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Greenpeace Down on Games Industry, Logic Flawed?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the throwing-green-stones dept.

Games 138

Earlier this week Greenpeace went after the games industry a bit, coming down on hardware manufacturers for poor environmental practices. Nintendo and Microsoft in particular got poor scores from the organization. Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog notes, though, that their methodology is a bit odd. It's not so much that Nintendo's environmental policies (say) are all that bad - they're just not readily available on a website. "The research in general appears lazy. Nintendo's failing grade appears to be based entirely on this entry in the corporate FAQ, which briefly summarizes some of the steps the company has taken to protect the environment. Anything that's not covered there is simply rated "No Information." Similarly, all of the information on Microsoft originates from press materials and corporate statements on the company's web site. Clearly, Greenpeace did not perform an exhaustive evaluation of chemical use through the manufacturing pipeline."

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What??? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21534827)

The methodology of Greenpeace was odd? Really?

What a harsh statement. It is almost as if the poster was saying that Greenpeace twists research to meet their own overall political goals.

Re:What??? (4, Funny)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535039)

I know it! Next thing you know, PETA is going to be ham-fisting their objectives too. Hell in a handbasket, I tell you.

Re:What??? (5, Funny)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535221)

I believe you meant tofu-fisting.

Tofu fisting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21535843)

I think I saw a porno like that once.

Re:Tofu fisting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21536681)

"Shaolin Foot Masters" is a classic of the genre.

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537535)

Hey, what a man and his tofu do in the privacy of their own home do is entirely their business.

Captcha: cuisine (ewwwww)

Re:What??? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535453)

If the "A" in PETA stands for wat I think it does, there is no way that they'd consider ham-fisting to be an ethical way to treat that part of the anatomy.

Although it might be interesting to watch the video...

Re:What??? (1)

RedACE7500 (904963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536975)

People Eating Tasty Animals?

Re:What??? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537273)

Although it might be interesting to watch the video...

Definitely. Especially if it is done as the PETA "We will never wear fur" videos of old...

hmm (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534879)

Well I know anyone who criticizes Nintendo for any reason is drawn and quartered here, and even the word makes most slashdotters' (and all slashdot editors') critical thinking skills vanish in a puff of smoke...but my experience has been that if a company doesn't mention something, it's for a reason. If Nintendo is willing to brag about environmental steps they've taken, they're going to throw everything that possibly makes them look good in there. They're not going to fail to mention something positive out of humility or anything.

Re:hmm (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535227)

Your comment doesn't deserve a troll rating.

Thats certainly a possibility, but it assumes that giving complete and detailed information is more beneficial than giving a brief summary and then avoid spending the time releasing all the proper information. I don't know whether this would be the case or not.

Another thing to consider: the Wii uses far less energy than the other systems out right now. I wonder if that was calculated the chart?

Re:hmm (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538559)

Yet another aspect left out in the article: Funny how, with this article being a rant against an anti console makers rant, Zonk somehow forgets to mention that Greenpeace applauded Sony for taking the top spot in their comparison for having the strictest and most explicit environmental policies. But that wouldn't fit into the article's argument about Greenpeace crusading against 'the gaming industry' now, would it?

Re:hmm (5, Insightful)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535401)

You're right, criticizing Nintendo leads to a lot of flack on slashdot (and in the world in general... people really love that brand).

And surely you're right. Nintendo would publicize much of its environmentalism. But greenpeace is being dishonest here. It's not as though Greepeace is going to go out of their way to learn if Nintendo is a great company. That's because, at root, greenpeace is not about the environment. It's about western style government and corporations. Greenpeace's history shows it is generally focused on government regulation and distortion of truth for political purposes.

It's not as though Nintendo is pretending it is telling you the real story on Nintendo's environmental practices. Greenpeace is pretending it is, but is not doing the work to get the truth because it knows its story is better this way. Greenpeace is the one making the claim and with the responsibility to back it up with research. With, Nintendo, we can assume it is protecting itself and that's not very deceptive or surprising, but with Greenpeace, we are essentially being lied to.

Re:hmm (1)

Saint V Flux (915378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537311)

"You're right, criticizing Nintendo leads to a lot of flack on slashdot"

You must read a different slashdot than I do. Most of what I've seen for the last I don't know how many years is "the [gamecube or wii] sucks because it isn't all shiny like a ps[insert number here]!" while ignoring the fact that there is a larger percentage of Nintendo games that have high quality gameplay than on other systems. If you want to argue about the merits of a system based on it's controls (I HATE the controls on most playstation games, but that doesn't stop me from playing my ps2) or on the quality of the games for it, that's great - but when your whole argument stems around "they chose gameplay and innovation over 3456938383i resolution", you just sound like a drooling moron. Unfortunately, when it comes to video games on slashdot I primarily see drooling morons who only care about shiny graphics.

Mod parent up (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535457)

The parent does not deserve to be modded Troll. He has a valid argument whether you agree with it or not.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537477)

Yes, he does deserve to be modded Troll. His logic proclaims that Nintendo is guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Since when does failing to mention that you *don't* do something bad conclusive proof that you *must* do it?

Re:Mod parent up (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537781)

This is the type of logic that reduces the utility of a user rating system. Troll != discord.

Since when did a "troll" mod apply to any cynical (but commonplace) opinion directed at a popular company? I don't believe he is entirely correct in the case of Nintendo, but he had a very valid point in that it is common for corporations to skim over details they aren't as proud of. He never said they were guilty, he merely presented the same cynical view common on Slashdot - only he directed it at a company that has managed to maintain excellent PR and a loyal following (myself included) for decades.

