Beyond Earth Day: April marks a month of environmental service for Oracle Volunteers

Beyond Earth Day: April marks a month of environmental service for Oracle Volunteers

Beyond Earth Day: April marks a month of environmental service for Oracle Volunteers

The third week of April marks the observation of two annual events: one in support of volunteerism and another in support of environmental protection. This year, as National Volunteer Week falls between April 17 to April 23 and Earth Day takes place on April 22, Oracle Volunteers around the globe will give back to their communities through activities, such as planting seed balls, preventing food waste, managing data storage, and participating in cleanups of their local parks, beaches, and streets.

Here are the events Oracle Volunteers are taking part in before, during, and after National Volunteer Week and Earth Day:

people on beach clean up
Oracle Volunteers meet in Santa Monica, California to clean the beach.
Photo Credit: Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Oracle

Oracle cleanups keeping the world tidy

Even among the differing time zones and locations of Oracle employees worldwide, the goal of keeping the earth clean has united colleagues across the globe. Oracle Volunteers in several corners of the world are picking up litter on the streets, parks, and beaches of the United States, UK, and Japan.

Cleanups in Santa Monica, California, and Austin, Texas, marked the return of in-person volunteering for many Oracle employees.

“As much as Zoom opened up opportunities to connect with colleagues across cities and continents, there is no replacement for connecting in person,” says Teryll Hopper, senior manager of volunteering and corporate citizenship at Oracle. “And when it comes to the collective impact we can make together on things like cleaning a beach, the more hands the better.”

More than a dozen volunteers in Austin took part in clearing debris around Lady Bird Lake, a site with a hiking and biking trail located across the street from Oracle headquarters in Austin.

“It’s so nice to see new faces and returning employees,” says Facilities Specialist Andrea Reyna, one of the organizers of the Lady Bird Lake cleanup. “Also, this campus is close to 1 million square feet and has over 3,000 employees dedicated to it. Even right now, with the employees that do come in, you don’t see everyone, so this volunteering event was an opportunity to meet someone who works three floors above you.”

Thousands of miles from Santa Monica and Austin, colleagues in Japan and the UK are also keeping their communities tidy with cleanups for solo volunteers and household teams.

For the past three years, Oracle Volunteering has participated in environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean campaign, hosting cleanups that adhere to social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. This year’s Oracle Volunteering project, which runs until April 30, is encouraging volunteers to pick up litter in their communities in their spare time and pledge as little as 15 minutes of cleaning.

Similarly, the Oracle Japan Clean-Up in partnership with the environmental nonprofit SEGO Initiative will rally Oracle Volunteers throughout the country to declutter their streets and parks through the end of April. Volunteers can also use the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app to count their debris and see their impact by tracking how much material they have intercepted from waste streams leading to the ocean.

Making digital cleanups a priority at Oracle

Oracle Volunteers are cleaning up all forms of waste—even digital waste. Unneeded files stored on cloud servers require electricity to maintain. The Digital Clean-Up challenge encourages data stewards to cleanup their cloud storage to reduce carbon emissions.

Led by Kathy Wu, communication manager of Oracle North-West Europe Technology Consulting , more than 100 Oracle Volunteers

around the world will free up storage space in three areas: email in-boxes, cloud storage, and phone storage.

Progress is monitored by an application built on Oracle APEX Application Development by principal solution engineer Steven Wadsworth. The app has volunteers record the size of their storage before they begin their cleanup and approximately how much time they have spent clearing data. In the spirit of friendly competition, a leaderboard on the app tracks the progress of volunteers and where in the world they are participating from.

“It’s really nice to see the diversity and scope we have reached in Oracle,” says Wu. “The whole goal of performing digital cleanups is to understand your digital behavior and the impact of the footprints you’re making. It can be hard to understand the impact of sending an email or storing on the cloud.”

Simple tasks that can eliminate unnecessary emails in in-boxes include deleting old calendar invitations and unsubscribing to irrelevant newsletters, says Wu. She adds that getting rid of duplicate files in the cloud and unused applications on all devices also makes a difference. As of now, the Digital Clean-Up is planned to continue through Earth Day.

Seed ball making in Oracle India

In India, Oracle Volunteers are focusing their environmental impact on growing their green landscapes.

Volunteers in eight different cities with Oracle offices will spend time before and after Earth Day making and dispersing seed balls—marble-sized spheres of soil, compost or humus, clay, and seeds.

“It is a great way of rehabilitating neglected land by direct action of citizens,” says Dr. Kamal Deep Peter, senior manager of corporate citizenship at Oracle India. “During the pandemic when in-person volunteering was suspended, activities like cleanups of lakes, beaches, parks, and tree plantings were not possible. There was a restlessness to act, to sustain planetary resources, and to protect biodiversity.”

Kamal adds that seed balls are very versatile with a long shelf life, the ability to be scattered or sown without deep ploughing, and a wrapping mixture that keeps the seeds safe until germination. Seed balls have an 80 percent growth success rate, and it is recommended to use seeds native to that place since they are a part of the natural ecosystem of the place, she says.

At least 240 Oracle Volunteers and their guests are expected to make seed balls and disperse them in their communities with guidance from Bhumi, a nongovernmental organization that offers programs promoting education and sustainable livelihoods.

Raising awareness of the impacts of food waste at Oracle

In addition to being a social concern, food waste is also considered an environmental concern. When food is wasted, so is the energy and water it took to grow, harvest, package, and transport it.

To educate the public about ways to prevent food waste, the Oracle Corporate Citizenship crew in Latin America will hold the Conscious Food workshop with Gastromotiva, a nongovernmental organization that uses food as a way to encourage social inclusion and end waste and hunger. The workshop, which is part of the There is no Planet B! rally, will be available for nine countries in Oracle LAD on April 19 and 26. It will cover educational information about the Social Gastronomy Movement, how to rethink organic waste, and tips for food purchase, preparation, disposal, shopping, and water usage that are the most sustainable. Volunteers will also have the chance to prepare a recipe that uses all parts of the ingredients under the guidance of a Gastromotiva chef.

“It’s amazing to see how much we’ve learned together about the power we have, collectively and as individuals, about the decision-making around food,” says Director of Corporate Citizenship, Latin America Vanessa Scaburri. “Together, we become aware of the impact that the food industry has on the environment and the opportunity of change we face in each stage of this journey. We learn many practical tips that we can apply every day. After all, we are lucky enough to eat three


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