Digital rights and environmental justice: Intersections and funder strategies for better futures

Teresa Perosa

Updated 18 Nov 2021 with more details about our second community call, scheduled for December 2nd 2021.

As the effects of the ongoing climate emergency amplify, the fight for environmental justice has become more crucial than ever.  

While technology is being used to support these efforts, it is also part of the problem: technological ‘innovation’ is taking its own environmental toll, climate disinformation flourishes online, climate justice activists are facing increasing digital attacks and surveillance, and for many of the communities affected the most by the climate emergency, lack of internet access has meant limited access to information about relevant changes, policies and support mechanisms.

The recent emergence of spaces designed to bring together digital rights and climate justice activists – such as the gathering for a sustainable internet and the Open Climate series, among others – show an increasing interest in exploring how convergence between these two communities could strengthen the work of both.

New research: exploring connections 

With that in mind, we are excited to announce a new research project supported by the Ford Foundation, Ariadne and Mozilla that will look at how climate and environmental justice can be centered in digital rights movements and explore some of the areas where digital rights and environmental justice intersect. Specifically, we’ll be exploring what kinds of collaborations between the two currently exist, what challenges these collaborations face, and what opportunities there are for strategic action to achieve goals on both fronts in an intersectional way.

Through our research we aim to develop a set of recommendations for funders to support them in implementing grantmaking strategies aimed at maximising impact in both areas. 

Join our second community call on December 2nd

We kicked off our research with an initial community call in November, which aimed to discuss preliminary research findings, hear from practitioners working on environmental justice and digital rights issues, discuss challenges, and try to identify opportunities for greater collaboration.

To continue the discussion, we’ll be hosting a second community call on December 2nd from 9-10am EST/ 3-4pm CET.

For this call, we’ll be using a more interactive format, with breakout discussions. Topics will include:

  • How does your work address environmental justice and/or digital rights, and how do you want it to?
  • What kinds of support do you think work at this intersection needs in order to be able to address the urgency of the continued, accelerating climate crisis?
  • On the flip side, what kinds of tensions and contradictions exist between digital rights and environmental justice, which must be taken into consideration going forward?

Whether you’re working in either the environmental justice space or the digital rights space or are just interested in the topic, we’d love to see you there. Everyone is welcome!

To register, please email us at hello [at] theengineroom [dot] org.

We want to hear from you!

If you’re working at or exploring the intersection of climate justice and digital rights, we’d love to hear from you: please feel free to email us at hello [at] theengineroom [dot] org. For updates on how our research is going, follow us on Twitter @engnroom, or sign up to our newsletter here.

Photo by Abraham Barrera via Unsplash.


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