Replace the company name and the subject being discussed, and his argument would be accepted much more readily. Using "Microsoft" would be far too easy, so try it with a company you have a neutral opinion of - perhaps a waste management company. If they go into detail on all the areas of ecology that they are doing well at, and another organization points out major (to them) factors not covered by the company's statement, you're going to naturally assume that it's for the usual reasons - specifically, that PR departments tend to ignore or downplay shortcomings. That's not always the case, and probably is not in the case of Nintendo, but the logic is defensible, at least as a reasonable opinion to express.

Also, he implied it as one reasonable possibility, not as a proclamation of guilt. Even if he did, would that make him a Troll, or just someone you disagree with?

On a side note, is there some natural law that dictates that every well-intentioned non-profit group must eventually degenerate into a caricature of their former selves? ie Greenpeace, PETA, MAD, etc. I fearfully await the day when the Red Cross begins to refuse assistance in non-allied countries, or when the Audubon Society is found guilty of sponsoring EcoTerrorism. Then again, I'm not certain PETA ever had credibility...

Re:Mod parent up (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538155)

Replace the company name and the subject being discussed, and his argument would be accepted much more readily. Using "Microsoft" would be far too easy, so try it with a company you have a neutral opinion of - perhaps a waste management company. If they go into detail on all the areas of ecology that they are doing well at, and another organization points out major (to them) factors not covered by the company's statement, you're going to naturally assume that it's for the usual reasons - specifically, that PR departments tend to ignore or downplay shortcomings. That's not always the case, and probably is not in the case of Nintendo, but the logic is defensible, at least as a reasonable opinion to express.
No, I would call it what it is: a poorly researched hatchet job, even if it was directed at a company I dislike, much less one I'm neutral about. If Greenpeace had made the request to Nintendo, and Nintendo refused, then Greenpeace would be *reasonably* able to state, "We feel that Nintendo may have something to hide, because they're being far less than fully open about their environment track record. We're going to continue investigating, and report back with our findings!" Instead, they're saying, "Nintendo's web site doesn't fully disclose their environmental practices, therefore they're guilty of poisoning the environment."

The GP poster reasoned that:
  1. Nintendo seems to have a Jobs-like Reality Distortion Field over many, if not most, Slashdot posters & editors
  2. Nintendo does not post the details of their environmental policies & practices on their website
  3. Therefore, Greenpeace is *probably* right.
I don't know what you consider trolling, but I consider insulting most of the readers of the site, and then following that up with a logical fallacy to argue the merits of a Greenpeace study that had nothing but a passing familiarity with facts & data, "Trolling."

And for the record, I *don't* own a Nintendo system, and I never have. So I'm not one of the people for whom mention of Nintendo causes logic to vanish.

Re:hmm (1)

SeeManRun (1040704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535493)

Guilty until proven innocent. I love it!

Mod Parent Up (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535807)

Someone hat to remind us of what he said.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

webrunner (108849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535599)

Is it really fair to give them a ZERO though? It's their lowest score they ever gave anyone, and the reason is because they don't know what Nintendo is doing.

I dislike Nintendo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21535621)

I will criticize Nintendo. I bought a game from them and there was a notice on it that informed me "There is no need to make back up copies."

That is a blatant lie. I have a clear-and-distinct need to make a back up copy: if the physical medium is destroyed I want to still be able to play the game I bought.

Nintendo should not think for me, nor tell me what my values should be, nor tell me what to do with the stuff I bought, nor justify their position with outright false statements like this one.

Re:I dislike Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21535967)

Well, it doesn't matter what they say in the manual, since fair use law trumps any of their personal wishes of how you use what you bought. It may be annoying, but it's ultimately just a nuisance.

Re:I dislike Nintendo (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536593)

Well, it doesn't matter what they say in the manual, since fair use law trumps any of their personal wishes of how you use what you bought.
Yes it does. Slashdot is in the United States, and in the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is law. The DMCA trumps fair use because the DMCA creates separate offenses of circumvention and enabling circumvention that are orthogonal to copyright infringement and not subject to defenses to copyright infringement.

Re:hmm (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537101)

"But my experience has been that if a company doesn't mention something, it's for a reason. "
Funny I work for a software firm. The company donates money to a camp that helps disabled children. We have not released any press releases or or made a big deal about. We also recycle and reuse paper and and aluminum cans. All small things but we are not a huge company. We do make a few million a year but not hundreds of millions. We don't publicist these things because frankly if we did it just seems tacky.
Funny but with Greenpeace's history of exaggerating I trust them even less than Nintendo. I wonder if Microsoft and or Sony donate any money to them?

Re:hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537393)

We also recycle and reuse paper and and aluminum cans.

The difference is Nintendo DOES publicize these things. It would be like if your company publicized that you recycled paper, but not aluminum cans.

Re:hmm (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538457)

It is possible even likely. Frankly it is possible that someone would just forget to put in in the press release or on the Website. I honestly doubt that it helps the sale of there games.
Frankly I think Greenpeace is nothing but a bunch of publicly hounds that long ago decide that their goals are far more important than the truth.

Re:hmm (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21539469)

Maybe it is more likely that they don't consider it anything special, just something that needs to be done.

Let's say there is a city ordinance that says business's have to recycle their paper. Should that be listed as something the company is doing for the environment or something they are doing to not get a fine? Or what if they have been doing it for so long, it just seems like second nature and nothing special to note about?

