Greenpeace launches anti-Facebook video campaign

Earlier this week Greenpeace launched a campaign aimed at stopping Facebook from using coal power in its data centre.

Facebook announced in February that it will build a massive data centre in Oregon, U.S to house the company's servers. The 300,000 square foot space is rumoured to cost $50 million a year to lease. Facebook plans to run the data center on electricity made by burning coal. Greenpeace claims coal is the dirtiest source of energy and largest single source of global warming pollution in the world. Greenpeace issued the following statement on Facebook's plans:

Facebook can control where it builds its infrastructure; the power purchasing agreements it enters into; and how it uses its brand's power to advocate for strong policies that promote clean energy. Given all of the control Facebook does have, it can make a commitment to phase out coal and show the rest of the IT sector that it can be done.

Greenpeace would like Facebook, and more specifically CEO Mark Zukerberg, to commit to stop using coal power and use renewable sources of electricity for its data centre. The company has created a video that it hopes will go viral and convince Facebook to change its energy policies.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Facebook Places now live in the UK

Next Story

Neowin's top 10 iPhone apps you can't live without

73 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

What's wrong with coal power? At least it's helping break "some" of the dependency we have on foreign oil. How about they develop an in depth plan on how to effectively transfer them over to a more "green" source of power, you know not just tell them "what to do" but "how" to do it effectively and sustainably.

Global warming is a natural and un-avoidable process. The poles flip their polarities occasionally(several times actually since the world was formed), and this causes all sorts of havoc with who knows what. The tectonic plates on which we sit shift and move around constantly, also affecting climate. I'm getting tired of people blaming humans for something that's going to happen anyway, regardless of what we do.

CoMMo said,
I'm getting tired of people blaming humans for something that's going to happen anyway, regardless of what we do.


True, but we can minimise our impact. If the coal-fired power producers capped the emissions and made something constructive with the waste, greenpeace wouldn't have a leg to stand on in the arguement.

I saw a MSNBC program which spoke of just such a technology where the emissions when cooled by seawater can be used to create non-loadbearing concrete.

I didn't know Facebook privately owned a plant to produce energy and they specifically decided to use coal to do so.

Instead of talking about Facebook being the culprit why don't you go and complain about the actual company that Facebook pays for electricity

http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/Power.shtml

You people need to look at the bigger picture.. I wonder how many of you even know HOW your powers being generated. I'm at least lucky and happen to have a Nuclear Plant 30 miles from me, but are you all willing to put a 50/50 chance on repeating another Chernobyl and 3 mile island incident just to be "green"? Also think about how do we achieve Nuclear Power?... Uranium but not just any uranium, you need enriched uranium. So, first you need to dig up the uranium, which means you pollute through the use of petrol or diesel driven vehicles. Now you have to clean up what you dug up, just to find some uranium. Brilliant, but this uranium isn't exactly the right type of uranium, so you have to enrich the uranium to be able to use it in a reactor. All this work for this?
Now there is the question of the waste as well as having to store it for many thousands of years. Reprocessing the waste is also an option, but many countries can't do this as due to some issue with countries signing anti nuclear weapons treaties.

Also, don't forget that there is only a finite amount of uranium available in the world, so nuclear power just like coal power inevitably will come to an end, even if in 50 or 100 years. This is why humankind should look at RENEWABLE energy sources (P.S. Trees are a renewable energy source since you can grow another tree in a relatively short time (i.e. 30 years) compared to coal which was formed over thousands or millions of years.

Oh, last point - instead of needing more and more energy, the human race should be looking at reducing the demand for energy as a whole, be it for electricity or for fuel. This would solve a lot of problems.

Addition:
Sorry - forgot to mention that when uranium is enriched, electricity is used, now the question is where does this come from? Most likely from coal or nuclear powered plants anyway.

