Conservation | Red Robot

Category: ‘Conservation’

Microsoft Announces Plan To Go Carbon Negative By Year 2030

On January 16, 2020, Microsoft announced its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 and that it will remove all the carbon it has emitted either directly or via electricity consumption since it was founded in 1975 by 2050. Additionally, it will create a $1 billion climate innovation fund to accelerate the development of carbon reduction and removal technologies. As a part of this goal, Microsoft will reduce its emissions by more than half by 2030 , extending across its entire business and supply chain

Microsoft also announced that it will:

– Work with customers and partners to help them track and reduce their own carbon footprints

– Use its voice to advocate for public policies that support a gloabal, low-carbon economy.

Microsoft’s AI for Earth Initiative

This announcemnet represents Microsoft’s expanded emphasis on and commitment to environmental sustainability.

It’s existing AI for Earth represents one piece of Microsoft’s overall sustainability efforts. The initiative encompasses a five-year, $50-million program that brings the full advantage of Microsoft technology to those working to solve global environmental challenges in the key focus areas of climate, agriculture, water and biodiversity conservation.

Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

Microsoft is empowering its customers and partners with new product features to track and reduce carbon. One of these new product features is the now-available Microsoft Sustainability Calculator. This tool is a new Power BI dashboard that shows emissions performance from cloud and Azure services. This enables customers to understand the carbon impacts of their cloud workloads, discover the potential benefits from fully migrating to Azure, and assists them in reporting their carbon footprint for IT services in the often hard-to-track Scope 3 category of emissions.

In this video you will see a demonstration of how the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator works to track carbon emissions for Microsoft customers. 

Microsoft Datacenters

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon in its business operations, the company is shifting to 100 percent renewable energy in its datacenters by 2025. 

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World’s Busiest Airport Goes Plastic Free In 2020

Dubai Airport Partners With Costa, Pret And Giraffe To Herald New Era Of Plastic-Free Air Travel 

– Phasing out of single-use plastics at world’s busiest international airport due to begin on January 1, 2020

– Coffee giant Costa backs initiative by launching new fully-sustainable coffee cup

– McDonald’s is replacing a total of 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials at Dubai’s two airports DXB and DWC

– Other major food outlets, such as Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe join pledge to ban single-use plastics in their concessions at DXB and DWC

Change is coming to the world of air travel.

In just over three weeks’ time, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags will start to disappear from cafés, restaurants and shops at the world’s busiest international airport.

The reason for this is Dubai Airports’ pledge in June 2019 to ban all single-use plastic from January 1, 2020.

With 90 million passengers passing through Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – every year, consuming tens of thousands of plastic items from straws to water bottles to coffee lids on a daily basis –  the plastic-free initiative presents a huge logistical challenge to the management team and to every business in their supply chain.

But with the UAE alone producing around 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste every year1 – it’s a challenge they fully intend to meet, rolling out the ban with a phased approach with the aim for completion scheduled by the end of the 2020.

Pressure is growing for corporations and individuals to act more responsibly and adopt more sustainable practices to fight against plastic pollution and preserve marine life. The changes happening on such a huge scale as a result of Dubai Airports’ ban could soon become a template for other major transportation hubs and organisations around the world to follow.

Already 95% of Dubai Airports’ commercial partners have signed the pledge to stop using disposable plastic in their outlets.

Notable amongst them is Costa Coffee which has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based “smart” cup. The coffee giant sells over 2.6 million cups of coffee in Dubai’s airports a year – that alone has a great impact on change. This will be followed later next year by the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper fibre instead of single-use plastic.

Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe are also on board, alongside around 290 other retail and F&B outlets, and have started the process of eliminating consumer-facing plastic items from their concessions and replacing them with more sustainable alternatives in just 6 months.

New research commissioned by Dubai Airports highlights widespread public support for recycling initiatives.