Re:hmm (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537171)

Do you have MySpace or Facebook profile? Does it list what kind of lightbulbs you use, how much you recycle, what you do with used oil, what kind of efficiency furnace you have? Probably not...why? Not because you're hiding anything, but because it's a summary that describes you, not a detailed expose on every facet of your life.

Greenpeace took one look at Nintendo's site, didn't do any research or call anyone, and rated them a zero. That's just plain irresponsible, and saying "my experience has been that if a company doesn't mention something, it's for a reason" doesn't mean that they're not environmentally friendly. It just means you're being paranoid without any facts......like Greenpeace, because that's the exact same assumption that they made.

And you know what they say about assuming, don't you?

Re:hmm (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537443)

but my experience has been that if a company doesn't mention something, it's for a reason. If Nintendo is willing to brag about environmental steps they've taken, they're going to throw everything that possibly makes them look good in there. They're not going to fail to mention something positive out of humility or anything.
Do you realize how ridiculous that logic is? If you don't publicly state that you're NOT doing something, then you MUST be doing it?

Let's try the same logic with a twist...

"My experience has been that if you don't make the claim that you're not a child-molesting pederast in every Slashdot post, it's for a reason. If you're willing to brag about how you're not a baby-molesting pervert, then you're going to throw everything that possibly makes you look good in that post. You're not going to fail to mention something positivie out of humility or anything."

Can you spot the logical flaws with your argument now?

Nintendo Wii power usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537577)

One of the gaming magazines (I forget which one) recently did an energy consumption comparison of the big three consoles and a PC doing various tasks (idling, gaming, playing movies). Their methodology wasn't perfect, but it was decent. Their main tool was a simple Kill-a-watt meter, which is more than accurate enough for what they were doing.

The PC, X-box 360, and PS3 all came in around 200 Watts average while gaming. The Wii came in at about 20 Watts.

What was Greenpeace's methodology again?

Re:Nintendo Wii power usage (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538523)

A different one. They are not judging the hardware (which bewildered me a bit as well), but the companies' environmental policies instead.

Funny how, with this article being a rant against an anti console makers rant, Zonk somehow forgets to mention that Greenpeace applauded Sony for taking the top spot in their comparison for having the strictest and most explicit policies. But that wouldn't fit into the article's argument about Greenpeace crusading against 'the gaming industry' now, would it?

alternatives (4, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534947)

Saying something's bad is a lot easier than providing viable alternatives. After all, if you throw paint on fur, doesn't that just make the wearer (who obviously is not adverse to buying fur) have to go buy another one, thus propagating the industry more? It's much harder to legitimately convince them to wear something else.

Criticisms (2, Informative)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535327)

First, the original article should link to the original Greenpeace report [greenpeace.org] .

Second, Greenpeace does provide suggestions, just not offered as part of the report. You can find links to their reports by starting here [greenpeace.org] . This one [greenpeace.org] (PDF warning!) provides suggestions for ways to reduce environmental impact in electronics. Personally, I don't see why it's Greenpeace's responsibility to dictate to a company how to make their product. Nor do I think that company wants Greenpeace to interfere in their design.

If there's misinformation in the report, that's something that should be addressed. But do we really need more policy makers interfering in the technology industries? I think we have enough of that already.

Re:Criticisms (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536469)

I'm all for less regulation of the actual technology, though I have no problem with keeping an eye on possibly negative environmental effects caused by industry and business. There has been a long history of business causing environmental/social problems when left to its own devices, so it is definitely something of which everyone should be wary.

Unfortunately (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536151)

Most "environmentalists" are just alarmists, cause heads, extremists, etc and not really that concerned about fixing the environment. As you said, it's real easy to find something wrong since there is something wrong with EVERYTHING. All actions have a downside, that's just how it is. Well there are plenty of morons that just like shouting about all the things that are bad with society, rather than trying to provide any solutions. Solutions are hard, problems are easy.

Also, you'll discover that there are a good number that really are using environmentalism as a cover for another agenda, anti-corporatism often. So they really AREN'T interested in solutions, they just want to try and find lots of problems and use that as an excuse to further their actual agenda.

Terrorism isn't the only thing that is used like this. Anything that raises alarm with people is used by those with other agendas to push them.

Re:Unfortunately (2, Interesting)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536453)

Well there are plenty of morons that just like shouting about all the things that are bad with society, rather than trying to provide any solutions.

This is a generic argument trotted out tirelessly when people are confronted with activists who they don't agree with. It can just as easily be applied to you: All you're doing is complaining about how bad environmentalists are, what's your alternative? You offer no solutions for how we can get society to be responsible with ecosystems if not by being environmentalists? Are you just some kind of anti-environmentalist "causehead"?

That's not a fair argument, though. You have a right to criticize just as environmentalists do, and your criticism - like theirs - can be a valuable step towards improving things in general. I don't want to live in a world where people are condemned for pointing out problems unless they have a comprehensive plan to fix the problem. Intellectualized kneejerk anti-activism is the beloved ally of stubborn ignorance.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537023)

What to do better? That's simple: Don't fight things for no reason. Ensure that you've done proper research in to an issue before you speak on it, most are complex. Be for things, not against everything. Accept that there is no action without cost, that we have to chose between options that ALL have downsides and those downsides have to be weighed. Understand that there's no such thing as "zero" environmental impact, even non-human creatures impact their environment. More or less, just be educated and logical about it.

