Oracle Sustainability Champions 2021: Oracle employees make the environment a community priority

April 21, 2021 | 5 minute read
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Oracle is proud to recognize its 2021 Oracle Sustainability Champions—employees around the world who are directly contributing to a more sustainable future. Every year we honor inspiring employees whose efforts help reduce our environmental footprint and improve the quality of life in the communities where they live and work.

Gulnaz Banu (Deerfield, Illinois, United States)
Gulnaz encourages everyone in her Oracle office to avoid plastic and use reusable items. As the host of numerous friend and family gatherings, she noticed all the waste from paper plates and plastic cups, and decided to purchase ceramic plates and reusable glasses. Last year, Gulnaz participated in an Earth Day initiative at her mosque to raise community awareness. She expended great effort to ensure everything used in the event was biodegradable, including the “planet earth” balloons. Gulnaz also participated in an Oracle Volunteering event to clean the Northbrook forest, bringing her daughter and some of her friends to help foster environmental awareness with the next generation. 

Maria Forney (San Francisco, United States)         
Maria actively recruits green/clean tech startups to join the Oracle for Startups program. In her free time, she’s involved in a wide range of efforts to fight climate change. Partnering with 4ocean, Maria led an International Coastal Cleanup event in Marin, California. She started a mini tree farm in her neighborhood, and distributes native oak seedlings to her community. Maria also recruited her family to participate in a difficult one-month, plastic-free challenge. She recently adopted zero waste grocery delivery. Maria regularly purchases carbon credits from Cool Effect, and is assisting her high school daughter with an eco-friendly purchasing guide for local families. Two years ago, Maria moved her family to a vegetarian diet, and she recently replaced her gas-guzzling vehicle with an electric car.

John Howell (Barnegat Light, New Jersey, United States)
John currently serves as a New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council advisor for summer flounder. As an advisor, John is involved with the fishery management process and determines fishing regulations and policy for the state. The ultimate goal is the sustainability and rebuilding of the biomass of the wild fish populations. The fisheries can be conserved and maintained to provide optimum yields on a continuing basis when placed under sound management before overfishing has caused irreversible effects. Advisor requirements include serving a three-year term and being actively engaged in the harvesting, processing, or otherwise interested in the conservation and management of the commercial or recreational fisheries.

Aaron Lazenby (Belmont, California, United States)
Aaron and his wife Kate founded Live Like Coco in honor of their daughter, who was killed in a car accident in 2015. During her life, Coco worked in community gardens, participated in beach cleanups, collected jeans for homeless teens, and raised money to support a number of worthy causes. Now the Live Like Coco Foundation protects Santa Cruz County’s natural spaces so children can play and explore together. One of its first projects was to sponsor a redwood grove at the Forest of Nisene Marks, a state park that was practically Coco’s backyard. She hiked and climbed trees there, swam in a place she called “Mermaid’s Cove,” and even released native frogs that she raised from tiny tadpoles. Since Coco’s death, the Foundation that carries her name has processed hundreds of pounds of difficult-to-recycle household items, removed hundreds of pounds of trash from her neighborhood beachfront, and brought scores of underserved children on school field trips to the redwood forest that is home to her memorial. 

Chris Muir (Perth, Australia)         
Chris has been working with a team of Oracle tech users to build a free application to help everyone take every possible kind of action to stop climate change—from recycling an old cell phones to organizing a beach cleanup. Chris and his team released a free app called Evry in February 2021. The app contains nearly 500 unique actions that everyone can take on a daily basis to start making small changes to our lifestyles—all of which add up to reducing our carbon footprint. Evry was built with Oracle Application Express (APEX) and uses Oracle Database running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Claudia Nonica (Bucharest, Romania)         
For Claudia, recycling and sustainability starts at home. She promotes fashion recycling by encouraging all of her colleagues to think twice before they throw away clothes they don’t need and getting the word out about where old clothes can be dropped off. All textiles are welcome at H&M and Zara stores, and Claudia lets others know how to drop their bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at their local store. She also helps reduce electronic waste by asking fellow employees to tell her how many old, unused phones they have in their house. Claudia encourages them to collect the electronics and participate in a buy-back program or offer them for free to their local store.

Kevin Parrington (Motoakasaka, Minato-ku, Japan)         
An avid surfer, Kevin has a deep appreciation of the sea and realized that he could enjoy and protect the ocean at the same time. “From my surfing experience, the first thing I noticed was the pollution,” says Kevin. “The ocean is a place where I spend a lot of my free time, and I want it to be clean. While the task of saving the ocean may seem daunting, Kevin knows individual choices can have a positive impact. Every small action adds up—from avoiding single-use plastic bags, to using reusable water bottles and coffee cups, to avoiding items wrapped in excessive plastic.  Today, Kevin is finding creative ways to protect his favorite blue planet amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s facilitating webinars on environmental topics, including teaching youth from Learning for All about ocean conservation, and teaming up with SEGO Initiative and Ocean Conservancy to keep local beaches litter-free. He encourages fellow Oracle Volunteers to take action to advance causes they care about, too. “Whatever your passion is, you can turn it into volunteering. You may think you can’t make a difference, but you really can. Every little bit helps.”

Illustration: Wes Rowell






Evelyn Neumayr

Sustainability Product Strategy

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