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Issue 8 community-assembled playlist

The power of art in motivation and personal storytelling can be truly moving. We have molded that idea into the shape of a community-assembled playlist. Curated with diverse contributions from our Branch community, each track resonates with themes of resilience and unity, inspiring listeners to take action or highlighting experiences around climate action. As you explore the playlist, you’ll encounter lyrics that are not just nice, but moving and poetic, reflecting the collective aspirations of our contributors for a better world.

Andra Day – Rise up

All we need is hope
And for that we have each other

This song fills me with strength and hope. Its lyrics remind us that, despite challenges, we can rise up again and again. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of solidarity and mutual support in difficult times.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Architects – Black Lungs

You wanna make your Hell a reality?
Black lungs for the young if they dare to breathe
Sure sounds like Heaven to me
You’ve gotta cut the roots to kill the weeds

Architects were a band I got into with my friends while in school, a good while ago, and existential dread of climate change could sometimes feel overwhelming. This song does a good job of recreating this feeling, but also feels like a call to action.

Submitted by: Anonymous

A.R. Rahman – Dil Se Re (Hindi)

It’s a sweet worry
Where a heart is, is some worry
Where some worry is, is a heart

This Hindi one is about the spirited resignation that people are bound to care and hurt for that which they love. When I’m having a hard time justifying my limited awareness and impact in the face of overwhelming injustice of all kinds, this sentiment reminds me that idealism and solidarity are an unrelenting human force. There is beauty in knowing so many people care about a better world, even if the task seems incredilby contradictive and complex.

Submitted by: Lima Dastgeer

Big Red Machine – Reese

Well, I’m more than that
Well, I’m more than that

Justin Vernon from Bon Iver has shaped and influenced the music scene with his approach and emotional infused style of creating music and writing. His stance to social justice and nature conservation has always been interesting, as he knows the power of music can shape hearts. This song has almost like a therapeutic repetition to it, more of an inner energy of self healing. Justin talks about this song as one of his favourites in an interview with Zane Lowe – which puts a testament on the quality of this piece.

Submitted by: Ahsan

Bob Marley – Everything is gonna be alright

Singin’: ‘Don’t worry about a thing’
I won’t worry

“Everything is gonna be alright” instills hope and calm. It is a hymn to the joy of life and reminds us that despite the challenges, everything is going to be alright. It is a song that comforts the soul and makes us believe in a better future.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Bruce Springsteen – Working on a dream

It’s such a great feel-good song that reminds me to take things easy and to make the process as enjoyable as possible and not focus on the size of the goal so much.

Submitted by: Anonymous

Caloncho – Somos Instantes (Mexican Spanish)

The song “Somos Instantes” makes me feel an urgency to live the present fully. His notes resonate as a reminder that life is fleeting and precious. It invites me to let go of fear and stress, embracing the philosophy of sustainable hedonism. It is a song that celebrates life and reminds us that every moment is precious and ephemeral.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Somos instantes,
Un ratito nada más
Seres fugaces,
Que llegan y se van

We are moments,
Just a little while.
Fleeting beings,
That come and go.

Citi Zēni – Eat Your Salad (Explicit Content)

This is a song from Eurovision 2022 that I loved (didn’t make it past the semifinals, though it should have!) – the campiness, the energy, the upbeat tempo. But also the message. I thought it was a great way to encourage sustainability to the wider European music community and in such an uplifting way. It also came at a time when my wife and I were spending time in Mexico City, so the whole Eurovision 2022 library has a special place in my heart, as it painted the time we spent there. It just makes me happy!

Submitted by: Michael J. Oghia

I ride my bicycle to work instead of a car
All of my groceries are divided by weight and stored in glass jars (Yeah)
Got my reusable bag
That swag, my flex, my flag
Zero waste, that is my jam
Save fuel and sell your truck

Diego Torres – Color Esperanza (Argentinian Spanish)

“Color esperanza” fills me with optimism and determination. Its lyrics inspire to believe in possibilities, to overcome fears and to embrace the future with hope in our hearts. It is a song that invites you to paint life with vibrant colors and to face challenges with courage and faith.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Saber que se puede, querer que se pueda
Quitarse los miedos, sacarlos afuera

Pintarse la cara, color esperanza
Tentar al futuro, con el corazón

Knowing that you can, wanting to be able to
Take away your fears, take them out

Paint your face, color hope,
Tempting the future, with the heart.