In Britain, almost half (49%) of air travellers say they carry a reusable water bottle, almost a third (31%) say they will choose to eat in a restaurant to avoid plastic packaging and 1 in 5 (20%) say they don’t buy items at the airport containing  non-recyclable materials.

But it is clear that passengers feel airports could be doing more on the issue with 86% saying that they need to be more vocal about what they are doing to recycle waste.

 

Facts:

– 5,500 tonnes of single use plastic is estimated to be generated at Dubai Airports each year

– Already changes are being made at Dubai Airports, with 29 metric tons of plastic bottles being recycled from the security check points so far this year (an average of 11,000 bottles per day)

– So far, in total around 280 tonnes of single use plastic have been recycled in 2019

– Starting March 2020, Dubai Airports will recycle a minimum of 2,000 tonnes of single use plastic per year – over 40% of the current volume being generated, and equivalent to 3.5 Airbus A380s

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World’s Leading Nature Photographers Speak Out For Climate Action

World’s leading nature photographers speak out for climate action at the International Photography Festival in Sharjah

Sharjah, UAE – XPOSURE’s International Photography Festival has opened its biggest ever edition with 357 world’s top and emerging photographers in Sharjah, UAE.

With events such as workshops taking photographers for a shoot in the desert scenery, a packed programme of talks, workshops and award-wining photography on display, the planet’s future is the big theme.

As the world leaders gather for what is seen as possibly the most consequential week for climate change action in New York next week, some of the world’s most renowned names in photography are lending their imagery and voices to the conversation.

Documenting melting glaciers, disappearing species and habitats, human-animal conflict and human displacement, they hope their work will make the public feel the pull to protect them.

Florian Ledoux is a wildlife photographer who has sailed over 6000 miles from the coast of Greenland to document the Arctic wildlife.

His aerial images document the rapid decline in ice, revealing polar animals and their habitats in ways not seen before.

What drives him is his desire to reconnect people to nature, he senses that this has been lost for many and he believes that connection is one that is critical for real action on climate.

“If we are not connected to nature we won’t change the way we are living”, Ledoux said. “If you are part of something you don’t want to destroy it.”

One of his most iconic images shows a polar bear crossing two chunks of ice.

The beautiful patches of turquoise surrounding it are sections of melting ice and offer a painful evidence of fragility of Arctic glaciers.

“Ice in the Arctic are already fragile in a way that it can be gone in just just one moment like that. It’s melting so quickly. This is the fragility of our world because when we lose this, we will change so many things in the climate.”

In a heatwave reaching Greenland this summer, nearly 60% of the ice sheet had at least 1mm melted on the surface in just one day on the 31st of July, according to National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado and the Polar Portal.

The amount of ice lost on two record consecutive days during the heatwave would be sufficient to cover Florida with almost five inches of water or Denmark with half a meter, according to climate scientist Martin Stendel.

“We need change right now. There is no time to wait or to say that we have time or we can do it later, it has to be now”, said Ledoux.

Frans Lanting, hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time and a environmental economist by background, has documented ecological hot spots from India to New Zealand in breath-taking imagery for over 40 years.

Taking us visually to the Antarctic, he speaks of connections between melting ice and wildlife. “Emperor penguins are totally dependent on sea ice. That’s what they gather to reproduce themselves. They never touch solid ground and as the ice disappears so will emperor penguins.”

But the biggest message is that all habitats are interconnected. “Ultimately climate change is not just about the lives of emperor penguins and polar bears. It is about us. It’s going to affect everyone on the planet no matter where you live”, Lanting said.

In his signature series “Day to Night”, one of America’s most iconic photographers Stephen Wilkes, digitally blends thousands of images shot over a 36-hour period into one photograph, capturing the life in that habitat.

“It is about creating a visceral experience for you, the viewer. I want you to feel like you are standing there with me.”

His images take months of scouting, preparation and construction to be shot.

They also bring Wilkes into unexpected close encounters, like that with a curious grizzly bear on a shoot in Bella Coola in British Columbia.

