Google turned its homepage logo into a nature scene doodle Friday in honor of Earth Day.
The image features a moving waterfall, penguins jumping on an iceberg, pandas nibbling on bamboo, and a lion curled up under a tree.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “A Billion Acts of Green.” The Earth Day Network said the goal is to generate one billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before the June 2012 Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
Earth Day dates back to 1970, when Sen. Gaylord Nelson, disheartened by a massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara and inspired by the anti-war movement, moved to fuse activism and environmentalism, according to the Earth Day Network. Google Earth Day doodle
He announced a “national teach-in on the environment” and pulled in colleagues from both sides of the aisle. On April 22 that year, 20 million Americans gathered on the streets and in parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a more environmentally friendly existence. By 1990, Earth Day went global, helping pave the way for 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Three years later, President Bill Clinton awarded Sen. Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in founding Earth Day.
In a Thursday blog post, Yahoo said searches on its network suggest that the recent nuclear crisis in Japan has prompted consumers to start looking into alternative energy sources. This month, searches on Yahoo Green for “solar energy” are up 208 percent while inquiries for “wind power” are up 1,307 percent.
“Interestingly, more men are showing more interest, as 3-out-of-5 searches this month for both ‘wind power’ and ‘solar energy’ are by males, especially in Illinois, Ohio, Texas and New Jersey,” Yahoo said.
Yahoo also has a list of top Earth Day 2011 deals, including free Starbucks coffee for those who bring in a reusable mug.
Google, meanwhile, has made a number of investments in clean and solar energy lately. On Thursday, the search giant announced its second power purchase agreement for wind energy in Oklahoma. Google will apply the power to its Mayes County data center, which is expected to be fully operational later this year. Google will purchase its energy from NextEra Energy Resources’ Minco II wind facility for the next 20 years via Google Energy. The facility is being built thanks to Google’s funding commitments and will be operational by year’s end.
“We’ve made the commitment to be a carbon neutral company, and this purchase is part of our effort to minimize our impact on the environment. We’ve managed to reduce our energy consumption by over 50 percent by building highly energy-efficient facilities, but we know that efficiency alone isn’t enough to eliminate our carbon footprint,” Google said in a blog post. “We’ve been exploring ways, such as this PPA, to reduce emissions further by increasing the amount of renewable energy we use to power our operations; we purchase high-quality carbon offsets for any remaining emissions.”
Earlier this month, Google also invested $168 million to a solar energy power plant in California’s Mojave Desert and $5 million in a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Germany. In May, it put $38.8 million into two North Dakota wind farms, the company’s first direct investment in a utility-scale renewable energy project. In October, Google also announced plans to invest in a wind farm initiative that will fund 350 miles worth of wind farms off the East Coast.
Also today, CTIA, the wireless industry trade group, launched a “go wireless, go green” Web site with tips for going green in a connected era.