Elena Rose – Me lo merezco (Venezuelan Spanish)

A hymn of self-affirmation and self appreciation, the song conveys a message of deservedness and gratitude for life. The repetition of the mantra “I deserve it” (Me lo merezco) acts as a constant reminder that one is worthy of love, happiness and receiving all the good things life has to offer.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Amor de verdad, me lo merezco.
Que todo salga bien, me lo merezco.
Lo bueno viene a mí,

La vaina se me da,
Hasta la vista al mar, me lo merezco.

Real love, I deserve it.
May everything go well, I deserve it.
Good things come to me,

The pod is given to me,
Even the view of the sea, I deserve it.

Ellie Goulding – Love I’m given

Sometimes when you learn about the impact that your past choices have made on the climate you can feel really guilty, and you can drown in the harms you feel you’ve created. This songs helps me get past that. Instead I think all I can do from here on in is act with love, and if I do that, and try my best to make things better perhaps I can. And perhaps a stable climate can be acheived and will stay, and those harms of mine from the past can be forgiven.

Submitted by: Hannah Smith

And maybe I’m paying for the things I’ve done
And maybe I’m paying for the ones I’ve hurt
But I feel a change in the love I’m given
I’m turning the page on my indecision
And maybe you’ll stay if I overcome
The highs and the lows and the rising sun
But I feel a change in the love I’m given
I’m turning the page now, am I forgiven?

Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now

Climate change is right here, right now. I am right here, right now. If not me then who? If not now then when? This song makes me feel like I can take on the world!

Submitted by: Chris Pointon

Galija – Ti mozes sve (Serbian: You can do anything)

It brings on a wave of tranquility and a fragile kind of motivation. There’s a part of the song where the artist sings ‘I’m afraid to be here’ and still chooses to say ‘You can do anything’ in the chorus. In the climate space, we often have to hold opposites that are both true at the same time and still choose to persevere.

Submitted by: Anonymous

Gojira – A Sight To Behold

I have recommended this song because it makes us question our choices and reconsider our everyday actions. And that’s how it makes me feel at the same time – introspective and determined. I wouldn’t highlight any lyrics in particular, I think it’s better to listen to it as a whole masterpiece that it is.

Submitted by: Luka Boskovic

Goldfinger – Superman

This song has been in and out of my life for years. At first, as a teen, it was an “I’m awesome!” song that boosted confidence and made me feel significant and powerful. As I’ve grown, it’s adopted new meanings as the ambiguous lyrics have taken root. It’s been on my running playlist and it played as I completed my first marathon last year. But as well as having the energy and power of a pop-punk tune that gets me active and moving, the lyrics speak of someone who recognises an impossible task in front of them, and recognises that they are imperfect and weak, and yet are motivated to continue to do everything they can as if the impossible were possible! It’s this attitude that I apply to the climate action I take. I know my efforts are small in the grand scheme of things, but small efforts for a cause that is worthy is a superhero move in a world where the default action is to shrug.

Submitted by: James Clarke

So here I am
Doing everything I can
Holding on to what I am
Pretending I’m a superman

But could I do more?
Yeah, I’m really not sure
I know I’m running circles but I can’t quit
And I’m so confused about what to do
Sometimes I wanna throw it all away

India Arie – I Am Light

“I Am Light” by India Arie makes me feel empowered and connected to my essence. Her lyrics defy external labels and limitations, reminding me that I am more than my circumstances or mistakes. It inspires me to recognize the divine light within me and embrace my true essence. It is a song that celebrates authenticity and oneness with the universe.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

I am not the things my family did.
I am not the voices in my head.
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside.
I’m not the mistakes that I have made.
Or any of the things that caused me pain.
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind.
I am not the colour of my eyes.
I am not the skin on the outside.
I am not my age. I am not my race
My soul inside is all light.
I am devinity defined.
I am the god on the inside. I am a star.
A piece of it all. I am light.