“It was terrifying at one moment and then incredibly exciting because I felt this incredible gift,” Wilkes said. “It’s not just about the photograph of a bear. It is a photograph about the way bears lived one this particular day.”

“People think of grizzly bears as not being endangered. But the truth is their habitats are endangered”, Wilkes said.

With over 1 million plant and animal species threatened with extinction, the action from governments is slow. 

Underscoring the complexity of the challenge, some conservationists say there is danger that climate action might produce solutions that are not friendly to protecting biodiversity.

For Wilkes, the ultimate aim is to inspire change.

“We’re reaching a critical path in our history as humanity goes. And so my work now is dedicated to showing people what’s really happening through beauty. I want to inspire change”.

The Festival sponsors a Timothy Allen Photography Scholarship Award (TAPSA), a worldwide search for emerging photographers.

One of the five winners, Greek photographer Anna Pantelia, has turned her attention to the thorny subject of energy transition in her home country.

Despite coal being the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change, Greece has recently made an investment into construction of two new plants.

Pantelia documents both the human cost of coal’s pollution and her region’s dependency on coal for jobs and livelihoods.

“I want to speak with people that have been falling sick out of the coal mining and people that they have lost family members. I want people to get disturbed and I want the decision-makers to be disturbed and think of how we should move forward with the coal mining.”

Kathy Moran, the Deputy Director of Photography at National Geographic, says the role of photography is to provide visual evidence of what is happening to the world.

“I think people need to see what’s happening. Here at Xposure, on the pages of National Geographic, the photography is the proof that the world is changing rapidly.”

Moran, as with many photographers at Xposure, feel excited by the momentum generated by the youth protest movement sweeping the globe.

“There’s a very special moment right now around the Global Climate Strike and these young voices coming up and needing to be heard. I’m hoping that that is what’s going to grab people’s attention and make them start paying attention again to what is happening.” 

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“Visa For Venice” – New Campaign To Preserve City For The Future

Venice, Italy – Venice’s idyllic canals and quaint alleys make it a dream destination for many travelers but with over 20 million visitors each year, the unique charm of the city is under threat.

On June 13, Visa and the City of Venice hosted a ceremony at Venice City Hall to announce the launch of “Visa for Venice”, a three year programme that will help Italian merchants showcase their businesses to international visitors, while helping protect their city’s most treasured sites.

The new programme encourages locals and visitors alike to pay with Visa at businesses throughout Venice. The incremental revenue generated from this campaign will be contributed to a newly established fund that will be used to safeguard the city for the future.

Donation kiosks are now set up around the city where both locals and tourists can choose to make a contribution directly to the fund.

For those outside the city who would like to make a difference, donations will soon also be accepted through a web-based donation page.

New Survey Results

In a recent survey of international travelers, Visa found 68% think about their impact on the local community when planning a trip outside the U.S. and 77% agree that travelers have more of an impact today than five years ago.

Not only is there a strong awareness, an astounding percentage of international travelers surveyed want to make difference and are willing to use their spending power to lessen their impact and support the local community. This willingness includes:

– Purchasing items from local artists and eating local food (92%)

– Spending money at businesses that support sustainability locally (90%)

– Making a donation to ensure historic monuments are preserved (84%)

– Forgo a specific activity that has a negative impact on the environment or community (83%)

– Spending a little more on something if it means having less of an impact on the local community (83%)

– Spending more time in less touristy attractions to lessen impact (78%)

– Forgoing ground transportation in favor of biking or using mass transit systems (73%)

– Volunteering while in the local area (66%)

International travelers showed a very strong desire to support local businesses and indicated they are most likely to choose local, independent businesses for dining and shopping if the:

– Location was easy to find (50%)

– Business had great online reviews (44%)

– Business accepted credit or debit cards (44%)

Methodology: Visa commissioned a survey of 500 adults 18-65 years old in the U.S. who had traveled outside the U.S. in the past two years. The survey was conducted by Logica Research on behalf of Visa in May 2019.

