Sunday, 12 August 2012

Day 33: Amazon, Coal Powered Data Servers? Really?

Did you know: If you used a web service like Netflix, Pinterest, Dropbox or Instagram today, you were routed through Amazon’s cloud platform? (source)

A recent study estimated that one third of all daily internet users will access an Amazon cloud site on average at least once a day; Greenpeace believes 64% of Amazon's electricity comes from coal.

But, as Greenpeace says: 

There’s hope! The tech industry is led by a few very large companies who can choose to quit the coal habit. Thanks to you [people supporting Greenpeace campaigns], Facebook already has. So we're kicking off a campaign to see Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple — three of the largest owners of data centres in the world — make the switch."

 The Letter

To: Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO

Amazon is known for its fun culture and great customer service. But there is one area that it is seriously harming its customers. The coal-fired power plants that energize your giant data centers are one of the world’s top sources of airborne carcinogens and greenhouse gases.

You’ve probably seen the Greenpeace International report confirming just how much coal is being burned to keep all those servers online. It casts quite a cloud over all that IT innovation, but the facts are easy to see: Our data is downright dirty.

But you have an opportunity to clear things up, leading us toward the realization of IT that is powered by the sun and the wind, not dirty coal. Here’s what you can do to make it happen:

 - Make it company policy to seek renewable energy when siting your data centres.
 - Urge your electricity suppliers to move away from dirty energy
generation, investing instead in renewable energy generation, capacity, and efficiency.
- Advocate full transparency of your energy use and carbon footprint for all products, as well as your cloud presence.
- Encourage your product suppliers and manufacturers to adopt similar policies, and give preferences to green suppliers

As an environmentally aware digital citizen, I'm asking you to help us all breathe a little easier by working with Greenpeace to create a world where data centres powered by dirty coal are a thing of the past. Along with being the source of so many IT breakthroughs, you'll literally give us all a breath of fresh air.

Sent to:
The problem with web-based companies is they are less likely to provide a snail mail address for customer comments.

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