Jake Bugg – All I Need

I love listening to this song as it’s energetic, and really speaks to me about trying to find a way forward in the world of digital sustainability. I feel that sometimes the pointless adoption of tech is a runaway train that seems inevitable, and I wonder if we can really do anything about it. This song reminds to try despite that, this could be our time!

Submitted by: Hannah Smith

Call me cynical, but original
Tryin’ to fit into a world that’s so digital
Came to let you know
I left the pigeon hole
Now I gotta find an edge, won’t let it go
I don’t think twice
‘Cause I know my mind
This could be our time

James Humphrys – Eyes Up Front

We’re down to the wire

A pop banger with a message: the stakes are high, we keep talking about making changes for the better but we have to remain determined, focused and continue driving for positive change.

Submitted by: Sarah Humphrys

John Mayer – Waiting On The World To Change

Cause when they own the information, oh they can bend it all they want.
One day our generation is going to rule the population

This is a song about struggle and hope, how systems need to change. How world leaders are doing wrong, but I’d like to think there is hope to how we can rise and beat it. The style of track has a ‘Marvin Gaye – What’s going on’ influence which gives us a sad reminder of the state of the world. But for me Mayer’s track has more of a positive feeling about it as it finishes with ‘one day our generation is going to rule the population’.

Submitted by: Ahsan

Karol G – Mientras Me Curo De Cora (Colombian Spanish)

This song makes me feel good, because it has a lot of empathy with the person who hears it, in my case in my moments where I felt sad or just low spirits because things were not going well. It invited me to take things calmly and embrace my sad mood to know that it’s ok to feel bad and that things can change. Learn to be resilient.

Submitted by: Stephany Carrasco Sardon

Y mientras me curo del corazón
Hoy salgo pa’l mar a aprovechar que hay sol
Está bien no sentirse bien, es normal, no es delito
Estoy viva, más na’ necesito
Y mientras me curo del corazón
Hoy salgo pa’l mar a aprovechar que hay sol
Está bien no sentirse bien, es normal, no es delito
Y mañana será más bonito

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Magenta Mountain

Dreamlike, thoughtful, imaginative.

Submitted by: Alexander Liss

Look past the dying trees
Beyond waterless seas
Atop the horizon, adjacent to the sun
Give my word that’s there
Magenta Mountain

Lanterns on the Lake – Before They Excavate

It’s not a very upbeat song, but when I hear it it makes me think of how future generations will look back on how we responded to the climate crisis and makes me more determined to create positive change within our lifetimes.

Submitted by: Michelle Barker

The hour is late, they’re closing in,
It’s high time that we begin
This whole planet could go up in flames tonight
And your small talk is just about killing me here

Little Comets – Three Minute Faltz

For me, this song perfectly encapsulates the feelings of frustration that come from knowing that there are so many ills in the world but feeling like everyone else is content to ignore them, and in fact are being trained to look the other way.

Submitted by: Anonymous

Everyone’s dead
But that was in the future
While you’re alive
Just contemplate your duty
To the Screen in your hand
Eventually will destroy ya

Macaco ft. Jorge Drexler, Joan Manuel Serrat – Blue (Diminuto Planeta Azul)

The song “Blue (Tiny Blue Planet)” transports me to a state of deep reflection, as its lyrics evoke the transience of human existence in the vast cosmos, reminding me of our smallness in the universe. It is a hymn to the love of the tiny, a reminder of our connection to the universe and to each other.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

Everything happens in an instant,
A little tiny dot, a tiny grain of sand,
A speck of dust from the universe.
Everything happens in an instant.
The cosmos say that we are the
shooting stars.

