We’re Honoring Earth Day Virtually!

We’re Honoring Earth Day Virtually!

During these challenging times, we’re working alongside our colleagues and community partners to care for the environment and help build a sustainable future. These efforts are not limited to Earth Day; environmental preservation is one of our corporate philanthropic pillars that we address all year long, along with STEM education and hunger relief. In this blog post, I’ll highlight our virtual volunteering efforts, as well as a couple of our non-profit partners that are honoring Earth Day.

Changing the World from the Comfort of Home

Usually, as the calendar turns to April, our teams around the world would be gathering to participate in a variety of environmental volunteer opportunities. This year looks completely different, as we know, but we’re still engaging our colleagues to celebrate the planet through virtual volunteering. We’ve encouraged our coworkers and their families to join the Earth Day Ecochallenge – a month-long program where participants learn and practice environmentally sustainable habits in areas such as fresh water, wildlife, food, climate, and more. I’m excited to see the collective impact our joint efforts will produce!

In 2019, we had 40 environmental volunteer activities involving 1,896 dedicated volunteers. They got some dirt under their nails while planting 682 trees and picking up 3,717 pounds of debris so that our planet could breathe a little easier!  

We also created a virtual contest for families sheltered in place, called the DIY Sustainable Family Project. Our colleagues are participating by creating “eco art” projects using materials intended for landfill or recycling, or by creating an item meant to promote environmental awareness. In the spirit of “friendly competition”, the contest winners – chosen by their global colleagues – will be awarded funds to donate their favorite charitable cause. Here’s a quick look at some of the clever projects submitted so far.

Three eco-friendly art projects inspired by Earth Day and created through virtual volunteers are displayed.

Named Philanthropist of the Year by PMMC

Last fall, we were excited and honored to be recognized as the Philanthropist of the Year by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC). Our award celebrated a partnership that began with PMMC in 2017. Since then, more than 400 of our employees have volunteered with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to remove debris from local beaches. Data helps make these hands-on volunteering efforts even more valuable. PMMC leverages the data obtained from beach clean-ups to better understand how plastic and other potentially harmful debris are affecting local ecosystems and wildlife.

Community Grants Support Nonprofits

Our Community Grants program supports nonprofits doing outstanding environmental work across the U.S. Some examples of the programs we’ve funded include:

  • Studies on key wildlife crossings and the needs of wildlife around the Lexington Reservoir conducted by the Peninsula Open Space Trust
  • The Outdoor Education Program at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, which allows students to experience nature as their classroom and embeds cross-curricular activities designed to build an understanding of the environmental challenges we face now, and those we may face in the decades to come
Screenshot from an endearing wildlife video with millions of views (courtesy of the Peninsula Open Space Trust)

In India, we’ve supported the bE-Responsible program through a partnership with the NGO Saahas. This program educates, encourages, and facilitates the responsible disposal of e-waste by Bengaluru’s residents. Through the partnership, Saahas has placed over 40 public e-waste drop boxes in convenient locations around Bengaluru, making proper disposal easy and resulting in the collection of 65 tons of e-waste!

Staying Involved on Earth Day and Beyond

We are proud that global giving and doing have been embraced as a part of our culture. Whether it’s supporting organizations that care for our environment, engaging in hands-on volunteering or partnering long-term to build a sustainable future, we are here to help preserve the planet on Earth Day and every day in between.

See How Else We’re Working on Sustainability

Author

Milissa Bedell: Milissa leads the Global Giving & Doing programs for Western Digital including We.care, Scholarships and Grants, and Disaster Relief.

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