I don't see that AT ALL out of the large "environmental" movements (I put it in quotes since I feel by calling themselves environmentalists, they denigrate real environmentalists). They have big lists of problems but never any real solutions. When someone comes up with a solution, they just find problems with that solution and hate on it too. They never seem to have an understanding of the issues they are talking about it. It is always black and white. They scream about how important action is and we don't need to think about it. Reminds me of the quote "Gentlemen! There is a time to think and a time to act and now is no time to think!"

I like pointing people to the Bullshit episode on it because that really shows what I'm talking about, but if you want a less biased source, simply go to a rally some time and talk to some people. See if they have any actual understanding of what is going on, or if they are just shouting.

Just screaming about problems isn't useful. This is especially true if you are demanding action be taken. If you want someone to take action, it is reasonable to expect that you are able to tell them what action to take, and that action should be reasonable.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537891)

I like pointing out to people that Bullshit is little more then a platform advocating the policies proposed by the right wing conservative think tank Cato Institute, ov which both Penn Jillette and Raymond Joseph Teller are research fellows.

It is little suprise then, that 'Bullshits' stances on abolishing the minimum wage, reforming drug policies, eliminating trade barriers, diminishing federal government involvement in the marketplace, privatizing education, and abolishing affirmative action would benefit most Cato's sponsors : Phillip Morris, Coors Brewing Company, Olin Industries chemical and munitions manufacturers, the Georgia-Pacific logging company, ExxonMobil and Rupert Murdoch.

But hey, at least you admit that it is a 'biased' source.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538081)

Ahh the sponsorship argument. So I guess that means we can dismiss just about any environmental study that finds any kind of damage right? After all, you will find nearly all of them get at least some funding from places like Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Please don't for a second pretend that they don't have an agenda, just like companies, and that they aren't concerned with maintaining their organization and funding, just like companies. This idea that just because they are a non-profit means they are concerned with nothing but the good of humanity is a load of crap. The Catholic church is also a non-profit, you might note.

If any point of view or research is to be thrown out because there's a donor with an agenda, well you find that pretty much trashes everything. Not often that someone just does something all on their own and then, guess what, even individuals have agendas! All people are biased, that's just how it is. There's no such thing as a perfectly unbiased viewpoint.

If you can't deconstruct an argument on its own merits, then you need to ask yourself why. Attacking the author is an ad hominem attack and the funding thereof is just another kind (specificly, ad hominem circumstantial).

PS, Teller's name is just Teller. Really, look it up, he changed it a long time ago.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538607)

All people are biased, but only some are willing to sell their bias to the highest bidder and create propaganda to promote it.

Re:Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537741)

Most "environmentalists" are just alarmists, cause heads, extremists, etc
Also, you'll discover that there are a good number that really are using environmentalism as a cover for another agenda, anti-corporatism often

What's a slashdot thread on politics without the libertarians? It's like peanut butter with out jelly!

Re:alternatives (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538913)

For every idiot that will sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide there's someone intelligently involved in an ongoing reduction of their ecological footprint. To make any sweeping statement about what all (or even most) environmentalists are is misguided at best.

What a waste (4, Insightful)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534983)

Greenpeace used to be a reasonably decent organization. With all of their wealth and power, they could actually be affecting real change instead of bullying for dollars.

This seems to be a frequent issue with charitable organizations. Once they achieve their goal or enough business types get involved, instead of dissolving they transform into a money making operation. I guess it's just more profitable to ride the coat tails of your founders than to actually do something worth while.

Re:What a waste (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535075)

Meh, Greenpeace is a bunch of rich kids who like to gripe and love to trash anything thats popular, truth be damned.

I wonder if there is an "Environmentalists against Greenpeace" group? I would like to join.

Re:What a waste (1)

bi_boy (630968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535425)

I wonder if there is an "Environmentalists against Greenpeace" group? I would like to join.
Hell sign me up.

Where do we sign up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21536905)

Where do we sign up?

Seriously, I'm all for helping the environment, but Greenpeace lost touch with reality a long time ago.

Re:What a waste (4, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535941)

Meh, Greenpeace is a bunch of rich kids who like to gripe and love to trash anything thats popular, truth be damned.

I wonder if there is an "Environmentalists against Greenpeace" group? I would like to join.
When I was taking an ecology course in University my prof always harped about how counterproductive green peace was. Not all ecological goal can be achieved by "Doing nothing to the environment". In some ecologies they are so out of whack that "culling" is indeed required but Green Peace isn't about preserving ecologies but about making headlines, making young activist feel good, and saving cute furry animals (in a short term near sighted way).

Sometimes they are doing good work, for instance when they disrupted Japanese "scientific" research into whales. However the majority of their activities are media friendly, poorly researched, publicity stunts.

Re:What a waste (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536077)

Meh. You're right; who really gives a crap what greenpeace says? Anyone who lies to achieve their goals is immediately discredited.

I know a dude who presents himself as a sort of neo-hippy, anti corporate, anti globalization protester type. In reality he's a coddled rich white kid who uses his "politics" to score with hippy chicks. Mom and dad cover his many expenses and he drives a fairly expensive car. Carries a bag with a greenpeace sticker. He should choke and die.

Re:What a waste (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536161)

However the majority of their activities are media friendly, poorly researched, publicity stunts.

When the weapon of choice among those doing huge damage to the environment is soundbytes and photo-ops, sometimes we have to fight back with the same. It feels dirty and is depressing, but the fact is that you can't change the world today with a strong research paper, or even a well-researched persuasive essay - at least when you have the forces of multi-million dollar PR firms arrayed against you.

I know it offends our geek sensibilities to see people playing fast and loose with the facts, but I'm not sure there's another way. Reasoned research and data has to be the backbone of any legitimate movement, of course, but it alone can't capture the attention of the public to the extent needed to create real change.