Blue, little tiny planet blue,
Where our people live,
And you are living too…oh
Blue, the point of view is up to you, you, you.

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today

Probably one of the key tracks that captured the zeitgeist, but keeps coming back as we see ourselves in the same positions 50 years later. Song about awareness, struggle and hope. The 50 year anniversary visual video is a good watch, gives hope that love can heal and change the way we approach problems.

Submitted by: Ahsan

Matisyahu – One Day

Matisyahu’s “One Day” fills me with hope and optimism. His lyrics inspire a future of equality and peace, where violence and hatred are a thing of the past. It envisions a world where we are all free and united under the sun, singing hymns of freedom. It is a song that invites us to believe in a better tomorrow and urges us to work for it.

Submitted by: Catalina Zapata

One day, this all will change,
treat people the same.
Stop with the violence,
down with the hate.

One day, we’ll all be free
and proud to be
Under the same sun,
singin’ songs of freedom like “One day”

Milton Nascimento – Tudo O Que Voce Queria Ser (Brazillian Portuguese)

It really inspires me to think about change as something I can decide on and effect.

Submitted by: Emilio

There’s sun and rain in your road
But it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t hurt
You still think and that’s better than nothing
Everything you can be
Or nothing

Muse – Unsustainable

It’s always reminded/inspired me about the fundamental challenge(s) we face and the line “you’re unsustainable” can be projected at different things/obstacles.

Submitted by: Oliver Cronk

All natural and technological processes proceed in such a way that the availability of the remaining energy decreases. In all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves an isolated system, the entropy of that system incre,cre,cre,cre,c,c,creases. Energy continuously flows from being concentrated, to becoming dispersed, spread out, wasted and useless. New energy cannot be created and high grade energy is being destroyed. An economy based on endless growth is… Unsustainable!

Naughty Boy Featuring Maiday & Mic Righteous – One Way

I’ve always felt this song helps me to explain the conflict I feel in working on climate action. I feel threatened by climate change, but I also feel compelled to help with it. I’d really rather keep my hood up and ignore the work that needs to be done, and leave it to someone else to fix. But instead, I try to choose to help get us out of this place and try and make it better. It’s another way of saying “If not me, who?”.

Submitted by: Hannah Smith

What if the very thing that threatens you, is the very thing that beckons you
Roll up your sleeves, pull down your hood
Why do all the bad things feel so good?
Cos’ there’s only one way, one way to fix it
One way, one way to make it better
One way to get out of this place if you want it

Nina Pušlar – Tople oči (Slovenian)

Warms my heart.

Submitted by: Rok Meglič

Redki ljudje so, še takšni kot ti
vsem se neskončno mudi
Ti me poslušaš v tišini
začutiš stvari
ki jih srce govori

Rare people are, still like you
Everybody is in an endless hurry
You listen to me in silence
You feel things
That the heart speaks

Novo Amor – Birthplace

Birthplace is a beautifully delicate song that reminds me of my home village surrounded by green forests and thick mists. It reminds me of my connection to nature growing up and inspires me to keep those environments alive and thriving. The music video also speaks toward the problem of oceanic plastic pollution and protecting our oceans. Novo Amor has often taken pro-environmental stances with his music which I also connect with.

Submitted by: Anonymous

Omsphere – Just a Plastic Bottle

‘It was just a plastic bottle … just the one!’

I’ve recommended this tune because it inspires me on several levels. Firstly, it is the soundtrack to the short film ‘Just a Plastic Bottle’, a student film made by Marcia Thompson (aka Trax n Trex) that tells the story of a depressed mother who is trying to come to to terms with her mental health issues that are mainly due to her anger at the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean. Despite being the writer/director’s first film, the story struck a chord with audiences worldwide and won five international awards, which I find incredibly inspiring in itself.

