By Muthu Varadharajan
Submitted by Cisco Systems, Inc.
From my early childhood spent in India, nature and wildlife have held a dear place in my heart. My father, who worked as a Professor in Zoology and holds a PhD in honeybee conservation, instilled these interests in me. When I was growing up, I had an opportunity to live on farmland with sugarcane and paddy fields. We had many pets, including dogs, fishes, birds, squirrels, mongooses, rabbits, and cats, at different times. During the summers, we would often go to Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in India to get involved in wildlife conservatory projects. I was always amazed by my father’s passion for honeybee conversation. He used to get calls from local villagers to transfer wild bee swarms to proper beehives. And he’d immediately get ready with his apiary gear and mask.
After relocating to the U.S., I continued pursuing my interests in nature, biodiversity, and conservation. In 2019, I moved to Colorado. And the first thing I fell in love with about this state was the abundance of nature, including the mountains and the rich plant and wildlife presence. Still an avid traveler, the featured photo at the top was taken by me during a safari and a game drive at the Kariega Game Reserve at the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
A green future is a prosperous future
Shortly after moving, I heard about our Cisco Green Team Network (CGTN), an Employee Resource Organization (ERO) that envisions a more environmentally sustainable business and world. CGTN empowers team members to drive social and environmental change at work and in their homes. Together, along with my colleague Ed Hilquist, who shares an equal passion around sustainability and environment, we formed the Green Team Chapter for Colorado. Our chapter includes a growing team of 35 Cisco employees who share a common passion for saving the planet.
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan
Climate change is real. And we are already seeing the effects of these devastating changes. Doing what we can to protect nature today means a better planet for future generations. In September 2021, the Cisco Colorado Green Team volunteered at the Copper Mountains and promoted local biodiversity by participating in wildflower seed collection.
In April 2022, the Cisco Colorado Green Team volunteered at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge to build trails and construct picnic tables and benches. This refuge is one of the largest urban refuges in the country. It is a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of busy urban life where time moves at nature’s pace.
Our Green Team has various interests, including getting involved in beekeeping to support existing beekeepers, trail maintenance, planting trees, collecting wildflower seeds, cleaning facilities, fence building, habitat construction, endangered bird conservation, and promoting biodiversity.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
In addition to participating in in-person volunteering events, there are multiple other ways we can promote sustainability. Below are some of the ways that I promote sustainability.
Earth Hour – An hour for Earth and for us. Every year, at 8:30 pm on the last Saturday of March, supporters in over 190 countries and territories unite, acting on and raising awareness of the issues facing our one home by turning off non-essential electric lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. in their local time.
Earth Day – An annual event celebrated on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year, the GES Central area green team hosted a sustainable cook along event where we made plant-based lasagna.
Life is all about choices. And for instance, I avoid plastic bags while shopping and use tote bags. Every small change is a big success.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
The Cisco Colorado Green Team is so grateful to have Cisco’s SVP and Global Head of Talent Solutions, Kelly Jones, who actively participates and helps promote the various events as an executive sponsor. Kelly shared, “Having 10 paid days a year to volunteer and give back to our communities is one way we operationalize Cisco’s purpose, to power an inclusive future for all. I personally use these days for environmental impact, focused on the health of the planet.”
At Cisco, employees are encouraged to give back to their global and local communities through our Time2Give initiative. Who doesn’t love working for a company that gives their employees time and space to follow their passion?
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