The Apple of the Planet’s Eye

If, perchance, you have the opportunity to read the long list of health benefits from eating an apple a day, then for sure you’ll have an apple on your table every morning. It is a remarkable fruit that helps with almost every organ, crack, and crevice throughout the human body by curbing cancer, Parkinsonism, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, gallstones, hemorrhoids, liver problems, cataracts, and it even helps whiten teeth (sounds like the polar opposite of fast-talk warnings on TV ads for medicine). Why eat anything else?

In the same vein, Apple, Inc., the global powerhouse, is following in the footsteps of its namesake by publicly declaring climate change is a real problem for the world that needs a healthy diet of renewable energy.

And, Apple is doing something about it by setting a superb example of what America, the government, as well as corporate America, can do to hopefully save the planet from impending chaos as food and water turn precious with extinction waiting in the wings, which is real and already in its very early stages because of the reckless use of fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, spewing out more CO2 than the earth can handle. It’s as simple as that. Yes, the earth has its limits!

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a video that he narrates, claims that 94% of Apple’s corporate facilities and 100% of its data centers are now powered by renewable energy sources like solar.

Cook Tweets: “We want to leave the world better than we found it. We’re proud of our progress but we know we have much more to do.”

“Better” is the adjective that repetitively chimes-in throughout Apple’s video presentation about going green, better products with less, lighter more efficient materials, better ways to manufacture, better ways to serve its customers, better ways to power its facilities, leaving a better world.

Even Greenpeace, which previously criticized Apple, now praises Apple for the improvements in its energy mix for its data centers. A 20-megawatt solar farm and biogas fuel cells power the Apple Maiden Data Center in North Carolina.

But, more importantly than emphasis on green-ness, Apple’s CEO has done something much more momentous. Tim Cook publicly stated that climate change skeptics (aka: the cooling crowd) should “ditch Apple shares” sell Apple’s stock, if they do not like the company installing renewable energy.

Whether intentional or not, Tim Cook is taking on the climate denial crowd in the boldest possible fashion, especially in consideration of neoliberalism’s emphasis on profits, profits, and more profits, only profits, nothing less than profits; a world ruled and fueled by profits (fossil fuel profits trounce renewable profits, by a lot) to die by profits, Profits in heaven; profits on Earth, a world filled with profits. Glory hallelujah! The epitome of neoliberalism (aka: capitalism with the gloves off) is profits!

“It’s not every day that you hear a CEO tell some stockholders to ‘get out of the stock’ if they don’t like what he’s doing. Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook felt pressure from a shareholder that did not want the company to pursue green goals (like increasing renewable energy use). In response, the CEO of the greatest cash-generating company in history made it clear that if investors only wanted him to ‘make decisions that have a clear [return on investment],’ then they should take a hike.” ((Andrew Winston, “It’s Easy Being Green,” US News & World Report, April 23, 2014.))

Never has a CEO been so bold, and it is one of the most refreshing outbursts from corporate America in the history of capitalism, or rather neoliberalism. Mr. Cook nailed it. His insistence that global warming deniers get out of the way of renewable energy development is powerful, much more forceful than the same message delivered by a not-for-profit environmental org.

Cook’s stance against the global warming denial crowd and embracing of renewable energy is exactly what the doctor ordered for America to wake up to the brutal fact that fossil fuels are enemy #1 for life on planet Earth. Certainly, there is no gainsaying that longevity is clearly at risk. After all, the very early stages of an extinction event are already evident as measured by science, all because of the use of fossil fuels, and Tim Cook maybe knows this and is doing something about it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent report states that the infamous, and totally scary, “tipping point” has already arrived for (1) coral reefs and (2) the Arctic ecosystem, which “are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,” meaning CO2 has already done enough damage to self-sustain considerably more damage, which likely portends an extinction event at some point in the future.

Hopefully, Cook’s remark, and embrace of renewables, impacts Congress enough to cause them to flip-flop subsidies amounting to roughly $75 billion annually for fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. As a result, American taxpayers will not be shouldering the equivalent of $650 per household annually to subsidize their own demise (However, $75 billion is a very suspect figure, which could be a lot more or a lot less; the IMF says U.S. fossil fuel subsidies amount to $502 billion, all-in.)

At the very least, Cook’s challenge (whether he meant it that way, or not) to the denial crowd should help to temper their references of “red commies, socialists, and left-wing extremists” when they next pontificate, especially on radio, about global warming, and maybe Cook’s attitude will help poke holes in their stance that the global warming issue is a Hollywood conspiracy led by Al Gore. But, on second thought, because some level of creativity would be required to find a new scapegoat, they will likely not change horses in midstream. And, furthermore, “paint ‘em red” by the Right has worked so spectacularly well, ever since WWII. Why change it?

Unfortunately, at the current rate of progression, or digression, whichever someone chooses to seize upon, we’ll all be red and dead as the Venus Syndrome slowly (maybe quickly) settles in, assuming we do not change energy sources real soon, like yesterday.

American philistinism may rule the roost for U.S. fossil fuel subsidies, but Apple’s incredible acumen threatens their perch.

Postscript: “We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them…We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.” — John McCain, Speech, May 12, 2008

Postscript: “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” — James M. Inhofe, Speech in U.S. Senate, July 28, 2003.

Postscript: “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it’s common sense.” — Ronald Reagan, State of the Union Address, Jan. 25, 1984.

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Robert.