Produced by Free-Spirit Records label manager Jay ‘Journey OM’ aka Omsphere, the track itself starts with sounds of the ocean and seaside, which reminds me of the poem and story Marcia wrote on the beach in Thailand that inspired the short film, then the haunting basslines build up to take you/the dancefloor on a journey like a plastic bottle in the ocean. It’s an edgy and atmospheric track , which, like the short film, is designed to make us think about our relationship with the environment and our role within it.

Finally, the driving basslines mean its a great track to get the dancefloor moving, and after playing it out a few times, my musical partner in crime Wendy and I liked it so much we put it on our Amaluna ‘Lunar Phase’ compilation, which was released on Free-Spirit Records in December 2019.

Submitted by: DJ FlibbertiGibbet (half of Amaluna)

One Republic – Truth to Power

This song was played to us after the 3-hour long training with Al Gore about climate change. It still gives me goose bumps. It’s even stronger if you watch the clip on YouTube. Makes me want to fight for the future each time I listen to it.

Submitted by: Marketa Benisek

I could tell you I’m immune to everything
But that’s a lie
Dust don’t turn to flowers
Skies don’t disappear
But I’ve seen truth to power
Oh, if you could see me the way I see you
If you could feel me the way I feel you
You’d be a believer

Pharell Williams – Happy

Happy, uplifting, joyful – great for dancing on my own in my kitchen disco and with friends at parties. The original ’24 hour’ video is fantastic – inclusive and diverse and fun. Even better is the ‘Engineering Happiness’ version made by the Institution of Civil Engineers that includes some of my colleagues filmed on campus at LSBU and celebrates some amazing architecture and infrastructure in London

Submitted by: Deborah Andrews

Smog – Let Me See The Colts

Let me see the colts that will run next year
Show them to a gambling man, thinking of the future

This song brings me a feeling of hope for the future and future generations, and a desire to keep making change for the better. It seems a daunting task and easy to get bogged down in the cold details, but thinking about ‘the colts that will run next year’ (literally, and figuratively – my daughters’ generation) helps to keep reminding me why we’re doing it.

Submitted by: Neil

Stornoway – We Are The Battery Human

Cause we need to fix our loose connection. Out in the natural world wide web.

This song is all about disconnecting from our autopilot ways of being online. It’s positive and it urges us to get outdoors and find connection with the natural world.

Submitted by: Emily Trotter

Sunlounger, C.A.P. & Stephanie Asscher – Heart of the Sun

The song is hopeful, uplifting, and positive.

Submitted by: Anonymous

Freedom rise, a whisper in my soul,
breathe life into me.
In the daydream of our yesterday,

lost is now found
Ray of light to the heart of the sun.
Million ways to the heart of the sun

Willy Mason – Oxygen

It speaks to a strong desire for positive change in the world, through hope, resilience, justice, and freedom. It talks about the youth of today carrying the light forwards in a dark, uncertain future, but also the important role that the adults of today play in guiding them into that future through our actions today.

Submitted by: Fershad

Xavier Rudd – Follow The Sun

It makes me feel connected to my surroundings, like everything is going to be okay because there are already so many beautiful things in us and around us.

Submitted by: Anonymous

When you feel love coming down on you
Like a heavy wave
When you feel this crazy society
Headin’ to the strand
Take a straw to the nearest waters
And remember your place
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you’ve came
So which way is the wind blowin’
And what does your heart say?

Xiuhtezcatl – Broken

Xiuhtezcatl’s story and enduring work as a youth/young indigenous North American climate activist urges action in the face of hopeless-feeling odds and a whole-planet perspective.

Submitted by: Anonymous

While the walls fall and the world burn
Seas rise and the clock turn
The earth fighting back with hurricanes
And the earthquakes and the pouring rain
This is for every life lost
For the legacy of Standing Rock
For the sacred land that we desecrate
The trauma my people still carry today…

Yes I’m broken, the world is too, that’s how it is
But things have to fall apart
to be reborn as more than this
I believe that the world can be

more than what it is
I believe all the loss we’ve felt

will teach us how to give
I look back at our ancestors
and how they used to live
In balance with the planet,
that’s how we’ve got to live
With love being the compass
that guides the way, leads us home

10 people share what finding beauty in the imperfect means to them

For this piece, we invite you to switch gears and pour yourself into a moment of calm. Imagine yourself in a favourite spot. Take a moment to breathe deep. Allow yourself to relax and put today’s stresses to one side.

