* Posts by Grant P.

2 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Greenpeace slams next-gen consoles

Grant P.


Hi there again. 1st, let me apologize: I've been trying to keep a fairly neutral voice in this matter but I can no longer do so. Why? Read on.

Did anyone bother to go to the Greenpeace site and watch their really short, albeit fairly lame, video or look around the website before insulting them? Did you read the message at the end of it? No? Well, it states: "Jump in... Tell your game console company Wii would like to live and play in a toxic free world." Should say toxin free world, and the Wii joke was god-awful, but close enough I guess... that's besides my point, which is this: those of you who are whining about GP, suggesting they do things like, "...issue a public health warning against any form of fun." Well I am sorry (for you), but you're pretty darn stupid. Did GP say STOP PLAYING? NO. Did they tell you to get rid of your consoles, or to stop playing them because of the enviro impact? Again, NO. Are they against all forms of fun & entertainment, as many of you seem to believe? NO! Their message is simple and concise: Gaming is fun, but the companies who make consoles should be more responsible by seeking out non-toxic alternatives to lead, et al; if you agree, then tell said companies how you feel! That's it! That's all! They're not trying to stop you from having or buying or using consoles, they're just trying to lessen their environmental impact when they are INEVITABLY thrown away: think about it- every single console in history becomes obsolete, and most get tossed; out with the old, in with the new (& more expensive). Given that nearly every one of these consoles will eventually find its way into a landfill or something, wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure that they're not going to be leaching out poison for you and your children and their children...X500 to enjoy??

I usually try to avoid taking sides, but in this case, Greenpeace is my contender- sure, they have plenty of faults, but their message in no way condones totalitarian restrictions on manufacture of these and similar devices; they're simply promoting environmental stewardship and the notion that we ought to consider what will happen to the toys of today when they end up in tomorrow's landfills. So maybe, just MAYBE, you could get off your ass, stop playing Halo3 for five minutes, and send an email to MS or Sony or Nintendo requesting that they be more environmentally sound, perhaps by applying RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances- an EU mandate) to the global market or something, and sooner than 2010. It's not that difficult. Also maybe they could add ~$5 as a recycling fee at time of purchase to make sure they'll take it back when it's beat. Seems more likely than having them volunteer to do it themselves even if they could get some dough from recycling parts/materials.

Finally, don't put words in their mouths. Just because you THINK Greenpeace is a bunch of buzzkill, tree-f!#*ing, no-fun-having whackos DOESN'T MAKE IT SO. Yes, I'm sure that a few of their more extremist members exude some of those qualities, but by and large, especially in their official PR stuff which seems quite carefully prepared, Greenpeace is realistic and tolerant of E-entertainment and such- I just don't like how large their ratio of complaining about stuff vs. suggesting viable alternatives, happens to be. Though they do offer some.

Quot:"In fact name one electrical product that does not impact the environment. You can't because they don't exist."

Well I sure can't. Of course not. Pretty much anything we do will have some environmental impact- ever heard of "The Butterfly Effect?" But you already knew your answer, and further, you are missing the point entirely. Again, it is: more thoughtful manufacturing methods can REDUCE and MITIGATE the harmful impact of making millions upon millions of 5-10yr throw-away devices, instead of just doing "biz as usual." So, and I promise I'm getting to the end, let's recap: GP wants to avoid potentially millions of people getting poisoned by these things, but recognizes the fun and entertainment they provide, and so tells us to tell Sony et al. to use fewer toxic materials. Does the reaction, "F them the hippy bastards, they're trying to ruin all my fun!" really make any sense after considering the facts of the matter? If so, I hope you enjoy lead poisoning. So stop complaining that Greenpeace is so bad- they're really just trying to do good in this case, and attacking them because of your personal prejudices against such organizations when they're doing nothing to harm you in any way is inappropriate.

PS (sorry4theLength, had to throw in some balance): I think the GP report, though well-meant, was rather flawed in some ways: typos, using unimportant figs of power consumption when that's not as vital as the toxins (though the figures are easier to compare and digest, making for a more readable story); also they provide little info as to what the specific toxins are & how we can tell companies not to use them; also, in the "video," they said BFR's & PVC are some of the them. I know electronics and quite a bit about chemistry too, but what's that? Turns out it means brominated flame retardant, used in many if not most consumer plastics to slow their rate of combustion (at what cost, though? Might the toxic BFR-smoke present more of a threat than the fire itself?). And PVC? Used in all sorts of drainpipes EVERYWHERE? THAT PVC? Attacking that is stupid. I mean, it would be nice if they used all biodegradable corn-plastics or some crap for the cases, but they're more expensive and most can't take the high temps generated in the boxes. Also it sucks for it to be in landfills but it's not the worst thing out there by far. We put PVC pipes in the ground all the time; what's the difference if they're put in the ground in a landfill? If PVC is really so bad then wouldn't it make more sense to go after the PLUMBING industry and make it use more enviro-friendly pipes, since it's probably the largest user and exposer-to-the-environment?(results would likely yield a proportionally larger enviro-benefit per dollar, and it'd be easier to convince Congress to ban PVC pipes than tiny, above-ground console cases using it. But still it'd be better if CE companies would just develop an alternative and not have to make more laws just for this)

Grant P.

Why argue so much? You could be having fun

Problem is, both sides automatically don't like each other. Misunderstanding is also par for the course: i.e. Greenpeace said "standby" when they shoulda said "idle." But can you really blame a group that's too busy with their arborial relationships to pay much attention to console details?

As for the "antis," you say that GP is a bunch of morons for writing this story: whether they meant it or it's just coincidence, you ARE thinking about the environment, aren't you?

Quot:"Typical campaigners, concentrating on unimportant issues while ignoring the things that might actually work."

If they had gone and campaigned on things that "might actually work," well, like what? They ARE trying to do something good here. And it's not like they're grabbing your console out of your hands and lighting it on fire after removing the toxins and putting it in a gasification column to prevent unfriendly byproducts, no. They're just complaining about this. And you don't have to listen, so stop complaining. They can waste their breath if they'd like. But I think that, although dumb, their story was effective: if they were out in the rainforests feeding sick pandas or something, would "you" give a crap? No. You'd keep playing, saying there go those enviro nut-heads again. By publishing this lame story they have got your attention & interest because it's something your demographic can relate to. How else are they gonna get you interested in something you care nothing about?? I think it's a pretty damn clever bit of PR, if they intended it, that is... but only in terms of strategy; the content was flakey to put it politely.

Ever heard the sayings, "Every bit helps" or "Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty." ?



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