Additional Messaging

The global appetite for international travel has never been stronger. In fact, according to the WTTC, international arrivals reached 1.3 billion last year, on pace to grow to 1.8 billion border crossings by 2030.

Visa is the most widely accepted payment network – enabling safe, secure, seamless cross-border transactions, all over the world. It starts when consumers plan and book their journey, and more importantly, continues through all phases of travels.

Travelers deserve the same payment benefits and conveniences they enjoy in their home country when traveling abroad and Visa is making that a reality.

By removing the barriers to how, where, and when you can pay abroad, travelers have peace-of-mind knowing they can use Visa virtually anywhere in the world, securely and at any time, while focusing on enjoying the experiences in front of them.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

Photo Image: Candre Mandawe

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Queensland And Uber Launch scUber – “The World’s First Rideshare Submarine On The Great Barrier Reef”

Heron Island, Queensland, Australia – Queensland, Australia in partnership with Uber, today launched the world’s first rideshare submarine experience on the Great Barrier Reef.

Announcing  scUber, Tourism Industry Development Minister for Queensland, Kate Jones, said this new form of travel gives riders an unfiltered lens to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a playground rich in marine life offering remarkable underwater experiences.

“How excited are we today to have a world first on the world’s largest and most beautiful reef,” said Kate Jones.

“We all know that you can see the Great Barrier Reef from space. But from today, you’ll be able to see the Great Barrier Reef from the world’s very first rideshare submarine.”

But it was Dr David Wachenfeld, Chief Scientist for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the first person to experience scUber, who captured the heart of curious bystanders when he described scUber as a cross between two Hollywood icons.

“We were hovering over the bottom looking down and … you get to see the big stuff and you get to see the little stuff. And, it really is bizarre … like a cross between Nemo and a Bond movie,” Chief Scientist, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,  Dr David Wachenfield said.

Queensland and Uber have teamed up to deliver this exclusive experience, in a landmark partnership to showcase the reef.

Passengers will get 180-degree views of the underwater icon and taken to depths of up to 30 metres, without even needing a scuba mask.

The rideshare experience will be available at the touch of a button, costing AUD$3000 for two passengers.

“Having this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to access a submarine typically only available to the ultra-rich is a world changing experience,” said Uber Australia and NZ General Manager, Susan Anderson.

Riders can book the underwater adventure through the Uber app, which kicks off on Heron Island off the coast of Gladstone in Queensland on Monday, 27th May, 2019.

To celebrate the launch of scUber, Queensland and Uber are offering this exceptional bucket-list experience to one lucky winner and a friend from each of the following countries: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Australia.

Uber will further be donating $100,000 to Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to help support conservation initiatives on the Great Barrier Reef, and will match the equivalent value generated from every scUber ride taken.

The unique rideshare service starts on 27th May, and will move to Agincourt Reef, off the coast of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland until 18th June.

Heron Island is a small coral cay, based at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef,  that has captured the hearts of David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau.

Greater than 69 million football fields in size, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef with an extraordinary range of habitats and species.  It has more than 600 different types of coral, 1625 species of fish and more than 1000
Islands, making it one of the most complex natural systems on earth.

 

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

Location: Heron Island, Queensland, Australia

Industrial-Scale Illegal Poaching Threatens Tourism & Produces Global Response To Save Animals & Communities

Report from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“There are massive threats to wildlife – perhaps the most immediate threat is coming from the illegal wildlife trade. It’s because it is involved, involving trans-national organised criminal groups, rebel militia – they go in and they poach and smuggle at an industrial scale.” – John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, defines the problem

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – The issue of illegal poaching and smuggling is set not only to threaten the lives of endangered animals but also kill-off the livelihoods of the communities that rely on wildlife to provider: doctors, schools and jobs.