We invite you to grant yourself a rare moment to get lost in the thoughts shared by others as they reflected to our prompt: “what is imperfectly beautiful in climate tech to you”?

“The fact that we don’t have it all figured out. The culture in tech companies is often about us knowing the ‘right’ solution. Both for building tech and internally in terms of team structures and how we collaborate as humans. But what’s ‘right’ is highly subjective. And if we discard the notion of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, we open up space for a much larger diversity of ideas. Things we can try collectively, improve, revise, shape, shift, and change. And there’s beauty in this state of unknown and willingness to try.”

Sandra PallierClimateAction.tech

“Hints of the digital make the everyday, as I attune my ears to listen: Birdsong atop an archaic power generator hums, water pipes that course through buildings, at times fast during a torrential rain, slowing down to drips when the rain tapers out. The frustration at a phone battery that halves itself in sub-zero temperatures, wondering how to rephrase my question to the energy provider’s chatbot for assistance for the 4th time.

The unevenness – and various rhythms in which we experience “climate” and “technology” in the everyday bear reminders that machines and tools do have hiccups. The scatter rhythms, arguably – speaks of a syncopated jazz in which the beat never arrives on time. Entangled within these relations is the intention to embrace a spirit of free experimentation, the undoing and redefinition of “nature”: for hybrid interfaces, sensibilities, and temporalities.”


“I think it’s intriguing how climate tech constantly falls victim to perfectionist tendencies, but many other technologies/industries haven’t had this same battle. Technology has always been about creating something bigger and better, and never “we have to get it absolutely right on the first go.” The first TVs didn’t have color, the first phones barely made reliable calls – heck, the Internet wasn’t always filled to the brim with GIFs and TikToks! That never kept us from loving our yesteryear devices, why must it with green technology? Technology is meant to always evolve, and while I myself sometimes fall victim to the ‘make sure its perfect’ mindset, I think there’s a lot of beauty in knowing that things can always get better.”

Sammy HarperFounding Member & Creator of Terrabyte

“The way climate activists from the Global South are determined and persistent in campaigning for their communities’ rights is beautiful. They have had to work so hard to be heard, to have their contributions recognised and included in mainstream climate discourse or innovation shows how imperfect the system is. The system is imperfect because it favours one type of knowledge or one type of climate related suffering (namely that in Western countries) above those in the rest of the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recognised colonialism as a root cause and driver of the climate crisis because of the hard work of climate activists from the Global South. This opens the door for increased recognition of their hard work, their efforts, and their knowledge which is grossly undervalued and could instead be used to create climate technology that addresses the issues while putting people and planet first, for example, in building an inclusive internet.”

Samantha NdiwalanaSenior Researcher at World Benchmarking Alliance

“Measuring the CO2 emissions in software can be extremely challenging, especially in complex web apps where there can many moving parts, some of which we are not in control of e.g. cloud services or 3rd party APIs.

It requires expertise in many parts of the tech stack, careful consideration of which servers and 3rd party services to use, and an understanding of how energy use and the manufacturing of physical devices might translate into CO2 emissions.

You might say it’s imperfect. In many situations we have to make assumptions and sometimes it can feel like we are making too many. Some of the existing tools to measure CO2 emissions of web sites have come under criticism for this reason.

But assumptions play a crucial role in all scientific fields. How can you measure or test anything in such a complex world? You need to make assumptions. As long as they are clearly explained and the testing and validation are rigorous, you might say it can be beautiful.”