Unfortunately there is no perfect solution to generating electricity - even hydro causes problems where dams are built and plant matter collects in the dam and releases methane as it breaks down, which is also a problem for global warming.
Hopefully some clever soul out there will come up with a new idea that is perfect
--------

In conclusion, If your speaking your mind just cause of a few good aspects of things is you being naive and need to actually learn the process of which things are required in order for you to achieve something; nothing is fully green only small aspects of it at a time shall be.

burning coal = cancer
nuclear power = clean air
how hard is it for the gov't to build enough nuclear power plants to supply cheap energy (french are doing it). it is the stupid public that has irrational fears of nuclear energy. meanwhile they don't even realize how many of them will die from lung cancer.
i really dislike Greenpeace and i hate to say it but at this instance they are right

mattbiernat said,
burning coal = cancer
nuclear power = clean air
how hard is it for the gov't to build enough nuclear power plants to supply cheap energy (french are doing it). it is the stupid public that has irrational fears of nuclear energy. meanwhile they don't even realize how many of them will die from lung cancer.
i really dislike Greenpeace and i hate to say it but at this instance they are right
They are right about coal-powered plants, but at the same time they see nuclear energy as a threat.

juresp said,
They are right about coal-powered plants, but at the same time they see nuclear energy as a threat.

Do they actually have a legitimate idea on how to keep our modern society running, and would they rather return us to the age of the communal, community village?

bluarash said,
Do they actually have a legitimate idea on how to keep our modern society running, and would they rather return us to the age of the communal, community village?
Probably second one.

I'd say that Greenpeace has been acting as an irrealistic organisation during the last decades (by rejecting the use of nuclear power, etc.) but this video makes sense, if they can use cleaner sources of energy, why not? Well, they wouldn't save some millions, that's for sure.

But hey, what would they say if the data center was running on nuclear power? These guys must think that electricity grows in the trees.... (wind and solar energy are not exactly the ultimate solution for the energy problem, one can't relay entirely on them).

P.S. Fusion FTW! (not trying to make an AMD advert haha)) Let's hope t hat in the next 50 years technology will enable us to have cleaner sources of energy that will be able to cope with all the demand and not just a little percentage.

Greanpeace is no longer a environmental movement, its a political activist movement. the whole global warming theory is bollox, CO2 is not the cause of global warming its a product of global warming. Read the textbooks and stop listening to media propagander.

affy1977 said,
Greanpeace is no longer a environmental movement, its a political activist movement. the whole global warming theory is bollox, CO2 is not the cause of global warming its a product of global warming. Read the textbooks and stop listening to media propagander.

+1

affy1977 said,
the whole global warming theory is bollox, CO2 is not the cause of global warming its a product of global warming. Read the textbooks and stop listening to media propagander.

Scientific theory is constantly revised based upon new research and there is still a lot that isn't know about climate change. However, the theory that CO2 is a by-product of temperature change due to the water vapour cycle isn't supported by the scientific community. But just like creationists band about "missing fossil records" as proof of God, anti-climate change supports wield the CO2 vapour cycle to dismiss any human impact on climate change.

Regardless of anyone's beliefs, does it not make sense for humanity to limit its impact upon the environment and preserve it for the future? Pumping out billions of tonnes of CO2 unnecessarily is obviously not a good idea. Are people really so obsessed with capitalism that they have no sense of social or environmental responsibility?

theyarecomingforyou said,
Are people really so obsessed with capitalism that they have no sense of social or environmental responsibility?

I would hope so!

There's lots of good reasons to have an anti-Facebook campaign but their choice of energy isn't even on the top 10 list.

"It's also not quite true that Facebook has 'chosen' coal. As the company points out, it's simply taking the available electricity in its chosen location of Prineville, Oregon. The data center will take its electricity from PacifiCorp, which generates power from hydro, geothermal, wind and coal. So if it's a choice then it's a passive one. However, the question is whether Facebook could be doing more, as an industrial-scale buyer of electricity? Greenpeace argues that it should."
http://www.allfacebook.com/greenpeace-facebook-coal-2010-09

Wait, is Facebook building the coal plant? If Facebook moves its servers, will the coal plant shut down? If not, why are they bothering them?

Greenpeace is trying to make a third party company look bad (a company which has nothing to do with the continued operation of the coal plant) just so they can promote their agenda. Thats sleazy.

Maybe Facebook should start following the other big sites and get some Bloom Boxes. Greenpeace really need to start pushing in the correct area's, wind and solar energy aren't that productive in large scale, how big an area would they need to power the entire place off wind energy ?

http://www.environmentalleader...-mart-buy-bloom-fuel-cells/

I think solar is probably the answer for now, solar can become a lot of productive and cheaper than it is the now.

I'm doing my part by taking a bag of coal to the beach and feeding it to the whales. Then I think I'll make a diesel fire and roast some nitrite rich sausages. Of course, I'll need to call in to Bangladesh and see how the new line of shoes is coming along in the sweatshop. Hey, bob_c_b, can you toss one of those baby seals over here?