Travel & tourism has been targeted by lifelong wildlife campaigner, John Scanlon and his words along with a real understanding from ground level operations sparked an industry-wide rally cry to tackle the issue of poaching. With 40 companies & organizations already signed up to a detailed declaration, the travel and tourism sector finds itself on the front line because of the numbers of people it employs on the ground, in the affected remote destinations. Utilizing this intrinsic link to vulnerable communities through education, as well as liaising with government law enforcement, means big business is set to make a major impact in the fight against poachers.

There was a real sense of urgency at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, which opened April 18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Industry leaders including John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group and Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, Geoffrey Kent all appreciated that time was indeed running out for a meaningful response.

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, defines the problem:

“There are massive threats to wildlife – perhaps the most immediate threat is coming from the illegal wildlife trade. It’s because it is involved, involving trans-national organised criminal groups, rebel militia – they go in and they poach and smuggle at an industrial scale.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, describes how wildlife sits at the heart of travel and tourism:

“I think because travel and tourism, if you look at it – the very heartbeat of travel and tourism is about the environment, it’s about wildlife. These are the attractions that drive a lot of travel and tourism.” 

Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group, explains how the travel & tourism industry has specifically picked poaching as the issue to focus on:

“Wildlife Tourism is an important part of tourism and so there’s a direct link between our interests, as an industry, and the issue of wildlife preservation. And I think certain players in the industry have looked specifically at the issue of poaching and are saying, ‘you know what – we can do something about this.” 

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, warns of the direct danger to the travel and tourism sector:

“You’re going to lose the fundamental resource that underpins wildlife-based tourism if we don’t get on and do something about it and you have a fundamental role.”

And describes the draft declaration action which sets out what the sector must do:

“Now what’s so exciting here is the travel and tourism sector did not hesitate. It drafted a declaration, setting out in clear detail what the sector would do. There’s already 40 members that have signed up.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, outlines travel and tourism’s commitment to the declaration:

“And it’s really saying, we as the tourist industry have a responsibility here and we can have a positive impact.” 

Geoffrey Kent, Chairman and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent captured the determined mind-set at the Global Summit when he commented:

“You’ve got to be very active and proactive and do real things. People have got to be arrested, people have got to go to jail. We’ve got to stop it because only elephants should wear ivory.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, identifies the need for the local community to benefit from action the sector takes:

“That’s where you’ve got to get into this and that’s how you’ve got to be clear to be about setting these things up so that the local communities benefit from what we’re doing.” 

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, looks to underline the raft of important services that local communities rely on endangered wildlife to support:

“Giving them access to healthcare, access to education, access to employment, then they become the best protectors of wildlife. They see their development path through wildlife.” 

And his sobering appraise of the situation, comes from a lifetime of gleaning genuine insight into the issue:

“If we don’t stop it now, these animals and plants, they will be lost and they will be lost on our watch – so we have to move now.”

Shows:

00:00 Title Plate

00:07 B-Roll: Poachers Stock Footage

01:09 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks

01:27 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

01:43 Soundbite: Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group

02:06 3 x Soundbites: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks

02:27 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

02:38 Soundbite: Geoffrey Kent, Chairman and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent

02:51 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

03:03 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Park

03:16 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Park

03:26 B-Roll: H.E. Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina

03:56 GVs WTTC Global Summit Buenos Aires 2018

05:09 B-Roll Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council

05:21 GVs Argentina / Buenos Aires

Other:

Overview of WTTC: 

World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit, where the world leaders in Travel & Tourism come together annually to discuss, debate and align the industry in matters of travel facilitation, policies for growth & importantly look celebrate best practices in environmental sustainability.

The great and the good of Travel & Tourism attending the Council’s Global Summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina include His Excellency Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina, HRH Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, film director Francis Ford Coppola, and the presidents and CEOs of major travel companies, airlines, hotels, airports and others from every part of the world.

For more information www.wttc.org

Ends 

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