‘Clean our Cloud’: Greenpeace releases dozens of black balloons in Apple store

Black helium balloons gather below the ceiling of Apple's Fifth Avenue store.

Talk about a dark cloud overhead…

Environmental group Greenpeace released dozens of black helium balloons inside Apple’s Fifth Avenue store this afternoon to protest the tech giant’s use of coal for powering its data centers.

Greenpeace launched the “Clean our Cloud” campaign to call on tech companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to use renewable energy to deliver their clouds, which are server farms that store data online.

Activists donned “cleaning crew” outfits as they stormed the store with squeegees and mops, posting signs on glass windows and releasing bouquets of black balloons, which rose to the store’s glass ceiling and stayed there through the afternoon.

The activists were asked to leave the store, but remained on the sidewalk out front, handing flyers to passersby.

“People around the world want to use their iPhones and iPads with the knowledge that our cloud is being powered by clean energy, not dirty pollution pumped out of coal-fired smokestacks,” said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director.

Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet told Metro Greenpeace’s claims about Apple’s coal use are exaggerated and that the company is on track to build the country’s largest non-utility fuel cell installation.

“Our data center in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 percent of that power on-site from renewable sources including a solar farm and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country,” Huguet said.

“We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data center ever built, and it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100 percent renewable energy,” she added, directing consumers to a PDF with more information about Apple’s environmental policies.

Greenpeace fired back at Apple, saying, “Despite their claims, they haven’t disclosed enough information about how they will provide power for their data centre in Prineville to prove that it will be powered with renewables.”


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