Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Greenwashing the Valley

Well it seems everyone is jumping on the environmental bandwagon now. If it just “greenwashing” marketing, then I think it is a pretty lousy ploy just to get green-brownie points with the general pubic. If, however, it represents an actual shift in the way a company looks at its products and its environmental footprint, then I’m all for it.

I saw a Sun Microsystems billboard on the 101 touting its “green” servers and on their website they talk about different pieces of gear sunning cooler and using significantly less power. Making things not just faster or with more capacity, but cooler and more energy efficient is a huge opportunity for Silicon Valley.

I hear a lot about “tele-commuting” and how that is taking cars off the road, and is therefore an example of how Silicon Valley is helping the world live a greener life. I suppose there is some truth to that, but I don’t put a lot of value in “tele-commuting” as conservation practice. When people tele-commute, it just means they are out of the office, not necessarily off the road. And I suspect the actually people who stay at home (ie, who are really off the road) really has a less then minute impact on traffic/smog/road rage etc. Until I start seeing serious double digit percentage of people going off the road and staying off the road because of tele-commuting, I’m just going to put as much faith in that as a conservation initiative as I will in a Cheney energy bill.

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