November 22, 2010

Coal Powered Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook. His Facebook profile doesn’t list his relationship status, but if it did, it might say “in a relationship with Coal”.


Everyone has had a friend in a destructive relationship — a relationship that you just know is going to hurt your friend in the long run, and which also hurts others around him. Mark Zuckerberg and his company certainly have an electric relationship with coal power, but we can see that it just isn’t sustainable.





The affair began in January, when Zuckerberg announced that he would build a data center in Prineville, Oregon, choosing coal to power it. Then he announced that he would double the size of the storage facility, also doubling his dependence on coal despite its well earned dirty reputation.


It was Zuckerberg’s decision to take the plunge with coal, rather than weigh other attractive options like wind or solar, that drove us to begin an intervention. In a letter to Zuckerberg on September 1st, Greenpeace’s Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, expressed his concern:


No global business leader, particularly not one who reaches so many people daily, could deny that in this time it is both a threat to a company’s reputation and financial health risk to ignore their company’s environmental impacts.
Half-a-million Facebook friends also tried to steer Zuckerberg in a healthier direction, suggesting he seek some renewable energy and look for places that have an abundance of fresh, sustainable options. Coal may be a cheap date right now, but over time it will pose a financial risk to his company and create a terrible environment for the rest of us.


Unfortunately, Facebook’s response indicates that Zuckerberg is still afraid of commitment.


We want to see Facebook thrive. And we want to make sure that the rest of us don’t suffer from the company’s bad choices. This video is another attempt to help Facebook face reality: coal is going to cause us all pain. It’s time to end the relationship.


If you want Facebook to have a healthy, sustainable relationship with renewable energy, pass the video around to others. With your help, we can get Facebook to change its relationship status with coal.


This is a reprinted post from Daniel Kessler, Communications Manager of Greenpeace International
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