It seems a little much.
Social networking giant Facebook has been taking heat from enviros recently for its decision to site a massive new data center in Prineville, Ore. The issue? Pacific Power, the utility that serves Prineville,gets most of its power from coal, the enemy of the human race. Greenpeace International has started a Facebook group opposing the move.
But as Roberts points out, it’s the movement of the societal norm needle against/away from coal that’s the key here. Coal sucks and is doing some very terrible, long term damage the longer we use it. But we have quite a lot of it and it’s cheap – the perfect storm for planetary self-extortion. We’d like to change but we can’t afford to. We hedge about its effects on the future as a way of making ourselves feel better, but this ploy does absolutely nothing for long term self-preservation. It’s not a ploy in that direction at all, but a psychological ameliorative. Until somebody does something.
Big manufacturers can’t envision a way to replace the trainloads of coal flowing into their plants each day, so they do nothing. The government hasn’t found the courage to begin to discourage coal usage and/or incentivize clean energy on a grand scale. So what to do? One thing: you might begin to castigate, ridicule and generally create negative PR buzz on the coal front for the entities who are effected by such things. It’s weak, I’ll admit. But we already make all kinds of small decisions like this that re-enforce the status quo on energy consumption, and there are and will be that many more that will have to be reckoned with – or ignored on the basis that nothing can be done – to begin to effect change.
If it’s going to happen.