Sometimes Greenpeace Doesn’t Do The Maths

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.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sometimes Greenpeace Doesn’t Do The Maths

  1. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr basically the on going process is nasty the cultures that don’t reform will either die out due to population collapse or are anti-technology. Those cultures that are anti-technology end up on the losing sides of conflicts with diseases or other humans so end up with their population destroyed by other means.

    Technology and Employment destroy populations one way then diseases and war destroy population another yes Technology and Employment counter diseases and war. Cultures that cannot walk a balance path will find themselves exterminated if the earth stays liveable for long enough. Interesting enough those with Technology have the means to grow food under ground and the like.

    This is what is so funny the arguement that we need to change people culture to save the world is wrong. Groups need to change their cultures to save themselves if they don’t in time they will join the many other history groups who have died out in history.

  2. oiaohm says:
    kurkosdr Really you don’t know what in hell you are talking about. Notice UAE birth rate has cut in half in 20 year with no signs of this birth rate reduction stopping.

    UAE is a clean example of a country with pushes against planned parent hood so is on the path to complete population collapse.

    Technology and Employment combination is extremely powerful.

    What you folks don’t understand is that some cultures are heavily natalistic, and they don’t want to change, and cannot by definition experience infinite growth with finite resources.
    What you don’t understand is this all means nothing. Humans only have X number of hours in the day. Consume enough of those hours with employment and using technology and population will reduce no matter the cultural beliefs.

    Oh yeah, the “let’s give them technology and education” narrative. Then, why is UAE, a developed country, having so high birth rates?

    Please note I did not say education. Technology without education could result in your complete cultures death due to reproduction rates taken way too low. Many native tribes of Australia have been done in this way.

    The reality is like it or not as the world gets more technological the population problem will come under control. The issue is if the earth will remain human liveable until human population reduces to a sane level.

  3. kurkosdr says:


    Oh yeah, the “let’s give them technology and education” narrative. Then, why is UAE, a developed country, having so high birth rates?

    What you folks don’t understand is that some cultures are heavily natalistic, and they don’t want to change, and cannot by definition experience infinite growth with finite resources. Someday, the planet will just run out, no matter how efficient we are, if planned parenthood isn’t enforced. Yet no ecological organization makes even a passing mention to that uncomfortable fact: Our ecological problems cannot be really solved (on a global level) without a big cultural change.

    They don’t make even a passing mention because every culture is sacred end how dare you imply my culture’s “planned parenthood is evil” beliefs are detrimental to the sustainability of our planet you imperialist pig… etcetera.

  4. ram says:

    All good points Mr. Pogson! Even more so, since modern new Linux equipment, both client and server, use substantially less power than you quoted. (Intel is in its Fifth generation technology now, others have had similar improvements — or they will soon go away). I do find it disturbing that many organizations (usually based in major cities, downtown) fail to recognize the fast majority of the world has VERY limited Internet connectivity — if they can connect at all).

  5. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr please note there almost instant decrease in birth rate when people migrate from a underdeveloped country to a developed country. This shows up in stats from Australian and the Usa. This is the big problem there is a huge amount of information that shows how to control human population.

    Unemployed in a developed country have a higher birth rate than employed. Yes technology and jobs both in combination take a countries populations birth rate under sustainable levels.

  6. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr interesting point as countries get more tech developed their population starts becoming decreasing.

    Like the USA 1.88 births per woman China is 1.66 births per woman. 2 is population staying exactly the same.

    It is scary even India has a falling birth rate. Ok 2.5 birth rate in India is still a growing population but thinking 12 months ago it was higher and in 20 years time this is going to be level or reducing.
    Every where in blue on this map is a declining population by Birth and will need to take in refuges to keep population at current level.

    Note the areas in green are basically level by birth.
    When you add on these death rates. The area on earth the biggest population growth issue is the south section of the Americas since its low death rate and population growth.

    kurkosdr I really get sick of people who comment on this topic without having done any homework. World population growth is slowing. Problem is we in developed countries risk being in a location were we are out numbered 10 to 1 by people in countries who are not developed. The best way to slow down a countries birth rate is improve their technology.

    That will totally buy as 10 or 20 years more before the population increase gets us back to square zero, yay!
    This is looking short term.

    We increase the tech around the world in power effective ways in 100 years time the global population will be in decrease and as long as the power usage to put all tech in everyone hand is effective we will win long term.

    At 3 percent per year that is about the current population growth with current declines rate 20 years is half a billion people.

    Remember the power saving of arm is over 50 percent. Current population is over 7 billion. With about 1 billion currently in developed. Yes in 20 years time we might make 8 billion. Using arm tech we could have 2 billion instead of 1 billion being advanced countries and using the same amount of resources or less. Remember developed countries are not increasing populations. The human population on earth might top out at 9 billion. If 3 billion of the world population becomes developed in technology the global population will decrease.

    Because planned parenthood requires a true cultural change, and that’s hard.
    Turns out this is the biggest load of bull crap going. Population decrease have almost absolutely nothing todo with planned parenthood. If you look at the maps of where decreasing population is the planned parenthood idea does not line up.

    Once you tech is developed enough there is that many entertainment and work activities people don’t find time for sex unless they plan it. No time for sex no children simple. This is part of the reason why China is undoing the 1 child per family plan as it will not be required. Same with spending fortune on planned parenthood. Funny enough condoms increase population growth to a point by slowing down sexual spread illnesses that cause inferentially or death.

    Planned parenthood done right works exactly the other way by creating understand of how biological limits will kick in so end up making women have children earlier than they would otherwise in a tech developed country so increase the possibly of a level population. Tech negative effect on population is massive.

  7. kurkosdr says:

    All hail greentard logic: Everything we do requires energy and resources, hence it’s better to do as little as possible.

    This is what you get when you try to combine hippie-subculture natalism (“planned parenthood is evil man”) with the desire to save the planet. As if it’s possible for the planet to support an ever increasing population, all we need is to become more energy efficient and reduce resource consumption, maannn. That will totally buy as 10 or 20 years more before the population increase gets us back to square zero, yay!

    No ecological organization (from the well-known at least), makes even a passing reference to planned parenthood, and that tells a lot about them.

    Because planned parenthood requires a true cultural change, and that’s hard. So, let’s pretend to save the planet by becoming a little bit more efficient, and buy ourselves some little time.

    I stopped caring long time ago, I ‘ll just avoid buying any land near the shore in the future.


    That’s to be expected. Greenpeace doesn’t “do” much. They are environmentalists. They have a large network of dedicated operatives who pull off high visibility operations. That doesn’t cost much for the operations but it does take people to plan, advertise, talk etc. Education, for instance, may spend up to 90% on salaries. People cost money. Information is $free.

  9. dougman says:

    Greenpeace is a farce.

    For example:


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