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Originally published May 26 2010

Facebook's green data center powered by dirty coal

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The popular social networking site Facebook recently announced that its new data center in Prineville, Oregon, is "among the greenest in the industry", despite the fact that the energy company which is providing power to the facility is fueled primarily by coal. Upon hearing the news, several groups, including and Greenpeace, have begun hurling a firestorm of criticism against the company for allegedly deceiving the public.

Coal is one of the dirtiest, most destructive fossil fuels in the world. The burning of it to produce energy is responsible for polluting the air and causing acid rain, releasing toxic heavy metals into the environment, and tainting soil and water supplies. Coal mining operations are also destructive to the land and environment around them, especially if not properly remediated.

Trends have been moving away from dirty fuel sources towards clean, renewable energies like solar and wind power. Facebook, however, has decided not only to contract with a company that derives most of its energy from coal, but also to market the operation as "green". The decision is both irresponsible and dishonest.

Yet millions of people from all walks of life utilize Facebook to network, buy and sell products, promote their businesses, and keep in touch with friends and colleagues. While some people are upset about what Facebook is doing, few will actually do anything about it. After all, why bite the hand that feeds you?

As far as social networking sites go, Facebook is arguably the most popular and most widely used. If someone has a problem with Facebook's corporate policy, there are few alternatives. So, most people will simply bite the bullet and carry on with their lives no matter how many bad decisions the company makes.

Regardless of how one feels about the source of energy for Facebook's data center, corporations are increasingly taking hold of people's lives as they monopolize and control key pieces of the economy and life. Everyone relies on their mobile phones, televisions, internet connections, credit cards, gas stations and fast food joints, which are all generally dominated by only a few big corporations. If those corporations make despicable decisions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to simply boycott them.

If people feel strongly enough to make any sort of positive change, they will have to be willing to make significant sacrifices which may disrupt the type of lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. And to those who are deeply upset about Facebook's latest announcement: you may just have to deacivate your account.

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