Here’s to Apple: iPad keeps its greener promise

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The mis­fits. The rebels. The trou­ble­mak­ers.”

I always saw Green­peace as fit­ting nice­ly into that old “Think Dif­fer­ent” Apple ad. So in the ear­ly days of the “Green my Apple” cam­paign, when the com­pa­ny was (gen­tly, lov­ing­ly) lam­bast­ed for the num­ber of tox­ic chem­i­cals in its prod­ucts, I was dis­ap­point­ed at how Indif­fer­ent and Undif­fer­ent they were think­ing. Steve went bal­lis­tic at a taste of his own med­i­cine. He dug in.

But he had a prob­lem. Because we weren’t actu­al­ly talk­ing to him — we were talk­ing to his cus­tomer base. He could afford to ignore Green­peace. But his cus­tomers? To them he has to lis­ten. And when we said “We love our mac. We just wish it came in green” we were speak­ing with their voice, and they liked what they heard. In the best Lao Tzu style, we won with­out ever going to war, when the words “A green­er Apple” appeared on, link­ing to a pol­i­cy which deliv­ered on near­ly all of our demands.

But this mon­th, Apple showed its true col­ors as a rene­gade by lead­ing the pack in Greenpeace’s Guide to Green­er Elec­tron­ics in the num­ber one slot, and the launch of the iPad kept Apple true to their green word: it’s PVC, BFR, arsenic and mer­cury free. Which means that if it ends up in India or Chi­na or Africa at the end of its life­cy­cle, to be cooked apart by 12 year old scav­engers recov­er­ing pre­cious met­als or com­po­nents, it won’t be poi­son­ing them. The world is mea­sur­ably bet­ter for this. And by green­ing Apple, Jobs is help­ing green the whole elec­tron­ics indus­try.

But there’s more to be done. The green iPad shouldn’t be oper­at­ing in a brown cloud. It shouldn’t be pow­ered by dead dinosaurs. It shouldn’t be run­ning its thin, sleek screen on elec­tric­i­ty with a fat flat­u­lent car­bon foot­print. Apple has the pow­er to change minds, to change the world, and they should use it more to ensure that the cloud com­put­ing sec­tor, our servers, our infra­struc­ture, that inter­net that you’re hold­ing in your hands when you hold an iPad is pow­ered by green ener­gy. When Apple walked out of the US Cham­ber of Com­merce over dis­agree­ments about the Chamber’s stance on glob­al warm­ing, they were show­ing the kind of lead­er­ship we all need. Keep it up, Apple. Be that rene­gade, that ener­gy rev­o­lu­tion­ary, that crazy force which refus­es to accept the world as it is, but demands it to live up to a per­son­al vision of what it could be. 

Because the world needs those rebels now. It needs the rene­gades who won’t accept an unac­cept­able sta­tus quo, and who push the human race for­ward.

Take it fur­ther, Apple. Kick it up a notch. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the only ones who do.

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