There are two Microsoft-relevant highlights on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, 2010, that I’d like to share – one art-related, and one science-related.

Art: BING Student Photo Contest

For the last several weeks Microsoft has encouraged amateur student photographers of all ages to submit their best snapshots to win a chance at some great prize packages and, more importantly, to get the opportunity to provide the photographic backdrop on the BING homepage.  After close to 17,000 submissions voted on by over 200,000 voters, the finalists were announced earlier this week and the winner featured today.  Along the way 8,240 classrooms around the world incorporated the contest into a class project, generating almost 1 million page views and $62,000 was raised as a result of the charitable donation process associated with voting.

If you get a chance, check out the media and buzz created by this contest that paid ultimate tribute to the natural beauty of our planet.

Science: Electronic Software Distribution (ESD)

On March 1st, Microsoft starting offering software electronically for students and teachers who have access to our Student Option, Student Select and Work at Home rights programs.  ESD helps our distributors and customers get prompt and efficient access to the software and updates that used to be processed in the traditional “package and ship” method.  Not only can we claim faster access to bits, but we are proud to say that we’re also doing our part to help the environment.  Consider the following statistics about CD and DVD media consumption:

  • Every month, some 100,000 pounds of CDs become outdated, useless, or unwanted in the United States
  • Every year, more than 5.5 million software packages go to landfills and incinerators
  • CDs and DVDs aren’t just plastic, they are made up of petroleum-based lacquer and paints, aluminum, and other metals
  • Studies estimate that the creation, packaging, and delivery of a single CD contributes 1kg of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

(Source: http://earth2tech.com/2007/08/16/how-the-physical-distribution-of-digital-goods-impacts-the-environment/)

To show we mean business, Microsoft is partnering with Asus to mark the occasion of Earth Day by giving away five Asus Netbooks loaded with Office 2007 Ultimate and Windows 7 Professional.

Our goal?  Raise awareness of the green benefits by purchasing and downloading Microsoft Software – including Office Ultimate 2007 and Windows 7 Professional.  Click here for more information.

While these data reflect more than just Microsoft media, it is encouraging to know Microsoft is partnering with its education customers to make a positive impact on the health of our planet.  Make it a great earth day.