[Foundation-l] WMF-projects: Carbon neutral/low/aware website?

Walter Vermeir walter at wikipedia.be
Fri Jun 8 14:58:58 UTC 2007

Kat Walsh <kat op ...> writes:
> Though I support the principle of reducing environmental impact, I am
> skeptical of this proposal.
> We use a large amount of power. I imagine the expense of buying carbon
> offsets to become "carbon neutral" would be a significant one, and I
> think using our resources for something not directly related to the
> mission would not be responsible. (And would we have to account for
> all of the energy used by contributors to the site, also?)
> (I am skeptical of carbon offsets in general. I think they are a fad
> and have read that many of the programs set up to sell them are only
> dubiously effective; I'd personally rather simply conserve power where
> possible and support environmental causes as appropriate.)

My proposal is in the first place to ask to take the environmental aspect in to 
account when doing things/making decisions related to the Wikimedia projects, 
not to spend money.

I am also sceptical about firms who trade in carbon offsets.

This because if you pay them to do something far away you lose your money. Also 
if you are not directly involved you do not really know what the do with it.

It can be a really good project, a scam or a project the looks good but 
actually brings more harm to the environment then good.

Planting trees is good but if you plant fast growing monoculture foreign for 
the region trees then you are not doing good.

Also bio-fuel is popular. But if that means in reality that rainforest is 
destroyed to plant there crops to make bio-fuel then long live the natural 

Or that because of the growing of food for cars (bio-fuel) instead of food for 
humans the local food prices increase and so increasing the  malnutrition then 
that has also a clear negative environmental impact. 

I can tell you what I have done to compensate my environmental footprint. In 
Belgium there is a very small cooperative company "Ecopower". The do 
educational projects around rational energy use and build and operate small 
power plants; a watermill, solar power, windmills. The also sell electricity 
directly to end users in Belgium. To become a customer from Ecopower you need 
to become a cooperative member of Ecopower by buying a share.

The are really very small but financially sound.  Because I have buyed shares I 
am co-owner of there windmills and other installations . And annually I get a 
small dividend. For the money you must not invest in it, it can never be higher 
then 6%. And also only every 6 years you can sell stock so it is a long term 
commitment. For me this is better then paying for the planting of trees 
somewhere far away. And your money is not gone, only long term invested with a 
low but existing profit marge. 

I am absolutely not saying that the WMF should invest in Ecopower, not even 
that the should invest in anything. But if there budget for externally doing 
something investing in something like Ecopower seems to be a better idea then 
sponsoring trees. 


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