I'm not concerned with whether or not this was sanctioned or expected, or if these people will lose their jobs or not, I just can't connect with this idea of assimilating my personal views into a corporation's identity.
We probably, at this stage, need to approach this issue with a certainly level of moderated-panic, and attempt to address it on al lines across all levels.
It stands to reason that if the general population can influence corporate decision making that might have a knock-on effect to cause companies to influence government decision making.
I'd hazard a guess that Jeff Bezos ability to influence government policy far exceeds mine by orders of magnitude.
What does this mean? I have been hearing the terms "global warming" and "crisis" for almost 20 years now, yet it is almost always followed up with talk -- talk about how others could change their lifestyle choices, talk about how organizations can change how they function, talk about how we can talk even more to the right people. Very rarely have I ever seen a plan -- a formulated, step-by-step guide on what people or organizations must sacrifice in order to bring about a better future, and even less so people who actually act on that plan instead of simply reiterating it to anyone within earshot.
I would absolutely not be surprised if this event, which some consider to be "necessary" on any level, does nothing to impact Amazon to change anything to improve the climate situation -- as far as they can see from my perspective, they see 900+ employees, some of whom are probably part-time and not getting paid anyways, with no actual plan of how global warming should be solved with respect to Amazon, but want to feel good for a time, feel as though they are making some level of actionable change on the world, until their time is over and they go back to work while they patiently wait for
>one of the most innovative companies
to come up with a plan themselves. I've seen it time and time again, it solves nothing, achieves nothing. And I'd bet it all on black that this earns them nothing but contempt from their supervisors/managers.
I'd have to say what you're doing here is having a few magnitudes of order less impact on climate change.
Perhaps you've heard of the Green New Deal?
What, then, is your comprehensive alternative?
Perhaps my earlier comments were too harsh, given I definitely feel defeated with regards to climate change. My current approach is to simply not care, as the added stress of caring didn't help and didn't do any favours to my general well being.
It's all looking like a lot of too little too late. But, fortunately, at my age, I'll probably miss the worse of it.
We probably need to simultaneously drastically limit carbon emissions and draw down atmospheric carbon / remove CO2 from the oceans. And I can't see how that's going to happen prior to things getting a lot worse.
Having said that, we did act collectively to implement the Montreal Protocol, so there's a bit of a precedent for acting at this scale... but there were fairly straightforward alternatives to ozone depleting gas.
Everyone knows of global warming, I don't want to see more talks, more protests and more blame, I want to see plans being enacted, laws being enforced, the world actually improving, but that's not what I see in this Amazon spectacle.
(For what it's worth, I didn't down vote any of your comments. I typically up vote anything I engage in, and usually only down vote comments that are shallow or abusive).
No. It's part of the planed 20/9 global CC strike, that was initiated by kids outside of US.
I believe it would actually be illegal to fire employees for this. US employers generally cannot legally punish employees for striking.
Given the severity and near-certainty of climate change, it makes sense to try and drive multinational enterprises to do better. Should they just instead give up and go, "Eh, fuck the planet up, whatever"? Do you have a better alternative for driving large entities to make a positive change?
Many times one works for a company whose values partially align with theirs. Maybe they have good charitable work, or they are engaged with open source. But they also have things that you disagree with -- maybe they don't treat their workers well in some way or another, maybe their parental leave policy is poor.
So, you try to change the company as step one -- let's get a better parental leave policy! Then, if you aren't getting traction, and your labor is valuable, you have leverage and can continue to try and invoke change. If change still won't happen, then you can walk.
It's better, I think, for people to provide a moral compass to the companies they work for, then to ignore it and hope that the behemoth will just make a good decision.
If you dislike fossil fuel companies, build one that obsoletes their business model (e.g. Tesla). If you dislike mining operations for employee mistreatment, start a company based on fair trade products (e.g. Fairphone). And if you care about these causes, support them with your wallet and evangelize them.
People say these companies are too big to compete with, but they used to say the same thing when these companies are created. Feel free to strike, but remember you can also vote to your feet, your wallet, and your labor.