The vast, vast majority of people are ignorant about the facts behind environmental issues, and are going to remain stubbornly ignorant of the facts forever, period. Far better that they should be ignorantly in favor of preventing environmental catastrophe than ignorantly apathetic. Like I said, it's depressing, but we have to realize that turning everyone into enlightened statistics geeks is pretty much the worst strategy for actually preserving the environment.

Re:What a waste (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536355)

When the weapon of choice among those doing huge damage to the environment is soundbytes and photo-ops, sometimes we have to fight back with the same. It feels dirty and is depressing, but the fact is that you can't change the world today with a strong research paper, or even a well-researched persuasive essay - at least when you have the forces of multi-million dollar PR firms arrayed against you.

I know it offends our geek sensibilities to see people playing fast and loose with the facts, but I'm not sure there's another way. Reasoned research and data has to be the backbone of any legitimate movement, of course, but it alone can't capture the attention of the public to the extent needed to create real change.

The vast, vast majority of people are ignorant about the facts behind environmental issues, and are going to remain stubbornly ignorant of the facts forever, period. Far better that they should be ignorantly in favor of preventing environmental catastrophe than ignorantly apathetic. Like I said, it's depressing, but we have to realize that turning everyone into enlightened statistics geeks is pretty much the worst strategy for actually preserving the environment.
The problem is, they aren't making a difference. Mis-information means you are expending resources where the return may not be significant. In the grand scheme of ecology saving the spotted owl was unimportant. Saving 10 sq km of Amazon rain forest is much more important then the spotted owl. But groups like green peace chose to spearhead saving the owl because it looks cuddlier, less inconvenient to get to, and it is easier less life threatening. Thus the primary sin of Green Peace is detracting resources from worthier causes. It doesn't really check where their advocacy would have the most impact but instead where their advocacy will create the most publicity.

In the end this severely weakens the whole ecological movement. They are making themselves into a scarecrow. With each "Down with Apple" and "down with Nintendo" campaign they go through they erode their own credibility and that of the movement as a whole. Far more damaging then what Apple and Nintendo may be doing. IF they want a better target, lobby for closing of the "small truck" tax loophole for SUVs and lobby for higher Taxes on Gas.

Re:What a waste (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536829)

There's definitely room for criticism of Greenpeace's campaigns, I just take issue with the idea that any campaign which involves publicity stunts and crowd pandering is inherently worthless, and should be condemned as self-centered attention seeking. Sometimes publicity stunts, even though they may not follow all the rules of a formal debate, are the best option for accomplishing a worthy goal.

And also, for the record, I have difficulty taking seriously people who criticize activists with the argument "if they really care, what they should really be doing is...". While it's fair to make constructive criticism and offer better ideas, it seems like a cop-out to just dismiss someone else's hard work simply because you were able to come up with a theoretical alternative action that you think would be better. After all, if you really cared, you'd be following your own advice and taking action instead of passively criticizing other's efforts :-)

Re:What a waste (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537033)

And also, for the record, I have difficulty taking seriously people who criticize activists with the argument "if they really care, what they should really be doing is...". While it's fair to make constructive criticism and offer better ideas, it seems like a cop-out to just dismiss someone else's hard work simply because you were able to come up with a theoretical alternative action that you think would be better. After all, if you really cared, you'd be following your own advice and taking action instead of passively criticizing other's efforts :-)
I do take action. I've written my MP(Canada), I push that idea on public forums and within my social circle, I drive a small compact car (not hybrid, out of my price range at the time of purchase). With in my capabilities I do what I can. If green peace really put in hard work I wouldn't be criticizing them. They do lazy well publicized work. Intellectually lazy. They may have students and young people do psychosocially hard work like solicit signatures, harass fishing fleets, and pass out pamphlets but they fail to do mentally hard work like investigate their causes, research their publications and learn about ecology and biology.

Re:What a waste (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537069)

Make that "physically hard work". silly spell checker.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537975)

Strangely enough, that actually made a reasonable amount of sense.

Re:What a waste (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538063)

>IF they want a better target, lobby for closing of the "small truck" tax loophole for SUVs and lobby for higher Taxes on Gas.

'Down with cars and oil' v.s. 'down with video games'.

The automotive and oil industry has few foes to rally against them. At least the console manufacturers have the anti-video game pundits who may hop on board just to get back at teh evil gamers. Fact is, console makers are an easier target. Just like the Spotted Owl is native to North America, while the rainforrest is spread across many contries.

see: expending resources where the return may not be significant.

Re:What a waste (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536969)

My problem with Greenpeace is very simple and has absolutely nothing to do with the spotted owl or throwing paint on fur coats; my problem with Greenpeace centers around the propaganda campaigns that they've waged against Nuclear Energy. According to Greenpeace's website, they "will continue to fight - vigorously against nuclear power because it is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity. The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and for the shutdown of existing plants."The Ignorance is Bliss Dept. [greenpeace.org]

Re:What a waste (1)

whoop (194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537627)

I believe it was Greenpeace, but on one of Penn and Teller's Bullshit shows, they had one of the founding members of that or a similar environmentalist group. He has since come out against them for doing just that sort of thing. They area all in it for the money more than anything.

Likewise, there will never be a cure for cancers, diseases, etc. There is far too much money to be had to do research and conduct studies.

