Thursday, March 01, 2007

Apple Gore

Okay, it's pushing it for a title, but hopefully by the end of this post it will make more sense.

In the recent months, there has not been a hotter topic than green. To loosely quote Nigel Tufnel, "It's like, how much more green could this be? and the answer is none. None more green." Every mention in politics is spotted with the politician in question addressing the environmental concerns of their constituency and making plans to address them in an effort to not only save face politically but also to do the right thing.

There is one man that has made this issue buzzworthy and made it easier for us to be green. There is also one organization that has made it its legacy to leave the world a better place than when it arrived, whether by saving the whales, or through their greenmyapple campaign, meant to convince Apple to incorporate more green practices into their clean designs.

It was hard for me to swallow, being a big Apple fan myself, I just assumed that their business practices were as clean as their interface. I suppose that's what releasing white laptops with bright blue screens will do for you. A friend stumbled across the greenmyapple site, created with tongue firmly wedged in cheek by Greenpeace. The site design itself is based on the apple.com website interface with navigation interesting enough to grab your attention and drive their point home. This is a poignant view from the eyes of Greenpeace.

One of the main navigational elements, iPoison & iWaste, draws attention to the toxic chemical levels of major product lines, as well as the disposal and recycling practices of Apple, which, it turns out, have placed Apple squarely at the bottom of the list in the Guide to Greener Electronics. Many other major computer manufacturers, including Dell and HP have agreed to the implementation of a recycling program that includes the company taking the product back.

As for the toxic chemical levels, other companies have set a date to remove chemicals like PVC from their products, but Apple still has yet to set that date. And what this means for the environment is that there will be more toxic pollution when the products are produced as well as when they are thrown away, especially without a product return practice in place where the disposal method can be more environmentally friendly. Currently, product lines like the iPod nano and MacBook still contain PVC.

Greenpeace go on to make a lot of great points about moving the Apple organization forward, and thank goodness also for Al Gore who has made green living a more top-of-mind practice for all of us. But since I've seen this website, something has kind of been rubbing me the wrong way. One of the things i remember about watching An Inconvenient Truth this past year, amongst the staggering statistics about what a world sized pickle mankind has gotten itself into, is that throughout the movie Al Gore is prominently using a mac.

And I only say prominently because I remember seeing the apple logo on the back of his laptop numerous times, and I'm not sure what to make of this. My thoughts are that this was either a cunning marketing effort by Apple, making it possible for Al Gore to have made this film through sponsorship and product placement dollars, and being able to associate themselves with the wave of green without having to practice it themselves. Or it could be the ignorance* of Al Gore to Apple's stance on greener business practices or simply his preference to use a mac.

We don't expect the man to be riding a bicycle from state to state, carting his laptop made of wood to each presentation. Where we are on the scale from sleeping on and eating grass to where North America is right now is up to us. If a Mac laptop is Al Gore's preference, then, really I can't blame him, I prefer one as well, but when the time comes for me to buy my next computer, I will certainly be looking into the dialog between greenmyapple and Apple itself to see if Apple has admitted that it needs to clean up its act.

If the reason that he uses an Apple is because he is simply unaware, then Apple may have one of the more prominent figures in North America leaning on them to go green. And if this really is the case, i urge you to contact the makers of An Inconvenient Truth here.

If the reason that the mac was shown so prominently throughout the movie is because of a sponsorship or product placement deal, then it concerns me, but I am also very glad for the world that this movie has been made, so really, I can't be that upset. But when more people like myself start to put 2 and 2 together, it may come back to bite Apple.

* When i say Al Gore's ignorance, it is not at all that i believe he is a stupid individual, I simply mean that one person cannot know everything about everything, we are all ignorant to many things.

1 comment:

Suseela Susiee said...


What an awesome post, I just read it from start to end. Learned something new after a long time.


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