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Sour Apple (My Computer’s Not Getting Any Greener)

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Greenpeace’s Green My Apple campaign is continuing to roil the digital waters. At least where its target is concerned.

As reported in the most recent edition of Rachel's Precaution Reporter, Greenpeace's high profile 'Green my Apple' booth at the Mac Expo was shut-down at the start of the event. Organizers of the Mac Expo claimed they had received complaints from “unnamed sources” about the display.

As a Greenpeace board member and lifelong Apple user I’m sad if not angry at Apple’s heavy-handed treatment of Greenpeace campaigners who are attempting to raise awareness of Apple’s poor environmental design standards.

This unwillingness to engage in dialogue, this unwillingness to tolerate criticism is the exact opposite of what corporate responsibility is about. And the use of huge corporate resources and connections to silence those who are challenging business to do better is a terrible example for such an innovative company to set.

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Another Couple of Bytes of the Worm in the Apple

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Author: the Inkslinger

I’ve been reflecting on the new Greenpeace Greener Apple Campaign. I don’t own an Apple. (For reasons relating to the various universes in which I travel, I’ve had to suck it up and become a Microsoft man.) But I certainly own a computer. This is being written on a Dell 8400 that’s the repository for everything from the music I love to very nearly every word I’ve ever written. It’s not an Apple but it’s still fast, efficient, and just plain fun to use. Imagining life without it is like trying to picture life without an arm or a leg. Yeah, I could do it. But I sure wouldn’t want to have to try.

So the news that computers are filled with all kinds of things that aren’t good for people or the planet is disturbing. Of course, I’ve known for awhile that the high tech situation isn’t good. What’s distressing about the recent Greenpeace report is the fact that things have not improved as fast as they should have in the years that people have been talking about issues like e-waste and toxic components.

I came across this well-reasoned post on the Temas Blog that offers some valid criticisms of the Greenpeace greener electronics report card. Greenpeace’s heart is in the right place, but its methodology needs improvement and it focuses on certain aspects of computer toxicology at the expense of others it largely ignores. Plus, it’s picking on Apple while other makers actually get lower grades, and that doesn’t seem fair. Rather than point fingers, I’d encourage computer makers to get down to work and fix the problem. Based on our own experiences working to detox some pretty ugly consumer products, here’s some advice:

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A Greener Apple

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Everyday as I read through the news, I'm committed to not let it get me down. And as you know… that ain’t easy. Well, it just got a lot harder.

The only computer I’ve ever owned in my life is an Apple. When our IT department told the company that everyone would be using PC’s, I said, "Great, but not me." When Apple came out with their first lap top, a suitcase sized device, I was one of the first to buy it. My 12 inch PowerBook G4 is an extension of me. It’s always by my side or in my backpack. Wherever I go, whatever I do, it’s right there. This blog post has been written on it as have four books, millions of emails, and who knows how many memos.

But right now my fingers hesitate to touch the keys. I’m ashamed and embarrassed. Steve Jobs, please save me. Do something. Green my Apple!
Greenpeace, an organization I proudly serve as a board member just launched a campaign to let the world know that my Apple (and everyone else’s) contains hazardous substances that other companies have abandoned. Needless to say, for a variety of reasons, this is extremely distressing news to me. The toxic materials inside my Mac are cutting lives short by exposing children to dangerous chemicals in China and India, the two countries most of our so-called "e-wastes" usually end up.

Greenpeace is demanding that Apple “Remove the worst toxic chemicals from all their products and production lines” and “offer and promote free "take-back" for all their products everywhere they are sold.”

Come on, Steve. Please do something!

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