I'm not a big fan of facebook...I check it once or twice a day, but, since Greenpeace has to stick there nose into everything, I'll start using it MORE. Think I'll have a nice buffalo burger for lunch, with a side order of tuna, crab or something else.

I always do the opposite of what Greenpeace says, so I think I'll have a dolphin sandwich and head on over to look at my FB feed. Cold in here, toss another baby seal on the fire.

Maybe if Greenpeace hadn't opposed nuclear so heavily in the 1970s, we would not be using so much coal today.

Back then, nuclear power was a "threat" and was going to envelope the world in a nuclear holocaust. Today, it's global warming and coal emissions.

Greenpeace is worth listening to, but we shouldn't act based on what they say.

mbg said,
Back then, nuclear power was a "threat" and was going to envelope the world in a nuclear holocaust. Today, it's global warming and coal emissions.
Back then we had several nuclear power plant accidents. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Hell, Tokaimura was only in 1999.

But in general, that situation has changed - it has improved. They are safer than before.

Kirkburn said,
Back then we had several nuclear power plant accidents. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Hell, Tokaimura was only in 1999.

But in general, that situation has changed - it has improved. They are safer than before.

And of the 3, only Chernobyl was a real catastrophe, and yes things have gotten much better since

Yet GP drives in huge trucks, and use planes, and produce massive amounts of flyers which all require pollution to be built.

When they go by peddle power and actually come up with viable options we can use today, other than demanding we stop everything then I shall listen.

Soooo, Facebook NOT using coal to power a data centre could not possibly mean that they would end up shifting the load on to another coal power station.

Someone make a Facebook group in support of this!

smooth_criminal1990 said,
Soooo, Facebook NOT using coal to power a data centre could not possibly mean that they would end up shifting the load on to another coal power station.
And? Going from "coal" to "something else, possibly some coal" is still better.

The first part of the video has nothing to do with the point they're trying to make and could even be seen as offensive by Mark Zuckerberg.

Drunken Beard said,
The first part of the video has nothing to do with the point they're trying to make and could even be seen as offensive by Mark Zuckerberg.

I concur. Instead of going to the actual issue, Greenpeace attacked Mark Zukerberg personally, stating that he had no friends at school with no purpose other than to degrade Mark's image.

I cannot get the ridiculous image of a coal powered rack out off my head, with lil blue guys shoveling the coal. Quick more coal in server 4, fb chat is offline again!!!

I think this is a good idea. Surely there are more efficient ways to produce energy and Facebook do have the capital to explore these other ways. Looking after the environment is important.

Pot, Kettle, Black...http://www.facebook.com/greenpeace.international.

"Together we can get facebook.com off coal power! More than 500,000 people have joined our Facebook protest groups since February (links below). Please sign up here to join the campaign, and receive Greenpeace email updates."

Right, so why not use more power by using FB then?!

Of course for the trolls out there, I know using FB is the most effective tool here, but kind of makes me laugh! Its a bit like driving around in a Ferrari shouting USE BIOFUEL out of the window.

woi said,
"Together we can get facebook.com off coal power! More than 500,000 people have joined our Facebook protest groups since February (links below). Please sign up here to join the campaign, and receive Greenpeace email updates."
Well, they can get it off coal power, but what will power it then. Farts?

Even more important question - what is powering their servers?

So, bunch of idealistic morons blabbering about something they have no clue of.

woi said,
Pot, Kettle, Black...http://www.facebook.com/greenpeace.international.

"Together we can get facebook.com off coal power! More than 500,000 people have joined our Facebook protest groups since February (links below). Please sign up here to join the campaign, and receive Greenpeace email updates."

Right, so why not use more power by using FB then?!

Of course for the trolls out there, I know using FB is the most effective tool here, but kind of makes me laugh! Its a bit like driving around in a Ferrari shouting USE BIOFUEL out of the window.

You got to be joking, you are comparing GP acitivity on FB to the construction and operating of a coal plant?

I'm pretty sure a year of GP activity on FB won't generate even a fraction of the pollution from constructing and operating that plant for 24hours.

Beastage said,

You got to be joking, you are comparing GP acitivity on FB to the construction and operating of a coal plant?

I'm pretty sure a year of GP activity on FB won't generate even a fraction of the pollution from constructing and operating that plant for 24hours.

I didn't compare anything! I just said using FB as the means to achieve this is rather funny.

It is irrelevant how much GP being on FB uses. Like I said, its just the fact that they are using it in the first place.

