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Greenpeace flies blimp over Silicon Valley to deliver clean energy message

One day after grading tech companies on their use of clean energy, a Greenpeace blimp drives home the point for morning commuters in the Bay Area with a fly-by.

The Greenpeace Airship A.E. Bates flies over Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. © George Nikitin/Greenpeace

One day after releasing a report grading 19 technology companies on their energy consumption, Greenpeace flew a 135-foot-long blimp -- called a "thermal airship" -- over Silicon Valley to hammer home its message from a few thousand feet above the morning commute.

"We'll definitely be trying to fly over the Bay Area again next week, weather permitting, and then beyond that," said organization spokesman David Pomerantz . He said Greenpeace did not want to telegraph its next move but added that it intended "to use all the tools at our disposal both to applaud companies leading the way building the green Internet and those who are falling behind."

Greenpeace's report, "Clicking Clean: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet," awarded its worst ranking to Amazon, which runs Amazon Web Services (AWS), when it came to the use of "dirty" energy, a category that includes nuclear and coal power, to run its data centers.

One side of the craft carried the writing "Building the Green Internet" along with logos of Apple, Facebook, and Google. On the other side, it carried the question "Who's Next to Go Green?" with the message #clickclean below the logos of Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, and Pinterest. In its report, Greenpeace said that those four companies powered their operations with polluting energy.

"It's not that they're bad companies," Pomerantz said. "We love their services. What we want to point out is that there's no reason they can't be leading the way."

Amazon disputed Greenpeace's claims. Netflix declined to comment. In a statement, Twitter said that it "believes strongly in energy efficiency and optimization of resources for minimal environmental impact. As we build out our infrastructure, we continue to strive for even greater efficiency of operations."

We've also contacted Pinterest for comment and will update this post when we have more information.

The Greenpeace Airship A.E. Bates flies over Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., April 3, 2014. © George Nikitin/Greenpeace