Thursday, July 25, 2013

Amazon Sized Dirty Energy Runs Their Servers

How green is your data?

I've asked that question before in previous posts, and it appears we're getting closer to more people more frequently asking that question.  Some people are already asking how green is your home electricity, which is a good thing to ask. 

In this case, it all comes down to how the electricity is generated that runs the servers at the company in question -- the servers that keep your Facebook profile or your Gmail inbox or your Amazon account.   It takes power to run those massive databases that house those servers that hold so much online information.

We are talking about one database sucking up enough electricity to run a city of 120,000 people.  They vary in size but one thing is for sure:  there will be more databases thirsty for still more juice.

None of the major Internet companies -- Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple -- are running their databases on 100% renewable energy like wind or solar.

However, it turns out that the company named after one of the most biodiverse and beautiful carbon sinks on Earth -- Amazon -- carries the biggest smudge as many of its databases are coal-fired.  Interestingly and perhaps a little off-putting, the company is mum on their clean energy future, according to Fast Company.

"It’s not clear why Amazon won’t talk about its renewable energy goals--perhaps because it doesn’t really have any," wonders Ariel Schwartz in Fast Company

As a happy Amazon customer, I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt.  But not for too long.

One tiny customer like me will not be missed but as more and more people start asking that important question -- how green is your data? -- Amazon may find themselves losing money and brand value in a way they never imagined.

I'm hoping it will not come to that because the sooner we move to a clean energy economy the better it will be for all people and for all other living things on this planet.

Thanks Greenpeace for once again keeping watch.

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