Historian Adam Rome calls Earth Day the "most famous unknown event in modern American history." Its grassroots nature, spurred by Senator Gaylord Nelson's '60's wish for Americans to observe it "in any way they want," has become an annual event and international in scale. Many corporations around the world use Earth Day as a centerpiece for employee and community focused environmental programs and Applied Materials is no exception.
Our goals are fourfold:
- Raise awareness among employees and partners of what Applied is doing in the environmental arena;
- Take advantage of the heightened level of activity around this event and forge new partnerships in the community or strengthen existing ones;
- Conduct environmentally-focused activities in as many worldwide locations as possible;
- Make a meaningful a contribution to environmental protection.
One distinguishing feature of Applied's programs is that we group them under the overall EarthWorks banner and we generally schedule them over a 4-6 week period. April 22 can get very crowded! The 'Every day is Earth Day' has opened up a whole new level of possibilities to engage employees.
Every year, a small team of individuals focus for a short time, outside their regular jobs, on how to make this 40 year tradition meaningful to their fellow busy employees around the world. This year we have more than 20 separate activities going on world wide.
In Austin and Santa Clara, partnering with 'Rays of Hope,' 'Habitat for Humanity' and 'GRID Alternatives,' teams will install solar power on several residences. Schools in low income districts will be refurbished and adorned with murals and community gardens will reap the benefit of employees working together on projects that cannot be accomplished by just a few.
Applied Materials Europe has an electric bicycle show in France and activities around alternative transportation scheduled, while Applied Materials Japan employees will once again visit Mt. Fuji to help clean up this iconic, national treasure. Whether it is tree planting (Applied India), creek clean up, recycling of electronics or simply participating in blood drives ('the ultimate form of recycling'), there is something for everyone in just about every Applied location.
And, this year's EarthWorks has an educational component as well, something we are calling "Green Quotient" or G.Q. for short. Employees access the Green intranet site (type 'green' into their browser) and take a short quiz on energy, water and resource conservation. Employees participation will help generate donations to three organizations, the Solar Electric Light Fund, Blue Planet Run, an organization devoted to bringing clean water to remote areas, and The Nature Conservancy, one of the world's leading organizations focused on preserving ecologically sensitive lands.
With equal measures of creativity, curiosity, spirit and a sprinkling of hard work, we are looking forward to a fun and rewarding EarthWorks 2010. Let us know what you think of our plans and share your own ideas with us.