Re:What a waste (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535827)

I wish it was just savvy business types taking over Greenpeace. But it isn't. As one of the organisation's founders said, it's activists with a political agenda who have taken over, and that agenda is not the environment. It's the same tired old enemies of the left: big business and right wing government. It's easy to see when you look at their "business practices": lazy research (as in this case), outright lying and falsification (Brent Spar), picking easy targets who aren't actually doing wrong (logging industry), and unwavering dogma (No nukes, ever).

I do love the environment. But Greenpeace is not about saving the environment anymore. Please send your donations elsewhere.

Re:What a waste (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538395)

Oh, yes. The logging industry never did anything wrong. It is not like Georgia Pacific is one ov the largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States and has been linked to some of the United States' worst toxic waste sites. Oh, and they are in no way racist.

Re:What a waste (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535991)

"With all their wealth and power":

from greenpeaces 2006 annual report (freely downloadable)
Income: $14 million
Expenses: $15.5 million.

lets pick a games company:
Nintendo's net sales for the first half of this fiscal year amount to 6.08 billion USD The operating income results in 1.65 billion USD, and the net profit is the aforementioned grand total of 1.15 billion USD.

I cant really see how greenpeace are some big evil corporate bully that is wasting its powers. And exactly how do you conclude that the organisation's goals have been reached? There are still oil spills, still companies dumping toxic chemicals all over the place, and climate change is still an issue.

Games players are second only to car enthusiasts for the rabid inability to accept that there might be any way in which their hobby is actually a bad thing in any sphere of life. I love gaming, but I know full well that my gaming PC is the #1 most inefficient and expensive to run piece of hardware in my entire house (cooking and heating may sue mroe energy, but they are essential for my survival and not on 12 hours a day like the PC).

Personally, I'm 100% in favour of hardware companies being pressured to make energy efficient video cards, CPU's and consoles. This can only be a good thing, unless of course, your mom is currently paying your electricity bills.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21536545)

Greenpeace is not a corporation and therefore does not generate any income. All income is from donations. That said, comparing the income of Nintendo and Greenpeace is like comparing the incomes of street beggar and McDonalds.

Re:What a waste (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536647)

entirely my point. I'm showing that greenpeace are nothing like the parent poster suggested some huge corporate beast that wanted to just sustain its own existence, despite operating in a modern day ecological nirvana that had no need for them.
Most of their staff are volunteers anyway, not exactly people trying to perpetuate their jobs.

Re:What a waste (1)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536713)

Personally, I'm 100% in favour of hardware companies being pressured to make energy efficient video cards, CPU's and consoles. This can only be a good thing, unless of course, your mom is currently paying your electricity bills.

The article has nothing to do with putting pressure on the industry. It's about poor methodology and inappropriately tagging high-profile businesses in order to generate more buzz. They did the same thing with Apple, and later admitted to doing exactly this.

Also remember that profit isn't evil, earnings do not equal evilness...although a $15.5M annual budget is entirely significant, and it takes a whole lot less to bully companies like they are. The criticism of Greenpeace does not have to do with their stated motives. At first-glance, they appear to be well-meaning and with good intentions. However, upon closer inspection, it seems a little more like Greenpeace is less of an environmental activism group and more of an anti-corporate/anti right-wing group. The latter isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the fact that they can't just come out and say it rather than hiding behind environmental ideals is disturbing.

Re:What a waste (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536843)

Personally, I'm 100% in favour of hardware companies being pressured to make energy efficient video cards, CPU's and consoles. This can only be a good thing, unless of course, your mom is currently paying your electricity bills.


Well, see, there's a lot of irony there. I don't think the big problem here is with companies actually doing what they can to be environmentally friendly, there's a problem with the sensationalist nature of this thing. You mention energy efficiency, but the only one of the three console manufacturers that puts forward an effort to produce efficient devices gets the lowest score possible in the report.

Not just the lowest of the bunch, the lowest score possible. A zero.

Re:What a waste (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537997)

First off sales does not equal profit. All of greenpeaces money is equivalant to profit as its all donations. APples and oranges. Greenpeace is a very well off non-profit that gets away with murder because their PR is so good no one openly criticises their methods.

Personally, I'm 100% in favour of hardware companies being pressured to make energy efficient video cards

Yet you want all that performance? Err, YOURE the problem, not these companies. You consumers demand more fps, better graphics, etc. Its physics. Youre not getting more processing power without more electricity, in general. If you actually cared one whit youd go back to playing monopoly or not buying the next high-powered game system.

And we've seen what powerstar ratings can do. On one hand you've got devices with all sorts of power saving modes when they only had on/off just 20 years ago. On the other hand manufacturers know consumers hate dealing with this stuff (most cant program an oven clock) so they just put everything in standby. Now everything in your house if "off" but consuming power. Whoops!

So there's real effort being done and lots of mistakes. I imagine there are lots of solutions but I cant imagine how the loudmouth college kiddies at greenpeace are helping matters any. Oh well, identity politics as usual.

Re:What a waste (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21539269)

bullshit. I am not vaguely the problem. given a choice between two vaguely comparable systems, i will always buy the one with the lower power consumption. The problem is most manufacturers care so little about this issue, they dont even mention power consumption. GP are doing their bit to draw attention to such issues, and all power to them. Your attempt to polarise the issue as being "waste 1000 watts to lay cutting edge game or play monopoly" is just strawman bullshit.

No Accountability (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538421)

Greenpeace does whatever they want, whenever they want. They answer to no one, have tons of money, and actually make enough of a stink to influence government policy sometimes. There are always Greenpeace people asking for money near where I live. If you feel compelled to give money to people on the street give the money to the Red Cross, they'll use it to help someone. Unless you think that your money would do more good funding studies and press releases on which electronics corporation is the biggest polluter.