This type of stuff will be the bane of large companies migrating to cloud. A lot of large companies are involved in defense initiatives, law enforcement, fossil fuel extraction, mineral extraction etc. If they have to worry about what latest moral crusade will try to get you kicked off the cloud platform, they will be a lot more reticent about migrating to cloud.
In addition, if you were a fossil fuel or car company that makes gas burning vehicles, how confident are you that one of those people that is walking out to try to get you kicked off the platform, won't try to be a "hero" and use their insider access to try to sabotage your operations or leak confidential data? I mean if the cause is worthy enough, all sorts of activities that would be illegal are considered justified. I mean if a person thinks they are literally saving the planet from destruction, sabotaging an oil company's cloud infrastructure seems like something that they would at least seriously consider doing.
I think Amazon and the other cloud companies need to come down hard and state unequivocally that cloud services are not fodder for political crusades, and they will allow all companies that are conducting legal business activities, to be able to use their cloud.
Equating climate change activism with all other forms of social justice is a common trend I see. They seem so different to me–the difference between empirical reality and ideology. While the outcomes of climate change will be ideological–save climate refugees or preserve competitive advantage and wealth–the immediate concern of attempting to mitigate the impacts of climate change are relatively rational.
> if you were a fossil fuel or car company that makes gas burning vehicles
Have you tried putting on your role-playing hats and empathising with some of the points being made on the environmentalist side?
If the people who could solve the problem were trying to solve the product, activists wouldn't be necessary. As long as activists are involved, there's going to have to be a narrow focus excluding most of the problem.
I mean this sincerely: I’ve been deeply involved in political and civic activism for the past couple years, and have learned a ton, especially from other people—but I also find it deeply frustrating when seemingly well intentioned folks offer unspecific feedback on how the significant investments of time, money, and energy I and others around me could be spent activisting better.
Direct action, however, tends to put more emphasis on the activists themselves as the problem instead of whatever their platform is. This is only useful when it demonstrates a sufficient commitment by a large number of people, which can demonstrate wide popular support— rallies, peaceful protests, etc. that involve enough people to potentially change the outcome of an election.
My problem is really with the publicity stunts done by a small number of people. From outside, it looks like an egotistical act and, if not dismissed entirely, hurts the reputation of everyone doing useful work in the same field. Antagonizing people is a poor way to convince them of anything.
As for why I don’t go into politics myself, it isn’t my calling and I don’t have the temperament to be successful at it. I believe I’ll do more concrete good in the world by being kind and helpful to those I meet in this journey we call life than by trying to force my concerns to the forefront of attention.
select * from users where supports_climate_change = true
select * from users where supports_climate_change = true AND supports_cause_b = true AND supports_cause_c = true
Ultimately you get way fewer users...
Most people who actually understand climate change also don't expect beachfront homes to be under water in the next few years. It's a slow death/dramatic change of our planet, something that will take place over the next few generations, not the next decade. And if you - or anyone else - thinks it will only impact the poor, you're grossly mistaken.
Perhaps more to the point: our world is stuffed to the rafters with complex adaptive systems--both man-made and natural--themselves threaded together by positive and negative feedback loops, punctuated equilibria, and participants trained on making decisions under these conditions.
We don't know which threads will snap, nor when, nor where. We don't know how the other systems and participants will react to the ripples. We don't know if, how long it will take, or where disrupted systems will settle into new equilibria.
In the face of uncertainty on this scale, I think there is some value to catastrophizing. We do this with uncertainty all the time. We imagine threats (both banal and catastrophic) to our systems and game them out. We make plans and run exercises. I'm not sure it's a bad idea, per se, to be gaming out dead-end scenarios.
This is not how I would characterize the last 300 years of our efforts as a species.
Characterizations are not mutually exclusive.
There's no catch clause in the universe's code to stop our most-impressive inventions from ultimately killing us, our most-creative disruptions from sundering our societies, or our most endearing traits from tucking us neatly into the geologic record.
