A Common Thread

As a conservationist, I have no idea how to express “green” in zeroes and ones. But the writing here is on the wall. Literally.

The glass and aluminum listening wall at Dell’s Eco-Innovation booth is an open invitation for visitors to take a stab at answering a simple question, “What does green mean to you?” It’s a listening wall – with posts going from the glass, Direct2Dell in a matter of hours.

The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of comments penned on the glass wishes for cleaner energy, clean air, more grass and less plastic. If there is a common thread across the panels, it is the statement that green means a healthier planet for our kids and our grandchildren.

Earlier this year, Michael Dell announced that Dell would work to become the greenest technology company in the world. No small claim – and no small challenge.

Dell is well on its way – offering to recycle every computer it sells for free, designing the most energy efficient technology in the industry, and providing opportunities to protect the earth’s climate.

For its part, The Conservation Fund is working with Dell on two of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges: climate change and habitat loss. Through the “Plant a Tree for Me” and “Plant a Forest for Me” programs, the Conservation Fund and Carbonfund.org are working with Dell to measure and offset the carbon dioxide emissions that result from electricity use of Dell’s products.

We’re using those donations to offset the emissions by planting trees in protected areas across the globe. As they grow, these new forests will do more than clean the air we breathe. They are hard at work filtering water, restoring critical habitat for wildlife, and creating new recreation areas for all.

Since 2000, The Conservation Fund has pioneered a market-based approach to conservation by restoring nearly 20,000 acres and planting more than

8 million trees through its carbon sequestration program. Over the next 100 years, these new forests will capture an estimated 9.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere. Our one percent fundraising cost is the lowest in the environmental field, and 97 cents of every dollar donated to our programs go directly to support land conservation, sustainable programs, community initiatives and leadership training.

Given the scale of the effort required to the world’s environmental challenges, we need to pursue new technologies that help us reduce our environmental footprint and at the same time, recognize and use the tools we have at our fingertips.

This means we must continue to listen. We must find innovative ways to engage new audiences in the conversation about business, environment and sustainability. And we must lead by example – serving as models for the industry, customers and partners.

Dell has taken the first step. Now it’s up to all of us to take the next one – pioneering new ways to ensure that the common thread posted this week – “clean air for my grandchildren’s children” is a promise on which we can deliver.

About the Author: Jena Thompson