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Recently industry and policy leaders gathered in Cape Town, South Africa to address a major environmental challenge facing the continent of Africa: e-waste, the discarded leftovers of electronics. This is an important issue for Africa, as experts in the region have estimated that by 2017, West Africa will generate more e-waste than all of Europe.
The African E-Waste and Refurbishment Standards Conference was attended by e-waste recyclers and refurbishment companies from 10 African countries. The event, sponsored by Microsoft, was organized by TechSoup Global, TechSoup Africa, WorldLoop, and Mico E-Waste Solutions. Participants included international companies such as UNIDO, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo/IBM, the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) and many others. The day-long event brought together those committed to evolving the state of electronics recycling in Africa, with the goal of assessing issues and problems facing the region as a result of improper disposal, and discussing ways to address them.
As the planet’s population races toward 9 billion by 2050, the only way to meet growing energy needs will be to use energy more efficiently. The good news is that advances in IT are making the prospect of a less energy-intensive future a little brighter, whether it’s using IT solutions and a slick interface to help German consumers get the most from their home’s solar panels or continuing to modernize the electric grid. Read on to learn how a German startup and major U.S. states are relying on innovation—technological and political—to lead the way toward a more energy efficient tomorrow.
We live in an era when nearly everything is connected via the internet—even your air conditioner at home or weather predictions taken from space. In the era of the ‘Internet of Things,’ the prevalence of information is giving us new insights into opportunities to use energy more efficiently and ultimately have a lighter footprint on the planet. Read on to learn more about how satellites are predicting abnormal weather patterns and how a new company gaining Kickstarter funding is making managing your house’s energy only a smartphone app away.
Last week 87 student teams from 71 countries converged in St. Petersburg, Russia, to compete in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. An exciting and vibrant event, Imagine Cup challenges students to use technology to solve the toughest problems in the world. The year-long contest first has students compete in local events for a spot in the finals. Projects are entered into six competitions: Games, Innovation, World Citizenship, Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. Of the dozens of innovative projects, quite a few addressed issues in sustainability, from waste management to beekeeping.
Today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and it’s predicted that by 2050, 76 percent of the global population will live in urban areas. This ongoing population shift has created unprecedented challenges for our cities, and leaders must meet growing citizen demands for things like efficient transportation and reliable infrastructure with limited resources. But it is vital that our city leaders meet these demands, because it is in cities that opportunities for higher education are pursued, innovations in health care are advanced and business drives economic growth. It is also in cities that 75 percent of the world’s energy is consumed.
At Microsoft, we believe that economically and environmentally sustainable cities are critical to achieving sustainability in society as a whole. Cities that are designed and operated to be energy-efficient have the potential to be one of the most effective means to this end. Today, we are excited that Microsoft has announced the global initiative CityNext, which furthers our vision for energy-smart cities.