Huffpost Green
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kevin Grandia Headshot

Love the Tech, but the Cloud Needs Some Cleaning

Posted: Updated:

A report released today by Greenpeace International finds that major tech companies Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are burning vast amounts of polluting coal to power their data "clouds."

So what is the cloud? It is actually big giant buildings with a huge number of machines that store all of our data -- our music, email, family photos, videos etc.

These data centers require a huge amount of electricity; in fact if data clouds were a country, they would be the 5th largest electricity consumer in the world. While the tech they are running is cutting edge, they rely on coal power, which is the top source of global warming pollution in the US, and nasty things like mercury.

Whether it is Angry Birds, iTunes or even buying door hinges on Amazon, the internet and the virtual "cloud" that runs much of it has rewired the way many of us live. Heck, as someone who spends his days online as a professional, I am immersed in the cloud. But there is an irony here in that these technologies that are evolving and advancing the human race are also using an outdated energy source dating back to Charles Dickens' 19th century London.

With the money and intelligence behind these companies, I see them as potential leaders in renewable energy, powering their centers with big, beautiful wind turbines and vast fields of solar panels. Clean and unlimited power running the world's coolest and smartest companies.

Check out these tongue-in-cheek videos we've produced for the campaign and tell Apple, Microsoft and Amazon to clean our cloud:

From Our Partners