In 2010, Disney continued its long history of conservation and environmental stewardship with additional investments in offset projects around the world. With our key business markets in mind, the Company made a US $2 million contribution to The Nature Conservancy for the reforestation of ecologically degraded lands in the Heling’er region of Inner Mongolia, China.

Such reforestation projects are highly effective ways to combat climate change, improve the livelihood of people and protect threatened wildlife. Healthy forests provide food, shelter and income to millions of people around the world. Each year, nearly 13 million hectares of forests disappear. To help aid in this environmental crisis, China has committed to increase forest cover by 40 million hectares by 2020.

The Chinese government has identified the Heling’er region of Inner Mongolia as a critical conservation zone, owing to its location between the Mongolian grasslands and the Loess Plateau, and because of its biodiversity, which includes more than 40 mammal and 120 bird species.

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Environmental Steward
Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production introduced a new full-time position in 2009, the Environmental Steward, to each of the Studios’ live-action feature film crews. The Steward is charged with initiating recycling, reuse and best practices across the myriad crafts on the set. This role calls for environmental advocacy as well as educating the cast and crew on the wisdom and best habits to embrace as we forge our way to a greener world.

Yazmin Watkins has worked as an Environmental Steward on several Disney productions, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, John Carter of Mars, and The Muppets Movie. She understands first-hand the importance of coordinating across the production: “It takes a team for it to work — we need all departments to collaborate to make an impact.” In her role as Environmental Steward on John Carter of Mars, Yazmin tracked down recycling services in remote filming locations. She even convinced a local waste vendor to consider continuing recycling programs after production had ended. She distributed reusable water bottles to support the film’s goal of being a “case-free” show and motivated the crew to be green by giving special prizes for the best environmental efforts. On the set of The Muppets Movie, she showed Kermit that it’s easy being green by organizing donations of food to local food banks, providing used lighting gels to local film schools, and ensuring that the catering team used biodegradable dishware.

Yazmin’s influence even extends beyond the film production itself. The cast and crew on the set often wanted to know what else they could do at home to protect the environment, and Yazmin provided them with green resources and tips on activities like recycling, carpooling and composting. This experience has been incredibly rewarding for her. “Environmental issues have been part of how I approach my life, both personally and professionally, for a long time, so getting to work on these issues with Disney has been very gratifying. Also, my career goal is to make movies, so it’s really exciting to be on set, influencing the way movies are made,” she says.

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ESPN team
The ESPN team took its sustainability efforts on the road this year. A focus on sports means ESPN is on the road a lot, and it inevitably has an impact on the sites it visits. In addition to efforts at the ESPYs and X Games, the ESPN team committed to attend every ESPN College Game Day to help reduce the event’s on-campus environmental impact and to encourage recycling.

At College Game Day locations, the ESPN team sets up a tent where fans trade full bags of recycling in exchange for ESPN and College Game Day shirts, hats, beanies and hoodies. ESPN works with students from the school’s environmental club to distribute recycling bags to tailgaters in parking lots and to inform them about the program. ESPN also works closely with the school to recover recyclables from its College Game Day site after the students leave. We’ve found that many schools sustain ESPN’s tailgate recycling initiative for subsequent home games. Other schools already have great existing programs, and at these schools ESPN works with them to enhance and promote their efforts.

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World of Color

Disney Parks & Resorts
In 2010, Disney Parks & Resorts premiered our new signature nighttime spectacular, “World of Color,” at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. This attraction uses powerful water fountains, kaleidoscopic colors, compelling music, fire, lasers, special effects and larger-than-life digital projection to bring Disney characters and stories to life in a whole new way.

Creating this attraction provided a great opportunity to test our environmental innovations on a large scale. When preparations for “World of Color” began, Disneyland Resort (DLR) collaborated with the Orange County Water District to conserve the water in Paradise Bay. Instead of draining the lagoon to the ocean, the water was sent through the Water District’s state-of-the-art Groundwater Replenishment System. After being purified, the water was stored in the county’s underground water basin, adding to the county’s overall water reserves. When the time was right, the purified water was reused to refill Paradise Bay.  

Disneyland Resort was recognized with California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor for these efforts: the 2009 Governor’s Environmental & Economic Leadership Award. This award recognizes DLR’s water conservation practices as well as other environmental innovations.

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