I lived near a barrier island that would get hit with hurricanes each season, and every 5-10 years a storm would devastate it. Despite that, property owners would rebuild their several million dollar vacation homes exactly where they last stood, but raised just a little higher than the last time.
I don't blame them, it's an amazing spot in the summer.
Are Amazon employees going to demand that Amazon not do business with companies that do business with fossil fuel companies? How many layers down are they going to demand?
> won't try to be a "hero" and use their insider access to try to sabotage your operations or leak confidential data?
We do have examples of that. Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.
SPC Manning, in particular, was particularly vulnerable to exploitation due to her dysphoria and her chain of command's inability to recognize this problem and mitigate it. And Wikileaks recruited and turned that asset.
Snowden was certainly regarded as a HUMINT asset by someone, but he's more the self-motivated ideological case that you're talking about.
In both cases, the penalties are much more severe than a private company can bring against an employee, so it's realistic. At the same time, I'm honestly surprised that there weren't more. There are a shitload of government contractors since the usual requirement is a clearance and a pulse.
> I mean if a person thinks they are literally saving the planet from destruction, sabotaging an oil company's cloud infrastructure seems like something that they would at least seriously consider doing.
It's the classic insider threat scenario. And so Amazon does have strategies to limit what rogue employees can do, as selling corporate clients on cloud services would be a nonstarter without it. I didn't have broad enough knowledge to speak to how effectively they're able to mitigate the threat.
> I think Amazon and the other cloud companies need to come down hard and state unequivocally that cloud services are not fodder for political crusades, and they will allow all companies that are conducting legal business activities, to be able to use their cloud.
I don't think you can crack down on people like that. They'll just go dark.
And my read of the senior guys is they're genuinely sympathetic to these causes. Maybe one response is, "you say you want urgent action, but you're engineers. You know that it's the slow grind that delivers solutions, not the sturm and drang."
It's interesting to speculate what would happen if an employee did leak customer data... many companies have gone through crises you'd think would wreck their reputation forever and the market turned out to be shockingly forgiving.
Or maybe we'd find out that private clouds are actually quite economical, you just get some standardized racks and run various management services. Hell, you can even resell excess capacity just like how Amazon got started.
The right in the UK and the rest of Europe may not be doing enough to mitigate the problem, but very, very few of them are denying there is a problem. Or trying to associate those agitating for more action with political or moral crusades. A majority of voters, of all political hues, seem to agree with the need for more dramatic action.
To the greater point, all companies will have to adjust to a low or zero carbon world. If they don't they can expect greater action from activists, regulators and governments, and changes to what constitutes legal activity. Even the London stock market recently adjusted the categories companies were in - to make it easier to identify those firms people might increasingly want to divest from for being fossil related.
HN, please don't turn the following in to a flame war. That said...
How does this fit in with companies that de-platform organizations that they see as promoting extremism? There have been some high-profile cases where services like Patreon, CloudFlare and YouTube have banned people who weren't breaking the law, but were doing something management found politically unacceptable. This is interesting because YouTube is run by Google, who also offers cloud services.
And this is a good thing, because reliable contracting is foundational to a developed economy. If you can’t rely on your contracts being honored over arbitrary non stipulated issues then your operation becomes massively less efficient.
So is allowing corporations in the first place, that is also not a result of some innate sense of perfect knowledge of everything surrounding the issue.
Too many companies, too many people in them want the cake and eat it, they want societies to uphold their responsibilities towards them, but not the other way around.
A similar situation existed in many Western countries during the Cold war. Communists were afraid to speak their mind because they would be labelled Russian spies and they would be blacklisted. There were of course lots of people that spied for the Soviet union though. But crucially, only one (that I know of) were a devout Communist. All the others were spying for monetary reasons.
+ - Last I heard an American senator recently proposed that the US should stop selling crowd-control equipment to China. If a politician can propose that, why can't an employee propose that Amazon should not host oil exploration companies?
