In principle, I agree with outfits like Greenpeace just as I tend to agree with the Free Software Foundation and other organizations which share my views on making the world a better place.“A Greenpeace report has found online video is by far the biggest user of internet data, with streaming services responsible for more than 60% of data centre emissions, with the number expected to rise to 78% by 2018.”
See Online video threatens emissions progress: Greenpeace They are out of their realm in railing against streaming video from huge data-centres however. Just do the maths. If every human on the planet has their own PC streaming from a local storage device to some display, the energy wasted is many times larger than a much smaller number of servers in a building somewhere doing the same task. The servers have faster network connections, bigger CPUs and more RAM to hold everything and they can serve hundreds at once. A big server might use kilowatts of power to serve 200 clients, just a few watts per client. The local PC may need 50 watts to do the same. Heck, the local client, except for smartphones and ARMed tablets with tiny displays, may approach 100 watts. Streaming is the most efficient way to distribute video. Putting CDs in the mail would be far more costly and burdensome to the planet. Bits don’t use a lot energy. Nor do they have much mass. They certainly travel faster than freight.
No, Greenpeace should be pushing GNU/Linux on ARMed PCs, not attacking efficient operations. The data-centres are switching to ARM sooner or later, Greenpeace should be recommending consumers and businesses switch their client PCs to ARM as well. There are billions of clients. There is a huge multiplier if you can get the clients using less power each. There is a much smaller multiplier getting the servers to use less power. IT for everyone is also a good thing for people. Greenpeace can reach more people if they have IT, so why not make that IT efficient instead of tilting at windmills that work? The folks with the data-centres are motivated to reduce their huge power bills. The consumer may or may not be. Greenpeace would be better off trying to educate those consumers. Greenpeace has been using GNU/Linux on their servers. Why not on their own PCs and the PCs of the public? GNU/Linux on ARM is better than GNU/Linux on x86/amd64 for their purposes. It’s a much bigger target with a much bigger benefit. Why not go that way?
BTW, I recommend Greenpeace and others use Debian GNU/Linux. Debian has a social contract that is more or less in line with the belief that people should strive to make the world a better place unlike more frequently used software designed to waste resources.