Climate action and social equity are interlinked.
Tech solutions are not neutral: what they optimise must be interrogated. The current system follows a political and economic model that privatises gains in the hands of a few and socialises harms on populations and the planet. To optimise for a feminist future centered around equality and sustainability, it is crucial to see and understand the links between climate action, historical and contemporary colonial structures and social equity.
Fieke Jansen & Michelle Thorne:
»The climate crisis and the future of technology are inextricably linked and must be seen as such. But at the political and economic level, the two are merely framed as intersecting at the question of how technology can support responses to the climate crisis. Examples include more efficient data centres, more efficient pesticide uses in agriculture and having early warning systems for when things go wrong.
This sort of discussion prevents recognition of the environmental harms inflicted by technology and exacerbated by our current economic models. These include the extraction of raw minerals, the vast consumption of water, electricity and land to house and run data centres and physical infrastructure, the creation of increasing amounts of e-waste and its unequal global distribution. The harms also extend to the ways in which technology is speeding up already extractive industries.
The key question we need to ask is, What are we optimising for? Currently, it’s a political and economic model where gains are privatised in the hands of a few while harms are socialised on people and planet. We must step away from our current approach, where the focus is on mitigation, and take a future oriented approach which makes our societies more people- and planet-friendly. Here, technology plays only a small part.
A feminist approach to climate action incorporates into any analysis the roles played by technology, power, money and exploitation. We need to ask: Whose version of the future we are currently creating? Whose imaginations have shaped our present realities? Who gets to speak and whose voice is heard loudest? What knowledge is privileged and why? Asking these questions will allow us to unpack these problems and envision an alternative future in which business and politics isn’t just less bad, but fundamentally different.«
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Branch is an online magazine written by and for people who dream of a sustainable and just internet for all. The authors believe that the internet must serve collective liberation and ecological sustainability. They want the internet to dismantle the power structures that delay climate action and for the internet itself to become a sustainable and positive force for climate justice. The Branch writers see this magazine as a space for personal reflection, critical engagement with technology and internet economics, as well as experimentation and storytelling.