Greenpeace is bad for the enviroment (2, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534985)

I mean, they tarnish real environmentalists with their whack-job antics. They create a "boy who cried wolf" situation.

Re:Greenpeace is bad for the enviroment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21535775)

No, not really.

I'm a sysadmin for a local environmental organization. We love greenpeace, for the more whacked out they become, the saner we look in comparison.

Row Row Row ur boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21534991)

Ahhh GreenPeace... the organization with the big ass boat burning oil at a normal rate of a cruise ship...if ur so green about it ROW like the vikings.

Irony + AC=Flame
Irony+login=Funny

Whu (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535011)

Similarly, all of the information on Microsoft originates from press materials and corporate statements on the company's web site. Clearly, Greenpeace did not perform an exhaustive evaluation of chemical use through the manufacturing pipeline."

Yeah, there was a lot of drugs involved in the design of ME

Re:Whu (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535935)

My understanding is there was alot of whiskey [xkcd.com] involved.

This is news? (4, Insightful)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535031)

When was Greenpeace ever lauded as a bastion of logic?

I can't win so let's change the rules (0, Flamebait)

Misao-Chan (181020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535145)

For every point they arbitrarily ding I'm going to arbitrarily kill a whale off the coast of Japan. That'll teach them!

Re:I can't win so let's change the rules (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535229)

They're killing enough whales off the coast of Japan already for "research" (into tastiness I think). You should concentrate on the whales off the coast of, say, Chile.

Re:I can't win so let's change the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21535751)

oooh make sure to let any useful part of that whale go to waste while you're at it!

Greenpeace sucks. (3, Insightful)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535159)

1. They do lousey research. 2. They care as much about announced plans as they do about current practice when rating companies. 3. They have admitted that their active chastisements are targeted at the companies that will get them the most press to target, instead of the worst, in terms of practice. In summary, they suck. What they say isn't that based in reality. And in my opinion they have reached the point where they are doing more harm to the cause of environmental progress then they are doing good.

Re:Greenpeace sucks. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535593)

hey have admitted that their active chastisements are targeted at the companies that will get them the most press to target, instead of the worst, in terms of practice,

Actually, the greenpeace letter says that they go after *everyone*, despite the fact that certain targets get them more press. The article posted to slashdot just spun it to imply the opposite of what it actually said.

Re:Greenpeace sucks. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21537451)

It's the same problem as when they were rating PC makers. They were bashing companies with relatively good policies like Apple because they weren't announcing sufficiently aggressive improvements.

Greenpeace and the ACLU (1, Flamebait)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535233)

If you're pissing either of them off, you must be doing something right.

Re:Greenpeace and the ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537919)

If you had bothered to read the article, the summary, or at least the headline, you would have known that Greenpeace's methodology is being criticized, not their supposed goals. Not to mention the fact that the ACLU has nothing whatsoever to do with this article.

But who needs those pesky facts, anyway?

Maybe their logic is this (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535277)

It's all well and good to say "well they could have gone off investigating", but why should they and how many companies would cooperate? So they instead they the info that companies disclose on their corporate website. I expect there is a benefit to this since it shames companies enough to actually disclose info that they otherwise might try to hide and get even worse marks. And going forward (as is the case with Apple), it causes them to try harder in future.

Re:Maybe their logic is this (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535765)

so from this logic, I should publish an article about /. eating babies, because as far as I can tell from their website they don't have any policies against eating babies. Yes, I know that's an extreme situation but the point remains that you shouldn't drag a corporation through the mud so that they have to report their policies just to clear their name. Responsible journalism is to investigate first and then report about what was discovered instead of the other way around. Besides, wouldn't you rather a 3rd party company tell you how environmentally friendly a company is instead of the company itself?

Honesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21536191)

Then they ought to say there was insufficient evidence, and if they want to shame them, they should say something like: "What have Nintendo and Microsoft got to hide?"

Re:Maybe their logic is this (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536923)

So, you fail to deny that you collect child pornography!

See, now, in the future, maybe you'll remember to list all the things that you don't do wrong.

(shock) (2, Funny)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535315)

Hairshirt-wearing, veggie-sprout-yogurt-eating, deeply earnest, obsessively-focused, humorless young leftists might be considered to simply be anti-fun?

-1, Unsurprising.

Hell, from having Best Buy deliver a giant resource-consuming TV in a giant gas-wasting truck only to come pick it up again 3 days later, to eating the delicious flesh of a number of animals no doubt injected with hormones and raised in horrible, inhumane conditions, to the dumpster afterwards filled with enough wasted food to feed the entire (remaining) population of Darfur for weeks, I'm going to pretty much guess everything about my entertainment plans for Superbowl weekend would get the big "thumbs down" from that bunch of whingers...to say NOTHING of my collection of game consoles.

In those famous words coined so brilliantly in 2005 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article515384.ece) : "Sod off, Swampy."

In Unrelated News (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535635)

SONY today announced WhaleHunter, a game where you take command of a ship and harpoon whales for fun and profit! Try your hand at the clubbing baby seals mini-game and watch those dollars roll in!

The whole thing is about disclosure (2, Interesting)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535875)

The fact that their environmental records are impossible to determine should not be considered a defense.

I am a consumer of consoles and games. I am also gravely concerned about the environment. In an ideal world, I would favor (e.g. buy more of the products of) only manufacturers that use the most environmentally-sound practices. However, today, there's no easy way for me to tell if Nintendo is "greener" than Microsoft or Sony. And since I cannot tell, I cannot base my purchasing decisions on it, and there's no incentive (from the demand side anyway) for Nintendo, Microsoft or anyone else to spend extra money to use less fossil fuels/harmful chemicals/baby seals in their products.