You've conflated a few different ideas there under the banner of 'moral crusades'. Law enforcement and climate change issues have very little in common. Your initial quote calls out "oil and gas extraction" - we're not talking about like, making more efficient cars, we're talking about literally pulling more carbon out of the ground so that someone can chuck it into the air.
The distinction is between "something that someone probably should care about" and "something that everyone must care about".
CC is not some subjective moral agenda we could disagree on. It's a scientifically proven disaster that had already happened, and have been known and ongoing for almost half a century now.
Ok, then where are the thousands of people dying? Where's the "disaster" part? Proclaiming something to be a disaster when the average person can't even tell something is wrong without being told something is wrong is the problem. "It's a disaster because our computers and scientific instruments have predicted it to be so!" doesn't carry much weight. People need tangible evidence that impacts their bottom line.
If you are in the Bahamas right now and you told someone "Hurricane Dorian is a scientifically proven disaster that has already happened," they would believe you, because they can see the carnage with their own eyes. They can see that their house is missing. They can see trees torn out of the ground.
Say the same thing about climate change and they'll think "huh, this summer didn't seem any hotter than when I was a kid. And last winter we still got tons of snow like we always do." and they'll write it off as hyperbole.
Currently, mostly in India, Africa and Middle-East.
>People need tangible evidence
And we'll have plenty of that, if even the most conservative/optimist projections will materialize. Patience.
Right, and when we do, that will be the fire under humanity's collective butt to mobilize and act. It might be too late, it might not. I have faith that we will pull through.
To me, it seems like activists spend too much time focusing on the producers of things like fossil fuels, and not enough time on the consumers.
I have nothing against companies which are producing fossil fuels, in general, since they are usually producing a product that has at least some genuine value in many cases. If everyone stopped drilling for oil immediately, it would certainly have incredibly negative consequences. I do have a problem with people who are excessively using these types of products, since they are creating waste that damages the environment - if everyone stopped driving their car everywhere and instead biked when they were able to, it would certainly have a very positive effect.
Is Amazon this progressive as well? Ie, will it pay everyone if an employee was needed but unavailable?
It's far, far more likely that the "strike" will be ignored than that it will result in anyone be disciplined or terminated.
I'm not sure 941 Amazon workers globally are that powerful though.
I mean, a lot of these "green new deal" types of initiatives are short sighted at best, and harmful at worst. Wind, solar and nuclear power should all be on the table. Why aren't we talking about desalinization and water pipelines for hydrogen fuel?
Because for these types of people, the goal isn't to enact any measurable change on their own. It's to make others feel guilty for not coming up with a solution.
I like that they go further than just "use EVs to deliver packages" – but instead also calling on AWS to not enable or help accelerate Oil and Gas company extraction. Although I'm sure this one will fall flat, because there's too much money involved.
I don’t think that makes any more sense than say “not selling goods and services to individuals who own ICE propulsion cars”. Or won’t sell items manufactured in Chine due to dirty energy and lax enviro controls in manufacturing.
B&M Store: Factory > Warehouse > Store > You
Obviously that's generalizing quite a bit, but intuitively it seems that the major difference is the final step. On average a delivery driver is more efficient than you making a trip for just yourself.
I have friends who live way out of town. If they have a store it serves maybe twenty people. Instead of dividing the truck’s emissions by thousands of people you just divide it by twenty.
On the other side often things bought online come with a lot more packaging. I think Amazon is trying to cut down on this by having suppliers where possible use a box for a product that is durable enough for shipping without having to put it in another box.
In a dense city, most of the last mile will be served by foot walking to a store which would have lower emissions (zero) compared to a delivery vehicle.
In the suburbs, the last mile to a store will likely be a detour by car from wherever you wanted to be. So delivery probably has a smaller footprint than storefronts (since the delivery vehicle is likely doing deliveries nearby anyway).
That said, in practice the "economy of scale" argument still applies and the inner-city store will overwhelming produce less carbon, besides the fact that a rural area may imply an increase in the distance good are shipped.
