How tech firms can save the earth

Cringely dons his green fedora, doling out unsolicited earth-friendly advice to any tech titan who dares to listen

Just in case you've suddenly emerged from a coma and hadn't noticed, Tuesday was Earth Day here on our planet. And it seems like everybody is putting on their green. Even the US government has a site celebrating its efforts to ravage save the earth.

While tech companies are certainly puffing up their environmental street cred, they could be doing more. In fact, I have a few suggestions for what the leading tech companies can do to save the planet.

Microsoft: First, install a filter to capture the greenhouse gases expelled into the atmosphere every time Steve Ballmer opens his mouth. Better yet, set up a Ballmer Carbon exchange where Microsoft can trade five minutes of Ballmerizing for, say, three hours of silence by a normal person. Also: install solar panels on his head and give the energy back to the grid.

Google: As we all know, Google's thousands of data centers produce enough residual heat to power a small country. So why not do exactly that? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Glorious Republic of Googlistan. Everything's free, provided we can follow you wherever you go.

Yahoo: Take all the energy you're expended fending off Microsoft's hostile acquisition and put your employees to work planting carbon-absorbing kudzu around your Sunnyvale HQ. By the time Microsoft finally comes to claim its booty, they won't be able to find the building.

Apple: You have to give them props for environmental consciousness. For example, Steve jobs recycles the same jeans and turtleneck every time he gives one of his "one more thing" presentations. Now it's time to take the next step by building energy-efficient housing from the millions of dead and abandoned iPods littering our landfills.

Earth Day has also become a megaphone for those benighted souls who believe global warming is a conspiracy created so Al Gore can make millions giving speeches on the rubber vegan circuit. So I have a suggestion for the folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, The National Anxiety Center, and all the other global warming skeptics. We'll give you your own Arctic ice floe, build McMansions on it, and stock them full of energy-hungry electronics and carbon-belching SUVs. You can live there free of charge for the rest of your lives -- or until it melts. Whichever comes first.

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