Maria Forney leads Customer Experience for Oracle for Startups and is an Oracle Sustainability Champion for 2021.
My first job out of college was with Friends of the Earth, researching methyl bromide and its threat to human health and the earth’s protective ozone layer. I helped publish a report and host a press event at the nation’s capital which spurred new regulations regarding the use of methyl bromide as a pesticide in U.S. agriculture. The experience stayed with me, making me passionate about environmentalism, sustainability, and sticking with organic strawberries.
I doubled down on my interest in the environment when I took up open water swimming in Maine and the waters off Northern California. Spending time in the ocean heightened my awareness of the need to protect marine wildlife. As a family, we participate in coastal cleanup days, avoid single-use plastic, eat a vegetarian diet, plant native trees in our neighborhood, use electric vehicles and e-bikes, and purchase carbon credits. It's a start, and more action is needed.
Years ago, in speaking with a mentor about careers aligned to sustainability, she advised, "lead from the seat you're in." The simple comment struck a chord and spurred me to find ways to make an impact at home and work. Here at Oracle for Startups, I've had the opportunity to recruit and support several cloud startups making a difference with green innovations. They use our free and deeply discounted cloud technologies to build solutions for solving our planet's most formidable challenges.
Here are some of my favorite examples.
The case for reducing single-use plastic is well known and has been reinforced with recent reports about the growing crisis of ocean pollution. This is why it's exciting to work with Oceanworks and to play a part in their success.
Oceanworks created a global marketplace for recycled ocean plastic materials and products. Companies such as The Sak, SailGP, and Chipolo have partnered with Oceanworks to build products using recycled plastic. Their business is based on building a circular ocean plastic industry which reduces the need for virgin plastics, and accelerates the removal and recycling of plastics pouring into oceans and waterways.
Data analytics startup Kinetica analyzes the data that the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) captures from drone flyovers. This is another impressive Oracle for Startups success story, as Kinetica helped SFEI quickly analyze the 35,000 images captured from their first flights.
The drones allowed SFEI to rely less on humans to calculate debris in the estuary and provided data to study the effectiveness of changes made to reduce plastic pollutants.
The other thing I find rewarding about my job is the ability to support green tech innovators across the globe. It aligns with this "rise of the rest" theme that VP Jason Williamson spearheads and prioritizes for our team.
One of those companies I’ve worked with is Waste2Go, a Brazilian firm that wants to ditch the inefficient garbage truck route. Instead, they propose attaching sensors to waste containers, recycling dumpsters, and industrial effluent tanks, which send data when they’re getting full to help waste management companies make efficient and sustainable decisions about when to collect waste.
Yet another fascinating drone startup aims to increase crop yields and to support food sustainability. Based in Israel, AgroScout uses our Autonomous Data Processing to reduce the complexity of operating their databases.
Many more green tech startups are working with Oracle for Startups. Join them and you’ll find not just cloud credits but a team of people who’ll feel as passionately about your company as you do.