Nikolaj Coster-Waldau documents the changing landscape of Greenland

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones” star and newly-appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Nikolaj partnered with our Street View team to collect imagery of Greenland’s beautiful and changing landscape, where the impact of global warming can be seen firsthand.

Year after year we’ve seen record high temperatures across our planet due to global warming. And Greenland, which I consider my family’s second home, is changing faster than anywhere else on Earth. Here the effects of climate change are easy to see: as sea ice melts and glaciers crumble, places once covered in ice are now bare land.

Greenland Glacier

See Greenland Glacier in Timelapse

Late last year, the Google Maps team came to visit and we went on an adventure to collect Street View imagery of Greenland. Statistics, scientific reports and graphs can be bewildering, but I hope seeing these images will help people understand the drastic changes taking place in Greenland, and inspire you to fall in love with it the way I have. Unless we change these climate trends, the next time we bring the trekker to Greenland the landscape may be unrecognizable from what you see today.

Nikolaj Trekker

Our first stop is the town of Igaliku. With a population of just 27, Igaliku is one of Greenland’s most idyllic villages—a smattering of brightly colored houses and hillsides dotted with sheep. As the landscape has changed, so too has the local economy. Alongside new opportunities to mine precious metals that were previously inaccessible, the changing patterns of freezing and melting glaciers have dramatically disrupted the fishing and hunting lifestyles that have sustained the local Inuit population for centuries.

Igaliku

Greenland is also known for its hot springs. The geothermal springs on the remote island of Uunartoq are one of my favorite destinations, with views of icebergs and towering snow-capped mountain peaks.

Hotspring

Our final stop is the majestic glacial-covered Qoorog Fjord, where the second largest ice sheet in the world terminates into the sea. The ice sheet is melting at an increased pace—pouring 300 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year. This melting harms important coastal ecosystems, local food and water supplies and is a major contribution to rising sea levels.

Ice

We have a responsibility to protect this beautiful planet we live on, and I’m starting at my own front door. But everywhere and everyone is vulnerable to the effects of our warming planet. Let’s band together and do something about it—learn about global efforts to combat climate change and discover ways to take action.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau documents the changing landscape of Greenland

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones” star and newly-appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Nikolaj partnered with our Street View team to collect imagery of Greenland’s beautiful and changing landscape, where the impact of global warming can be seen firsthand.

Year after year we’ve seen record high temperatures across our planet due to global warming. And Greenland, which I consider my family’s second home, is changing faster than anywhere else on Earth. Here the effects of climate change are easy to see: as sea ice melts and glaciers crumble, places once covered in ice are now bare land.

Greenland Glacier

See Greenland Glacier in Timelapse

Late last year, the Google Maps team came to visit and we went on an adventure to collect Street View imagery of Greenland. Statistics, scientific reports and graphs can be bewildering, but I hope seeing these images will help people understand the drastic changes taking place in Greenland, and inspire you to fall in love with it the way I have. Unless we change these climate trends, the next time we bring the trekker to Greenland the landscape may be unrecognizable from what you see today.

Nikolaj Trekker

Our first stop is the town of Igaliku. With a population of just 27, Igaliku is one of Greenland’s most idyllic villages—a smattering of brightly colored houses and hillsides dotted with sheep. As the landscape has changed, so too has the local economy. Alongside new opportunities to mine precious metals that were previously inaccessible, the changing patterns of freezing and melting glaciers have dramatically disrupted the fishing and hunting lifestyles that have sustained the local Inuit population for centuries.

Igaliku

Greenland is also known for its hot springs. The geothermal springs on the remote island of Uunartoq are one of my favorite destinations, with views of icebergs and towering snow-capped mountain peaks.

Hotspring

Our final stop is the majestic glacial-covered Qoorog Fjord, where the second largest ice sheet in the world terminates into the sea. The ice sheet is melting at an increased pace—pouring 300 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year. This melting harms important coastal ecosystems, local food and water supplies and is a major contribution to rising sea levels.

Ice

We have a responsibility to protect this beautiful planet we live on, and I’m starting at my own front door. But everywhere and everyone is vulnerable to the effects of our warming planet. Let’s band together and do something about it—learn about global efforts to combat climate change and discover ways to take action.

