Facebook vs. Greenpeace: Data Center Hypocrisy
The two bickering companies are taking things to new levels in their disagreement about Facebook’s construction of a data center in Oregon which will be using environmentally-unfriendly coal for a lot of its energy.
Apparently this week Greenpeace addressed a letter to Facebook’s CEO insisting that Facebook take responsibility for what’s going on and work on the problem. As I’ve commented before, as such a popular, ubiquitous, and therefore influential modern institution, Facebook really does have a responsibility to set an example for other companies and keep standards high. It’s pretty shocking that this is an image they’re okay with presenting.
Facebook fought back this time with a bit of research into Greenpeace’s clean energy credentials, to see if they’re throwing stones from glass houses, and discovered that one of their facilities is also unusually high on coal use.
At first glance this does seem scandalous. But then I remembered that the bad behavior of others doesn’t authorize more bad behavior. Greenpeace should be more careful, but their screw-up doesn’t mean it’s okay for everyone else to do the same. That they’re acting as a watchdog on this issue puts them in a vulnerable position, but whether or not they are unassailably green, everyone still has a responsibility to take care of the planet.
Facebook’s retaliation is a little immature and not very far-sighted. The clear answer is that everyone needs to strive to protect the environment and prevent exacerbation of climate change and depletion of natural resources – not bicker and try to excuse themselves.
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