*by Maya Richman and Fieke Jansen
We are living in a climate crisis. A group of funders and practitioners, referred to as the Green Screen Coalition, seek to catalyze emerging work and build networks at the nexus of climate justice and digital rights. In October 2022 they brought together 50 people in Berlin, representing digital rights and environmental justice communities, grassroots and indigenous movements, as well as philanthropic funders, to begin to build an impactful strategy for a sustainable and equitable internet. This blog will present the 7 projects that emerged from participants or conversations at the Berlin event (see: insights from the event here), that were supported by the Green Screen Coalition.
Background on the coalition
Initial research commissioned by the Ford Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and Ariadne Network highlighted the different ways in which climate justice and digital rights intersect. Think of: water rights disputes between data centres and local residents, rampant greenwashing disinformation by fossil fuel companies on social media platforms, and the internet’s vast ecological impact as a few examples of the complex problems at the intersection of climate justice and technology. There is a nascent community of practitioners who are working towards sustainable and climate-supportive infrastructures, and investigating where the internet aligns with the climate and environmental justice movement—and where it works against them.
To support this emerging work on the climate implications of technology and digital infrastructures Ariadne, Ford Foundation, Internet Society Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Green Web Foundation and Stiftung Mercator organized a Climate Justice and Digital Rights event in Berlin. Distilled from the research, the conversations at the Berlin event were centred on the four deep dive tracks: policy and advocacy, climate mis- and disinformation, open practices, and standards and governance. This report presents a summary of the discussions for each deep dive. Each section frames the issue’s context, provides an overview of the key discussion points, and presents the priority areas of the group, opportunities and next steps.
Next Steps Awards
To act as a catalyst for new ideas, conversations and networks that are emerging at the nexus the Green Screen Coalition financially supported seven projects following the event. Together the awards encompass community building efforts, a stipend to collaboratively work on next steps, support hosting local events and translation of resources to bring the conversation back to the participants’ own communities.
Open Environmental Data Project
During the October event, the Open Climate track made significant progress identifying places of momentum and collective interest. The Green Screen Coalition is supporting the Open Environmental Data Project to build on this momentum and organize a meeting that brings together leaders from the open and climate movements to work on common principles, strategies and commitments under the umbrella of creating a common agenda.
Fictions and Frictions
Several deep dives noted that the global debates are skewed to American and European knowledge and interests. The Kuirme collective project ‘Fictions and frictions’ will identify gaps and similarities between different narratives and agendas on digital rights and climate justice in Europe and Latin America. The Green Screen Coalition is supporting this collective to amplify the debate beyond narratives of green capitalism, and bring imaginaries and actions from rural and urban Abya Yala (Latin America) to European contexts as well. The question that guides this action: What are the Fictions and Frictions in the intersections between digital rights and climate justice?
Privacy Camp 23
Privacy Camp is an annual event organised by EDRi, VUB-LSTS, Privacy Salon vzw and the Institute for European Studies at USL-B. The event brings together digital rights advocates, activists as well as academics and policy-makers from all around Europe and beyond to discuss the most pressing issues facing human rights in the digital age. In 2023, the event aimed to foster a discussion about the critical state(s) of a world where the digital is a critical resource: the topic was “Critical. Digital. Crisis.” The Green Screen Coalition supported EDRi to explore the intersection of climate justice and digital rights in this context. Privacy Camp discussions have contributed to civil society organisations working on digital rights issues across Europe to consider the implications of the climate crisis. Shawna Finnegan and Becky Kazansky organized a panel ‘Solidarity not solutionism: Wayfinding just paths for digital infrastructure that serves the planet’. Jan Tobias Mudhlberg and Fieke Jansen hosted the workshop: The climate crisis is a key digital rights issue.
Standards and governance
The participants of the standards and governance deep dive left with a clear idea to create shared principles and theory of change that can travel across governance spaces and to test these principles across communities and governance spaces. The Green Screen Coalition is supporting the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to co-host a process to develop a Theory of Change for digital rights advocacy to integrate climate and environmental justice, focusing on the intersections of technical standards and the governance of the internet and related climate technologies.
Access to climate information for indigenous communities
Internet infrastructures and digital tools contribute to the climate crisis and environmental degradation, but these tools can also unlock valuable information to local communities. This project is aimed at equalizing access to climate change information and digital tools for rural Mayan communities. The Green Screen Coalition is supporting this project to help community members translate scientific research about climate change and its local impacts into different digitals infographics with a soft language in Spanish and Yucatecan Maya.
Building bridges in Latin America
To bring the Berlin conversations around open and climate back to Latin American communities, the Green Screen Coalition is supporting Datos, Acceso a la Información y Transparencia to host a regional event in Latin America that will build bridges between Wikimedia communities, digital rights & environmental organizations to promote access to climate & sustainability knowledge.
Technical-territorial coalition building
The climate emergency and the need for a fair energy and technological transition places Brazil and Pan-Amazonia at the center of the global dialogue. There is a need to bring together, connect, and shed light on projects, ideas, and tech frameworks from the Pan-Amazon and work towards a common demand for the Brazilian internet governance forum. The Green Screen Coalition is supporting Popular Audiovisual Center (CPA) to bring together the Digital rights and Socio-environmental Climate Justice: Technologies, internet and community practices, to create a hybrid space to exercise and collect feedback protocols of decentralized governance and open source knowledge in the bases of justice and sustainability practices.