Protecting our planet

Over the last 45 years, 60% of the world’s wildlife has disappeared. And each year, 32 million acres of the world’s forests are depleted.

We’re facing unprecedented challenges from climate change: pollution, flooding, drought, loss of biodiversity, and a rapidly growing population of almost eight billion people. Lives, livelihoods, and natural resources hang in the balance.

But there’s still hope to reverse the damaging cycles we’ve created. Together, we can work to ensure a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for our planet.

Man walking with boy, forrest in the background, with AI overlay.

Seeing the forest for the trees

In every forest stands a diverse but carefully balanced ecosystem of trees that’s critical to sustaining life, from filtering our water supply to absorbing carbon emissions to serving as a habitat for wildlife. If trees could talk, they’d reveal that each species contains a story of struggle, perseverance, and survival. Learn more about how researchers are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to identify patterns and information to craft a happier ending to these stories.

Knife lake at the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area. Photo © Cary Reich courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
White Oak Photo © George Gress courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in Sequoia National Park, California, USA.
The Tree Potential Project

Through the Tree Potential Project, Microsoft is helping to protect the world’s forests. With a new tool from Microsoft and SilviaTerra, you can search for a forest online, visualize the health of its tree population and its environmental impact, and then donate trees to be planted in the forests where they’re most needed.

Black ash, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Black ash trees thrive in Wisconsin. But the invasive Chinese emerald ash borer (EAB) poses a serious threat. A forest infested with EAB could lose 98% of its ash trees in six years. But using AI, foresters can help track tree health and send alerts to remove infested trees.

American white oak, Mark Twain National Forest

American white oaks play a vital role in sustaining wildlife in the Ozarks, providing both food and shelter. But these trees are also the lifeblood of Kentucky bourbon-making, and forest managers using AI can help ensure that they aren’t depleted by high demand.

Giant sequoias, Sequoia National Forest

Sequoia trees are among the largest on earth, capturing massive amounts of carbon from the air. But these giants are under threat from too much foot traffic and a lack of forest fires. Using AI, rangers can help identify where to stage deliberate, low-intensity fires that help sequoia seeds release and take root.

Visit the Tree Potential Project to learn more about a local forest and its trees. You can visualize the health of its tree population and its impact on the environment.

And as part of The Nature Conservancy’s goal to plant 1 billion trees by 2025, you can even contribute to help them plant the right trees in the forests that need them most.

Learn more about SilviaTerra and how it’s using data and cutting edge technology to better understand complex ecosystems and build a sustainable future for our forests.


Ensuring clean drinking water for all

The UN predicts that by 2030, the world may face a 40 percent shortfall in available water. Climate change is making this already precious resource scarce, as rainfall becomes increasingly erratic and a growing global population consumes more and more water.

That’s why Minecraft is partnering with charity: water, a non-profit committed to ensuring clean water for every person on the planet. In celebration of their new in-game well-building challenge, Minecraft will be donating $100K to support charity: water’s mission.

Learn more about charity: water

Read more about Microsoft’s approach to water conservation

In fashion, where there are 150 billion articles of clothing made every year, and 90% of these textiles are ending up in a landfill—the consumption of resources and production of waste is never-ending.

Natasha Franck, founder and CEO, EON
Natasha Franck in Manhattan

Natasha believes connectivity can power a circular economy—that we can use technology to mimic the patterns we see in nature.

After learning of the devastating environmental impact of the fashion industry, Natasha started to research new systems and solutions that could power our global transition to a circular economy—that is, an economy where products are regenerative by design, and resources are continuously reused to phase out waste.

Natasha saw firsthand how challenging it was to achieve this across industries: How do we identify all products and materials at scale, across the world, and keep materials in constant use? She realized that giving every piece of clothing a unique Digital Identity, and connecting them to the Internet of Things, would unlock the necessary intelligence and transparency to manage a sustainable lifecycle of products—resale, rental, reuse, and recycling.

Collaborating with industry leaders, Natasha and her team at EON are launching The Global Connect Fashion Initiative to codify a standard for Digital Identity, help bridge communication gaps across the value chain, and power a circular economy.

“By giving every product a unique Digital Identity, we power transparency across the value chain, and make it possible to create the fundamental systems of change essential for our global transition to a circular economy,” says Natasha.

Read more about Natasha’s effort to make fashion “zero waste”

Portrait of Natasha Franck, founder of Eon.

“Lack of transparency is one of the biggest barriers to a circular fashion industry. We can’t recycle it if we don’t know what’s in it.”

- Natasha Franck, founder and CEO, EON

Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Take action with Dr. Jane Goodall
Parents, educators, and students are invited to join Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned scientist and environmentalist, on-demand as she inspires a new generation of conservationists to take action on behalf of our planet. (Photo by Michael Neugebauer)
Protecting our planet
Be a citizen scientist
When human ingenuity and technology meet, they have the power to solve some of the biggest environmental challenges. Explore projects on the front lines of sustainability.
Zebra standing in the plains

Combat animal extinction with Wild Me

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Photo of butterfly
Photo of butterfly

Help map biodiversity around the globe

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Park ranger standing in front of a tablet giving a virtual field trip

Explore ecological wonders on a virtual field trip

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Watch Microsoft’s Jennifer Marsman share how technology helps with conservation
A leopard being identified by AI

Watch Microsoft’s Jennifer Marsman share how technology helps with conservation

Learn more