The same would apply to the Ferrari analogy, you could say the fuel used to do that is nothing compared to all the cars not running on more environmentally friendly alternatives! BUT THAT ISN'T THE POINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

woi said,

I didn't compare anything! I just said using FB as the means to achieve this is rather funny.

It is irrelevant how much GP being on FB uses. Like I said, its just the fact that they are using it in the first place.

The same would apply to the Ferrari analogy, you could say the fuel used to do that is nothing compared to all the cars not running on more environmentally friendly alternatives! BUT THAT ISN'T THE POINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caps lock and LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! don't really help your case on this forum, I'd advise switching your tone.

Beastage said,

You got to be joking, you are comparing GP acitivity on FB to the construction and operating of a coal plant?
.

Facebook isn't constructing and operating a coal plant. They're just trying to give that impression using weasley language:

"It's also not quite true that Facebook has 'chosen' coal. As the company points out, it's simply taking the available electricity in its chosen location of Prineville, Oregon. The data center will take its electricity from PacifiCorp, which generates power from hydro, geothermal, wind and coal. So if it's a choice then it's a passive one. However, the question is whether Facebook could be doing more, as an industrial-scale buyer of electricity? Greenpeace argues that it should."
http://www.allfacebook.com/greenpeace-facebook-coal-2010-09

If this goes viral, it would be to make fun of the voice or to overlay funny pictures or something. This is hard to take seriously at all. It's also 2 minutes long and just under half of it isn't related to the point.

I like that they're trying to get a big company to go a greener route, but this ad isn't it. Oh well. Don't give up?

Greenpeace all mouth no action.
Sea shepards ftw.

I thought FB might of done what google did by using renewable energy. Why would they want to use coal? Cheaper ? So much for leading by example!

Gothic_Rebel said,
Greenpeace all mouth no action.
Sea shepards ftw.

I thought FB might of done what google did by using renewable energy. Why would they want to use coal? Cheaper ? So much for leading by example!

I can't wait until all of their crew wind up in a Japanese prison.

Gothic_Rebel said,
Greenpeace all mouth no action.
Sea shepards ftw.

No action? What the hell do you want them to do? Hint : they have no money, except for the donations.

The environment is something that does preoccupy me in this day and age, and no matter what Green Peace does, if it's able to push companies towards environmental goals, that's good for me. Green Peace in 2010, they do have solutions to propose. Back then all they would do was bash and whine, now that wasn't good and that's why they lost all their credibility for a few years.

Bengal34 said,

I can't wait until all of their crew wind up in a Japanese prison.

Pro whaling then?

How is them all being in a Japanese prison a good thing? At the mo their doing more than anyone to stop whaling.

Gothic_Rebel said,

Pro whaling then?

How is them all being in a Japanese prison a good thing? At the mo their doing more than anyone to stop whaling.

I'm anti-pirates, ramming ships, faking hostage taking, just flat out attacking other ships in international waters.

All they are doing is acting like idiots and they are going to get someone killed.

Gothic_Rebel said,

Pro whaling then?

How is them all being in a Japanese prison a good thing? At the mo their doing more than anyone to stop whaling.


Whaling is Legal, you have a pansy problem with that, then take it up with those that made it legal and stop harassing those that are doing their legal jog, legally.

Oh, that's right, Greenpeace and the rest of the "green" crowd are too busy making fake claims to do something useful

z0phi3l said,
Whaling is Legal, you have a pansy problem with that, then take it up with those that made it legal and stop harassing those that are doing their legal jog, legally.

Actually, the Japanese are abusing the legal process by using loopholes in international treaties. And just because something isn't illegal doesn't mean that it should be tolerated.

I don't think that people should take the law into their own hands but I support anything they can do to prevent whaling that is *within the law*.

Get0fix said,
Enjoyed the naration in the video. Get's the point across. Wonder if FB will issue any formal feedback.
Maybe, as someone stated before, they will say, "Why are you using Facebook then?" Because they are only further contributing to the problem, as the more people they attract to the Facebook site, the more power they will need for the servers than they would otherwise...

Sure, it wouldn't be much, but still ;-)

Mr aldo said,
Maybe, as someone stated before, they will say, "Why are you using Facebook then?" Because they are only further contributing to the problem, as the more people they attract to the Facebook site, the more power they will need for the servers than they would otherwise

You're completely missing the point. They're not trying to stop people from using Facebook but trying to get the company to relocate their servers to an area where electricity is provided by more environmentally friendly power sources. I really don't see why that concept is so hard to grasp.

