Google's 2017 energy plan has been years in the making — and they just might pull it off.

If Google was at a holiday party with the rest of the Fortune 500 companies, it would definitely have a New Year's resolution worth bragging about.

The company intends to be powered entirely be renewable energy in 2017.

Image via iStock.


Now those other Fortune 500 companies might go, "Hold on, Google, not so fast. We know you're one heck of an impressive tech company, but you employ over 60,000 people all over the world! Think you might want to set a more realistic goal?"

To which Google would probably say, "Nah, I'm good."

Of course, this isn't the kind of goal you hit overnight. Google has been laying the groundwork to hit this "landmark moment" for years.

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

According to a post on Google's blog by senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Last year, the company purchased 44% of the power needed to run the entire company from solar and wind farms, but it began pursuing renewable energy much earlier than that.

In 2010, Google contracted with 114-watt wind farm in Iowa. The company also became one of three investors of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), the world's largest solar power tower plant back in 2011. Oh and no big deal, but Google's been working toward carbon neutrality (meaning its energy production cancels out its emissions) since 2007.

Photo via Google. Used with permission.

So yeah, you could say Google had a bit of a head start on its 2017 New Year's resolution.

If you're thinking this is the kind of initiative that only a company like Google can do because Google has a ton of money and renewable energy is expensive, think again.

According to Google's extensive environmental report, the cost of wind and solar energy has dropped 60%-80% over the last six years. So not only is that 2017 renewable energy goal good for the planet, it's good for their business as well. And if there's anything most companies can get behind, it's saving money.

All in all, Google has invested more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy sources all over the world and also works to help other organizations lower their emissions as part of its commitment to doing whatever it can to combat the very real threat climate change poses to our planet.

Photo via Google. Used with permission.

Google isn't alone in trying to make a shift toward renewable energy. Microsoft reports that its been carbon neutral since 2012. Pearson, the world's largest education company has been committed to total carbon neutrality since 2009, and has maintained it ever since. And that's just two of 100 companies in the United States that have committed to operating on 100% renewable energy sources in the next few years.

According to data collected by the Climate Group, if companies worldwide committed to this endeavor, global carbon emissions would drop by 15%.

In cleaning up their energy acts, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Pearson are setting a great example for other companies worldwide to follow.

Photo by AFP.

It will take a certain amount of initiative, especially from smaller companies, to make a full shift to renewable energy. Even Google is facing some challenges in meeting its 2017 goal. For one, its data centers require the most amount of energy, and even though use of artificial intelligence has cut the need down by 15%, needs keep mounting.

Google is determined to keep pushing forward, facing each new challenge as it arises because combatting climate change is a marathon, not a sprint. And thanks to the climate summit in Paris in 2015, more countries' industries are taking up similar emissions pledges.

The clean energy gauntlet has been thrown by some of the most influential companies in the world. Hopefully their resolutions will inspire others who don't want to be left behind in the pollution dust.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less