How the Tech World Celebrated Earth Day 2011

A day dedicated to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment, Earth Day was observed last Friday.  It was a big one for individuals, organizations and companies alike, especially in the cloud space. The manner of celebration might be different but it’s pointed to the same cause.

Starting off with Facebook; aside from opening its new energy-efficient data center, Facebook also launched a “Billion Acts of Green” app that allows users to do whichever environmental friendly action on the list that they want to do, such as writing a letter to Congress to support green legislation, and taking public transit at least once a week.  I’m not sure though if this is enough to shake off the stubborn Greenpeace, for just a few days ago, it reached another milestone of 69,000 comments on a single post at its Unfriend Coal Facebook page within a 24-hour period.  The post contains strong opposition against Facebook’s new data center that which is powered by coal. And despite all the efforts, Facebook was still branded as one of the two “Least Green” tech companies along with Apple.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is broadcasting its efforts in reducing its energy consumption which includes a new modular data center designs and cutting back the power of non-computing uses from 50 percent to less than 10. IBM’s also publicized that it has been recycling IT equipment and gears for decades now via Global Assets Recovery Service.  They refurbish and resell, or disassemble, sell and recycle the parts that’s about 1.3 million pounds-worth of IT gear on a weekly basis. Dell is recycling as well, currently diverting some 150 million pound of electronics in its 2011 fiscal year. It actually pledged to recycle 1 billion pounds of e-waste by 2014 and it’s already two-thirds way there.

In the mobile arena, Sprint launched an eco-friendly phone, the Replenish, which the company claims to be made out of recycled materials. They integrated Green ID set of applications for Android users which feeds out green-themed news and recycling tips. Verizon’s also doing its share, boasting 85 stores which have won Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Certification and 20 cell site that are solar powered.  Also, Patagonia, an outdoor clothing is encouraging everybody to buy specific song on iTunes and 60 percent of the music sales will be donated to environmental organizations such as Rainforest Action Network and Earthjustice. Starbucks is also taking part by giving customers who bring their own mug a cup of coffee, by filling their own mugs of course, to save on paper cups, while Radioshack is encouraging people to trade their old devices to for a discount on new ones. Both Starbucks and Radioshack had been promoted on Facebook for a week.

Detailed in this infographic are the effects of internet usage on the environment. For most parts, it says bad, but I love the internet so it might not be so bad after all. The world’s just not the same without it.