Friday, April 2, 2010

An Exercise in Irrelevance

A few years ago, Greenpeace blasted a bunch of computer companies for making their products out of non–environmentally-friendly materials—which, if you think about it, isn’t that surprising, neither on the part of the manufacturers nor on the part of Greenpeace. They each have a job to do and they’re doing it.

One of the many companies that Greenpeace blasted—and one that bore much of the brunt of their wrath, due to some of the specific components and chemicals used—was Apple. As a result, Apple made some major changes in the way they did things. Their computers are now much more environmentally friendly, including being made from (I believe) 100% recyclable materials. Whatever the case, Greenpeace was not only appeased, they began singing Apple’s praises for its willingness and ability to make such drastic changes so quickly. And that, we all thought, was that.

Enter the iPad.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, Apple will be releasing—tomorrow, in fact!—a brand new type of internet device called the iPad. It’s kind of like a cross between an iPhone and a computer, the latter comparison being primarily due to its higher-resolution, 9.7″ display. And thanks to this new product, Greenpeace is once again bashing Apple—only this time, with a twist.

Why, pray tell, are they bashing the iPad? Is it because it contains harmful materials and/or chemicals? Well, no, Apple’s now a green company—in fact, the most green computer manufacturer, according to Greenpeace’s own criteria. The reason that the iPad is being singled out as a danger to the environment is because it includes a web browser, which can, in turn, be used to access Facebook.


According to news site Electronista, “Greenpeace… calls out Facebook as a direct contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The social networking site opened its own data center in Prineville, Oregon, a location that allegedly relies on coal-based power from the utility company PacifiCorp.” As such, the popularity of the iPad (which has already received over 250,000 pre-orders and is consequently backordered into next month, despite nobody having actually seen the thing up close) leads Greenpeace to label it a “quintessential cloud computing device” that will increase “the IT industry’s appetite for energy.”


So in short: Greenpeace has told Apple that if they want to be an environmentally friendly company, they have to stop selling Internet devices because the Internet—especially Facebook—is bad.

If you’d like to learn more about Greenpeace and how you can save the environment, please check out their Internet site. Better yet, become a fan of their Facebook page, which oddly enough doesn’t mention the whole “coal-based” thing.

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