Southern California environment news and trends

Apple reinstates green certification after public outcry

A view of the main entrance to Apple Inc.

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

A view of the main entrance to Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California on March 11, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes, the people really do have the power.

It was just two days ago when we reported that computer company Apple had yanked 39 products from EPEAT, a government regulated global registry of environmentally friendlier products that Apple helped establish.

Fallout from the move was swift, with a public outcry that included Greenpeace and the city of San Francisco, which announced it would no longer purchase Apple products due to the voluntary decertification.

As reported by Yahoo News, the backlash was loud enough that Apple has done an about-face, announcing today that as many products as possible would be returned to the EPEAT registry.

“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT,” said Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering in a public statement.


Apple drops green standard, loses business in San Francisco

Courtesy of Apple

Apple's newest MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

In a somewhat surprising move, digital giant Apple last week pulled 39 of the company’s desktop computers, laptops and monitors from EPEAT, a global registry of environmentally-friendlier products regulated by the government and in part created by Apple.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, EPEAT is federally funded by the EPA and a group of manufacturers, and “awards products a seal to certify they are recyclable and designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental harm.”

“They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” said Rob Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT to the Journal. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore.”

The move comes close on the recent announcement of Apple’s most recent MacBook Pro with retina display, which comes with the battery pack glued to the machine among other features that make the model extremely difficult to repair.


Radiohead and Jude Law unite in pro-Arctic Greenpeace video

Greenpeace continues to turn up the heat on their “Save The Arctic” campaign, this time with a melancholy new video featuring the music of Radiohead (fan favorite “Everything In Its Right Place”), a voiceover from Jude Law and one very sad polar bear, lost on the streets of London.

“As the Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears are being forced to go far beyond their normal habitat to find food and look after their young. This film is a powerful expression of how our fates are intertwined, because climate change is affecting all of us no matter where we live,” said Jude Law in a Greenpeace statement. “Right now a handful of oil companies are trying to carve up the Arctic for the sake of their next quarterly results but a global movement is growing to stop them. I stand with hundreds of thousands of others who think the area should be made into a sanctuary, protected from corporate greed for good.”


Greenpeace launches star-studded campaign to save the Arctic

Sir Paul McCartney, Livia Firth, Jack White, Bianca Jagger, Richard Branson and Radiohead are among the 100 notable names that have teamed with Greenpeace to launch new global campaign, Save the Arctic. The goal of the initiative is to protect the high Arctic from unsustainable fishing and oil drilling, calling for the area to be legally protected by the United Nations. This move comes at a time when the Shell oil company is actually getting ready to begin exploratory drilling in Alaska.

"The Arctic is one of the most beautiful and last untouched regions on our planet, but now it's under threat,” said Sir Paul McCartney in a Greenpeace press release. “Some countries and companies want to open it up to oil drilling and industrial fishing and do to the Arctic what they've done to the rest of our fragile planet. It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels to give our children a future. At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic."


Greenpeace viral video spoof: the new school of environmental protest

As reported by the L.A. Times, when a slickly produced video (above) that purportedly showed a Royal Dutch Shell event going horribly wrong ignited a media firestorm last week, it heralded the latest weapon environmentalists are using to protest their corporate targets: social media.

The video, which depicts a woman being doused in Diet Coke from a malfunctioning ice sculpture bearing the Shell corporate logo, was realistic enough that some media outlets, including Gizmodo, were compelled to report on it as though it actually happened.

The Funny or Die-style parody produced by Greenpeace in conjunction with anti-corporate activists the Yes Men was in response to a very serious preliminary injunction recently issued by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason after Shell filed a series of motions looking to keep Greenpeace away from two Arctic drilling sites. With the injunction, potential protestors who stray within a kilometer of either site or half a kilometer of any accompanying Shell vessel would face serious federal penalties, far beyond the usual trespassing charges.