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Dear Greenpeace

Some weeks ago Greenpeace publicly denounced Facebook for wanting to use dirty coal electricity for running its computers, rather than clean nice electricity. I have never noticed a difference, electricity is electricity !

The problem is that when a company make a blanket statement that they are “Green” it is of little value. Years ago I saw a statement written in a 1950s chemistry book which made a statement that DDT is safe. These soundbite statements are of little value, the DDT statement has a little more value than the hypothetical green statement as the book explained that DDT was much less toxic than the existing pesticides which it replaced (Lead and arsenic). So rather than just accepting that Greenpeace is green, lets ask them to take the lid off the box and take a look inside. Sadly Greenpeace have not chosen to answer my question, so I think it is reasonable that you can see the questions I put to them.

If you are a Greenpeace member then please do not misunderstand me, I am not some evil monster antigreen chemist on a mission to pollute, despoil and destroy. I am a man who likes to live in an unpolluted environment who also wants his fellow humans to enjoy clean air, clean water, uncontaminated soil and a healthy environment. I would strongly urge you to ask Greenpeace to be open about their own environmental impact.

I wrote to Greenpeace but sadly they have not been able to write back to me yet, so here is a copy of the letter which I wrote to them.

Dear Greenpeace,

I recently discovered that Greenpeace has criticized Facebook for planning to use electric power from a company which uses a lot of coal (http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2010/02/20/facebooks-response-to-greenpeace/)

What I would like to know is how open is Greenpeace willing to be about its use of energy and materials. I am sure that Greenpeace will understand that being transparent that it will be more able to win respect and lead by example.

What I would like is for Greenpeace to give details of how much electric power they use for running their office and web sites. This includes electric power bought directly by Greenpeace and that bought by their subcontractors. Also I would like to know from which power companies it was purchased.

In addition I would like to know details of all the items which Greenpeace have purchased or otherwise acquired. I see little point in a company stating that they are not using oil or coal, as they could be using plenty of gas.

What sort of fuel do the engines of the rainbow warrior run on, is it the most green fuel possible for the boat ? I am sure that Greenpeace know that some fuels are more dangerous to the environment than others, for example a spill of fatty acid methyl ester diesel fuel is far less dangerous to the environment than a spill of normal diesel made out of crude oil. So I feel that this is an important question.

I would dearly like to know also about how Greenpeace deals with its waste management, are they being greener than green when they dispose of their waste.

Rather than just having a blanket statement from Greenpeace which says that they are being green, I would like then to release the data for examination by university academics and maybe also the concerned citizen. The problem with the blanket statement is that it reminds me too much of the statements made by industrial companies about how their products are “safe”. I imagine that years ago such soundbite statements were made suggesting that PCB and DDT were “safe”.

While a short statement like “it is safe” might be nice, unless people are willing to show the reasoning and data which leads to a statement then it is of little value.

yours sincerely



2 Responses

  1. I agree with your questioning of Greenpeace. The word green has become like baseball, hot dogs, chevrolet and apple pie in the USA. Similar to save the children as an excuse to oppose anything one differs with.

    • Thanks Jim for your thoughts, I am a little fearful when people or organisations claim to be “Green”. Some form of measurement is needed to allow a rational judgement of what is “green” or at least “greeener”.

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