Get0fix said,

Yeah how dare they voice an opinion!

Perhaps, rather than using sarcasm to put across a moot point, you should consider the contradiction in hosting this video on a website that costs millions of dollars to run; most of which, I'm sure, isn't spent on 'green' sources.

dr spock said,

Would they be happier if the data center used nuclear power?

Probably not. Most people can't accept that Nuclear is the only realistic option to generate power in the future.

Examinus said,
Bugger off, Greenpeace.

So I suppose building a coal plant in one of the greenest states of the US sounds good to you?

Beastage said,

So I suppose building a coal plant in one of the greenest states of the US sounds good to you?

I think making a video about it then posting it on YouTube isn't good. Maybe they should start a Facebook group too?

Examinus said,

I think making a video about it then posting it on YouTube isn't good. Maybe they should start a Facebook group too?

They already have a group.

warrior4321 said,

They already have a group.

I think you missed the point. This is one thing in a world of millions of buildings being powered by dirty energy. This one data centre won't account for anything. They need to stop being ****y, and start being pro-nuclear and getting their ass in gear and asking people to switch to that.

At the moment, nuclear is the 'greenest' energy we have, as soon as they accept that they can start becoming a recognised standard movement, rather than a 'radical' one.

John. said,

I think you missed the point. This is one thing in a world of millions of buildings being powered by dirty energy. This one data centre won't account for anything. They need to stop being ****y, and start being pro-nuclear and getting their ass in gear and asking people to switch to that.

At the moment, nuclear is the 'greenest' energy we have, as soon as they accept that they can start becoming a recognised standard movement, rather than a 'radical' one.

Greenpeace's message is becoming increasingly incompatible with current society and people's mindsets. This video won't make people stop using Facebook, at at this time 10 people have already shared it on their account - so far it's just encouraged use. People are commenting that they like the video, they think it's a good idea and hope it works. Do they take account of where Neowin's energy comes from? Do the makers of this video not understand that YouTube probably contributes more to emissions than Facebook?

This whole idea, and their current methods, stink of an organisation that is trying to fit in and failing. They're using outdated philosophies (fight the power!) against modern technologies and a different generation.

Ultimately, they need to bugger off.

Strawman 1: Bringing up nuclear power is a strawman argument. It's irrelevant to whether FB should be using coal, because the choice is not coal versus nuclear power.

Strawman 2: Greenpeace aren't trying to take down Facebook, just get them to not use coal. Trying to complain that Greenpeace are breaking their aim by posting on FB about it, is a strawman because it's not their aim.

Kirkburn said,
Strawman 1: Bringing up nuclear power is a strawman argument. It's irrelevant to whether FB should be using coal, because the choice is not coal versus nuclear power.

Strawman 2: Greenpeace aren't trying to take down Facebook, just get them to not use coal. Trying to complain that Greenpeace are breaking their aim by posting on FB about it, is a strawman because it's not their aim.

Your assertions that these are straw man arguments is a blinkered view. This argument, and Greenpeace's philosophy, extend beyond Facebook and its operators, but to its users and other companies. It raises the issue of realistic ways to generate power and an attempt to change people's mindsets; their methodology is the above, and to claim a discussion is nothing but a misrepresentation is to misunderstand their overall aim and what their entire organisation is about.

Ultimately they aren't doing it properly and their methods are self-defeating. They need to bugger off.

John. said,
At the moment, nuclear is the 'greenest' energy we have, as soon as they accept that they can start becoming a recognised standard movement, rather than a 'radical' one.

The the irony of this is that the original founder of Greenpeace is now pro-nuclear power. He is also anti-Greenpeace.

Examinus said,
Your assertions that these are straw man arguments is a blinkered view.
They're strawman in the context of this article, which is what the comments were about. Going into a big debate about Greenpeace in general here is foolish, especially when you apply opinions to them that were never stated.

I don't see how it was self-defeating. This video is just encouraging Fb to not use coal, which is hardly earth shattering or confusing.

Kirkburn said,
They're strawman in the context of this article, which is what the comments were about. Going into a big debate about Greenpeace in general here is foolish, especially when you apply opinions to them that were never stated.

I don't see how it was self-defeating. This video is just encouraging Fb to not use coal, which is hardly earth shattering or confusing.

How short-sighted.