microsoft Research invites you to visit two earth-friendly sites, Earth, Energy, and Environment and Microsoft Research and the Environment. Both sites offer easy and convenient access to news, feature stories and in-depth information about projects being undertaken throughout the global research community.
Also drawing on the power of the Internet to facilitate change, Microsoft’s environmental site helps make every day an earth day. In addition to a number of topical feature stories being published this week, the site also includes:
· A series of video vignettes featuring discussions with Microsoft executives about how their daily roles contribute to the company’s overall sustainability mission
· Videos on Green IT at Microsoft
· Daily tips on green topics
· Personalized recommendations via Microsoft Hohm, a free, Web-based beta application designed to help people identify ways they can save energy and money
· Other timely news and feature stories
Finally, today is a perfect day to celebrate the advances we’ve made in treating the environment respectfully. Today is also the perfect day to revisit and renew our vow to make meaningful contributions to a sustainable future. In honor of the time-tested wisdom that you get out of it only what you put into it, on behalf of all of us at Microsoft Research and members of the Earth, Energy, and Environment team, happy Earth Day 2010, and many, many more.
Dan Fay, director, Earth, Energy, and Environment, Microsoft Research