-The engineering of drill bits or other equipment that could be used for oil wells, but also for water or geothermal wells
-A business consulting firm running payroll, marketing, or accounting for an oil company
-Personal internet services for offshore oil workers
-Telemetry for drilling or pipeline monitoring equipment
-Geology research by a university that is likely to be used by oil companies
AWS is market leader in public cloud, which is probably the fastest growing class of energy consumer. Already overtaking traditional industrial energy consumers such as steel.
Assuming this market trend will continue, what can AWS realistically do to mitigate their impact?
In fact I would think the best thing industry can do to reduce energy consumption is to move their data to a cloud provider. It takes far less energy to cool one large room with servers from a dozen companies than it does to cool a dozen server rooms with private on-prem servers.
For instance, though it may not currently be economic, how about pre-cooling using renewable energy. Locating data centers next to hydro / geothermal sources? Larger UPS? Load balancing across DCs with available renewables? Other mitigations to get ahead of the issue?
Maybe it's just folks expressing political views with the flag button, but it's interesting to see it used so dramatically here.
Edit: Either someone did something or a bunch of vouching happened, because a lot of comments have come back.
I can understand (even if disagree) with Reddit-the-company wanting it to stay there because it increases "engagement" with the platform (regardless of the engagement's quality) and thus gets more ad revenue, but why anyone else (and any site that doesn't monetize such "engagement") would insist on downvoting is beyond me (and i especially do not understand people acting as if the topic itself is some sort of taboo to not even be discussed and treat its existence as unquestionable dogma).
Now, screaming into the wind is also far from ideal, but I think the answer shouldn't be "Ignore politics because I'm fine."
There are a ton of places where tech intersects with politics, whether that's in climate science, gender, mental health, medicine, art/culture, public transit (and other public shared resources), copyright, privacy, safety, etc. Strictly restricting the discussion to tech doesn't erase those intersections between tech and political domains.
Again, these issues aren't binary, they aren't left v. right, there's much more to understand than just two fixed points. I didn't even dive into any specific issues. Public resources could mean parks or it could mean the Bureau of Land Management, eminent domain or subsidized bus fare. Safety and privacy could be a discussion of the TSA, or gun rights, or immigration, or facial recognition.
Those are obviously concerns that impact a wide group of people, across many different political ideologies.
You are seeing something that isn't there.
Such a comment would be flagged down. A comment taking the opposing point-of-view, even much less politely, would be supported. Comments with vulgarity and rudeness are also tolerated only from certain perspectives. This disparity is particularly galling because low-ranked comments become greyed to the point of un-readability, and flagged ones don't appear at all by default. I couldn't care less about the internet points, but HN ought to leave un-popular opinions visible.
A set of professions guided more by feelings that knowledge and reasoning. Not to mention an ever increasing inability to actually have a civil conversation with someone you disagree with. I'm relatively center/libertarian/classic-liberal and I seem to feel it from all sides at times.
I would hope said individuals would lose their flagging privileges if they demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate flagging. The purpose of flagging is to report posts in violation of the site guidelines, not to express disagreement; that's what down-votes are for.
Those that flag these types of posts are often the first to scream about their right to free speech, while loving places that bootstomp it like /r/The_Donald, freespeechextremist, smugglo, pleroma.social, etc.
In those communities, there are tons of posts and comments along the lines of "if I'm wrong about x debate me!". When you reply citing multiple research papers, you will get banned. There is no room for challenging views on these caustic sites.
My humble opinion is many people here are fed up with climate discussions, and see them as off-topic. On the other hand, a vocal group (which as a disclaimer, I belong to), seems to believe not talking about climate change is currently akin to a Jewish family in 39` Germany not talking about the National-Socialist party.
The two groups communicate with each other almost as effectively as my 3 and 5 yo kids.
I will take the bet that 10% of them would not put themselves through a week of North Western winter making their sacrifices.
At this point, "doing something" is most likely worst than doing nothing at all.
Fuel costs money. Ultimately delivery efficiency is better for business and for the environment.
They also are encouraging all deliveries to happen on a given day of the week so they can be batched up and logistically planned better.
Seems like things are moving in the right direction.