Powering a Cleaner Energy Future in Europe

On February 2nd, we hosted an event at our Brussels office to discuss how businesses like Google are turning to renewable energy and discuss how EU energy policies can meet the changing needs of consumers and the marketplace. With leaders from both the private sector and policy community, including keynote speaker, European Commission Vice President for the Energy, Maroš Šefčovič and our panelist, MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, we hosted the event with RE100, a non-profit initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable energy.

Last December, we were proud to announce that Google is on track to reach 100% renewable energy for our  global operations, including both our data centers and offices in 2017. We have committed to renewable energy both to ensure we run our company as sustainably as possible and because it makes business sense as renewables become increasingly cost competitive. To date we’ve signed contracts for 2.6 gigawatts of renewable projects, making- us the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power.

Re100 Event February 2017 2

At out event we spoke alongside other companies committed to renewable energy, such as Nestle, IKEA, and Swiss Re, amongst others, who are also demonstrating through their own efforts that renewables make good business sense.  The business case for renewable energy was further highlighted by European Union Commission Vice President for Energy, Maroš Šefčovič who emphasized that the production costs for renewables have drastically reduced in the last 10 years..

Of course, there are still challenges facing the renewable energy market, many of which are addressed in comprehensive measures on renewables and energy market design recently proposed by the European Commission. Two key topics of discussion at the event were the need for sound policies to help remove barriers to deployment of renewables and more cross-border cooperation in order to implement Europe-wide initiatives.

At Google, we are excited to see so much progress and are committed to working together with policy maker and others to drive a cleaner energy future in Europe.

Commissioner Re100

European Commission Vice President for Energy Union, MaroÅ¡ Å efčovič powering his breakfast smoothie with renewable energy. 🙂

Ecology at Google brings holistic design to our outdoor environments

Along the Southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, our headquarters sit at the intersection of Silicon Valley’s physical footprint and a diverse and increasingly fragile ecosystem. From an ecological standpoint, the area presents both unique challenges and singular opportunities. Federally protected Burrowing Owls call this area home, and Snowy and Great Egrets return every spring to raise their chicks in sycamore trees on our campus. Far above, the Pacific Flyway buzzes with migratory birds in search of once vast willow groves.

It’s with this in mind that our real estate and workplace services group launched the Ecology Program in 2014. The program seeks to incorporate the best available science into the design of Google’s outdoor spaces, create partnerships to support the implementation and growth of this science, and share programmatic resources publicly for all to use.

Google Ecology Program

Google Ecology Program

We’ve long been an industry leader in the design of healthy and sustainable indoor environments, but only recently have we formalized a science-based strategy to create and maintain healthy and resilient outdoor environments. Traditional landscape designs, while well-intentioned, don’t always implement data-driven strategies to promote diverse and enduring habitats—habitats that can withstand climate change, include drought-tolerant and native plantings, and support pollinators, birds and native biodiversity. To lay this foundation for our campus’ outdoor spaces, we’ve created resources for design teams and initiated efforts to “re-oak” Silicon Valley with native valley oaks, expand the footprint of vanishing willow groves, and create new habitat through projects such as Charleston East and the expansion of the Charleston Retention Basin.

Ecology Tenets Infographic

The program also seeks to engage and enhance the experience of individual Googlers and local residents with interactive learning sessions and home planting guidance. During each of the last two springs, we’ve partnered with the Santa Clara Audubon Society to sponsor informational “Egret Office Hours” and birding tours for the public throughout our South Bay Campus.

Google Ecology Program Infographic

From the onset, we’ve known that we can’t “go it alone” in implementing successful ecological initiatives. We partnered with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to create the Resilient Silicon Valley vision, a roadmap to guide ecological planning in the region. Through this partnership, we can engage with the regional community while providing a framework for a science-based approach to ecology that anyone can access. We also launched a small Resilient Silicon Valley Awards program in 2016, providing financial sponsorships to support 10 regional environmental organizations, creating a coalition to advance this shared Bay Area vision.

We see great potential to transform our local and regional landscapes through engagement and collaboration. While ecology and tech may not be obvious partners, science, data-driven analysis and transparency are the pillars that will guide meaningful and lasting change in the outdoor environments that we and so many others call home.