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All that glitters is not gold

by on09 March 2008


An eco friendly, tree hugging rant

If you
followed our CeBIT coverage closely, you probably noticed those green tagged stories about companies, ideas and technologies meant to provide us with a safe, cozy and healthy environment for the years to come. We respect you, our dear readers, who have stuck with us for the past year and made Fudzilla what it is today. We trust that you're perfectly capable of seeing through the vast amounts of greenish rubbish thrown at you during the show by the creme de la creme of IT's PR spin doctors.

For some people, the notion that these huge multi-national conglomerates actually care about anything other than their profits is pleasant,  reassuring. Akin to religion, an unsubstantiated belief that the powers to be are guided by some noble, altruistic cause and that we really needn't worry about anything ourselves, knowing that things will, eventually, work out. Somehow. This, unfortunately, is utter and complete nonsense.

Of course, the only thing pushing this hypocritical "green" trend is profit, we all know that. The prols want green, so let's give it to them. They want to feel good about themselves while spending their hard earned cash on a useless plastic gadget which is actually no better than the one they already had. You might think that there's nothing wrong with this, after all, the consumers are forcing the companies to think green and sell green. Not that they mind; ecology is an excellent marketing tool nowadays. Well, this concept is flawed, and this is a huge understatement.

Marketing is not meant to be sincere, honest, moral. It's not meant to be real. Hence, there's really no need for IT to be genuinely green. It's sufficient to make the public believe that something is being done about the issue and we all know the corporate world is great at making the public believe just about anything. Presto, we get our caring, tree hugging, whale-loving corporations. But you can't blame them, oh no. After all, they're just doing what we ask of them. Since our own concern about the environment is disingenuous there's really no need for them to be any better, is there? Hypocrisy only breeds hypocrisy and we end up with what we have today: a public hungry for eco-friendly products and corporations more than happy to oblige. Either way, we, the consumers, are to blame.

Let's be honest: you don't really want a dull, power efficient computer, or a slow, lame-looking car, now do you? Of course not, you want the best and most powerful hardware you can afford. It's up to the companies to convince you that the high-end stuff you're buying is actually power efficient and green: 55nm, 45nm, the latest in power saving technology etc. After going through the Goebbels-style PR you could easily end up thinking that your new computer (or car) runs on love, good will and daisies, emitting pure oxygen and mountain spring water in the process. However, in order to work, that same green computer of yours needs a 1000W PSU. Sounds a bit odd, doesn't it ? Well, not really. You're just getting what you bargained for: a quasi-green computer that sucks up as much power as an average Third World household and it's cooled by a few pounds of eco friendly aluminum and copper. Once you're done with it, all those cute, hard to spell chemical compounds will probably end up in a landfill near you.

The only thing green about today's tech industry is the fact that major companies have outsourced their production to Third World countries. By paying the workers peanuts they're doing their part indirectly. The impoverished people making the hardware we use on a daily basis can't afford gas guzzling cars, huge homes, heated pools, air conditioning, or the latest in "green" computers and gadgets. They simply can't afford to be mindless, selfish consumers like us, at least not yet. Thank God for that.
Last modified on 10 March 2008
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