Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bedfellows and Bandits ala Greenpeace

Well, it's happened. Greenpeace's half-baked, self-designed, debate-structuring survey, report card thingy has hit the airwaves. The big loser is, of course, the most known brand that is closest to the bottom - Apple. Heres a few good bashing stories - Greenpeace slams Apple, Greenpeace, Apple clash over toxic waste, and Eco-Nokia and Eco-Dell win against a Bad Apple.

My first supervisor, a great guy, often talked about a community organizer name Saul Alinsky. Saul thought there were three kinds of power - structure the debate, control the process, and reward/punish. Obviously Greenpeace is going with the first one, structure the debate, by composing their own list of critieria and then selecting a few companies to compare them to.

I for one do not see the point or purpose to this type of selective study. The critieria list is horribly incomplete, and borders on trendy. For example, where is lead on the list, arguably one of the most certifiable compounds related to human toxicity? Instead we have PVC and brominated flame retardants. Where are the other huge players in the field - Cisco, Phillips, Quanta, etc? Too smart or non-recognizable to be included, I'm sure. Those marketing guys over at Lenovo must be having a party, having invented a name that no one really can relate to computing. Lenovo? Who are they? And Motorola, second supposed worst, almost no press coverage directly at them (but credit is due to PCWorld, who probably has the most objective coverage.)

The biggest crime committed here is the list itself. It comes right out of grammar school, a ranking of the big, bigger, and biggest losers (for no company made it much past seven on the scale) that concentrates on their negative qualities, qualities that are artifically generated based on faulty critieria created by a self-imposed authority. Just like High School Football, where the loony alcoholic coach screams that the kids suck until they beat Big Bad High, Greenpeace has appointed themselves as the freaky dictator of the green computing world. It's boring, it's forty years out of date, and it accomplishes little.

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