Reports like this one from Greenpeace are a first step in getting these companies to be more transparent regarding the true environmental cost of their manufacturing processes. If that information became as ubiquitous as privacy policies it would lead to an arms-race among manufacturers to see who could implement the greenest practices.

So before you damn Greenpeace for taking your favorite console maker to task, consider the broader picture of what they're trying to accomplish.

Re:The whole thing is about disclosure (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536207)

So before you damn Greenpeace for taking your favorite console maker to task, consider the broader picture of what they're trying to accomplish.

Given their methodology, it seems like the broader picture of what they're trying to do is get big corporations to send out press reports saying they're going to do something to better their manufacturing processes, or have already. It appears they made no attempts to independently verify the information they got was accurate.

Re:The whole thing is about disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21536561)

And since I cannot tell, I cannot base my purchasing decisions on it, and there's no incentive (from the demand side anyway) for Nintendo, Microsoft or anyone else to spend extra money to use less fossil fuels/harmful chemicals/baby seals in their products.
So basically rather than work toward fixing the problem yourself by refusing to buy anything from these company's you will wait for someone else to shame them into changing? Way to make a stand without being willing to suffer yourself at all.

I lost all respect for Greenpeace when I learned what kind of salary their senor execs were pulling down.

On a related not living around Chicago Greenpeace always has their drones out begging for cash in the summer, it is always fun to ask them what the last four species to go extinct were. Really screws them up as they love to say that a species goes extinct every x number of seconds. gotta love fanatics that don't bother to think for themselves.

Re:The whole thing is about disclosure (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536953)

So the first step is slandering the company, okay.

What's the second step? Is it just reading a press release and believing it blindly?

Because if there's gonna be some verification in there somewhere, well, shit, that should probably just be the first step, shouldn't it?

Re:The whole thing is about disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537331)

The fact that their environmental records are impossible to determine should not be considered a defense.

Why not?

Nintendo has an unknown environmental performance rating. And a known (terrible) transparency rating. Albeit this is like a guy I once saw in court whose alibi for auto theft was that at the time he was committing burglary elsewhere, but there is no possible convolution of logic that would fail to consider this a valid defense against the former charge.

For Greenpeace to report lousy transparency as lousy environmental performance is exactly like giving them a bad environmental performance rating for having poor accounting practices.

"You need to be more transparent" means something totally different than "You are harming the environment", and for Greenpeace to report the former as if it was the latter is just one more example of the kind of marketing spin that is all that Greenpeace does.

Greenpeace is not about science or truth. They are about marketing and branding.

Lazy? (1)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536275)

The research in general appears lazy


That is not a surprise, I would expect more time would be devoted to the wording of their press release than the research. Greenpeace have become a thoroughly discredited organisation, interested more in their own verbosity and charitable revenue generation than in finding constructive and progressive ways to make the world a better place.

Patrick Moore crits of GP (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21536407)

In the Disinformation book a year or two ago, there was an interesting essay penned by Patrick Moore, one of the original founds of Greenpeace. As he put it, he left the organization just as they started to offer a 401k plan. One of his big topics is trees. He was talking about how all these groups complain about when "old growth" forests are cut down. Now he's the first to admit that the slash and burn of Rain Forest isn't a good idea, but at least in North America, the amount forested land is increasing and that we should be using more trees for things like heating, etc.. Why? Because trees grow back. They are a renewable resource.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21537835)

I'm not necessarily defending Green Peace' tactics or integrity. I admit I don't know too much about them. But it's certainly legitimate to raise environmental concerns in an industry where there has been little attention paid in this area. Plus, it's a pretty safe bet that if Microsoft and Nintendo had really great environmental practices that they would have let us know by now. Even the most minor environmental improvements are usually advertised pretty heavily to let us know that we are making purchases from a responsible corporation. In the end, I'm glad the issue has been brought to people's attention.

Why should Nintendo bother to recycle? (2, Interesting)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21538567)

Gamestop recycles for them. Old gameboy cartridges can be played in the advance. Old advance cartridges can be played in the DS. Old gamecube games and controllers can be used in the Wii. Old Nes's and SNES's are still coveted for nostalgia value. I've thrown away a ton of electronics in my day, but I don't think I've ever thrown away anything Nintendo branded unless it was broken. Next thing they're going to be complaining the VC titles use valuable electrons when they are sent over the internets. It's not like there is a landfill full of old videogames out there polluting the groundwater. This is a publicity stunt plain and simple and should be recognized as such.

Re:Why should Nintendo bother to recycle? (1)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21539505)

Except perhaps all those E.T. cartridges for the Atari.

A Useful Methodology (5, Funny)

UESMark (678941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21539337)

Given that this is what Greenpeace considers a legitimate methodology I sent an email to info@wd.greenpeace.org (the contact email address listed on their website) inquiring if they use child labor and asking for a list of employees with their birthdays as proof of their adherence to international child employment standards. Since to date they have only sent me an automated response to my question I am giving them a 0/10,000 score on my child labor survey, earning them the rank of exploitative slavemasters(tm). Please feel free to re-publish this survey result.

Isn't the most environmentally friendly thing (1)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21539365)


Isn't the most environmentally friendly thing you can possibly do

"stay home and turn the lights out"?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that kids who get driven to soccer pratice are *worse* for the environment.
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