Nat Darke CTO of Ecosy Travel

“Over the last year, I’ve felt increasingly unsatisfied in my web design business, particularly around the types of industries I was attracting. While I’ve always aimed to work with ‘kind businesses’ I wanted to use my skills to contribute more directly to areas that I feel passionate about – climate change, environmental protection, sustainable living. Buoyed on by this idea, I decided to create two products directly targeted at these industries. While I continue to support my original niche of clients, I’m now exploring offering these two new products as pro-bono projects to organisations that are doing good things for our planet. Currently I’m in conversation with a permaculture non-profit to provide a website. This has opened my mind to how we can offer our skills and products to contribute in a positive way, while finding deeper meaning in our work and still generating a sustainable income. It might not look traditionally how we imagined but it is possible.”

Alana JadeWeb designer, Alana Jade Studio

“In the context of the climate crisis, I think of finding beauty in the imperfect to mean finding optimism in a world right now where that is hard to find. It can be very depressing knowing that the world is deteriorating in front of our eyes because of what us, as humans have done to our planets for years and there is not much we can do to reverse it. However, I find comfort in talking to people in the climate space and knowing there are a lot of companies who are working on specific issues to combat climate change.”

Brett Duboff UX Designer

“Digital technologies hold immense promise for environmental sustainability, yet the ICT sector contributes approximately 2-6% of global CO2 emissions, demanding urgent environmental innovations. 

In the pursuit of digital sustainability, a new principle emerges: finding beauty in imperfection. The journey towards improvement and innovation, despite obstacles, becomes crucial. Yet, the lack of standardized methods poses a challenge, and existing environmental impact standards face limitations in the digital domain.

Enter projects like ECO:DIGIT, funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs, which aims to provide a transparent solution. It develops open methods for evaluating and optimizing software, focusing on cloud platforms, edge computing, mobile devices and mobile networks.

Challenges are formidable. However, through collaboration and embracing imperfections, projects like ECO:DIGIT aspire to reshape the digital landscape – by acknowledging and addressing imperfections.”

Teresa A. ZeckProject CoordinatorTravel

“I think the climate tech community itself is beautifully imperfect. Comprised of real people, with real lives, all imperfect in their own ways. Perfection doesn’t exist in nature, so why do we as humans believe what we’re creating within it will, or can be, perfect? An example would be: Instead of adding negativity online when a fellow human shares an imperfect idea, or project, perhaps we need to embrace the human nature and lift those people up with positivity and optimism, to inspire them to go and explore, go one step further, without the pressure of perfection.”

Nick LewisSustainable Web Developer, nicklewis.dev

“I have always believed that technology is full of problem solvers, doers, and innovators. ClimateTech provides the context for technologists to make a difference and to have a positive impact on the one thing we should all be focused on: addressing climate change. This is our generational opportunity to reset our digital pathway and create a foundation for sustainable digital growth. I believe that the logic of taking action and the ability to act are no longer the challenge; it is whether our desire for the kind of deep-rooted and systemic change needed to create a more equitable world matches our technical abilities that will be the defining thing that holds us back or propels us forward.”

Eric ZieCEO & Founder, GoCodeGreen

Editors’ letter

This issue of Branch originates from our shared place of frustration. A frustration that we’re all holding ourselves back from making the internet a better place for everyone – because the illusion of perfectionism can loom too large. It can catch us, like a rabbit in the headlights, rooting us firmly to the spot whilst danger hurtles towards us in the form of runaway climate change. Leaving us unsure which decisions will be the best ones. Thinking surely someone else will do it better than we ever could. Wondering if our efforts are likely to make any useful impact at all. 

But one thing we can have certainty about, is that thoughts like this deserve to be challenged.

Well ahead of working on Branch together, we often found ourselves talking about how we were overcoming thoughts like these. We share a context of seeking to build improved digital emission measurement methodologies and the frequent pushback against them in our day jobs. Marketa at Wholegrain Digital and Hannah at Green Web Foundation

So we’ve been counselling ourselves to keep at it. To keep finding ways to progress amongst the imperfections and setbacks of what we were working on, especially on the hard days. To keep striving to create something meaningful. Something we could regard as a type of beauty, even if not everyone sees it that way. 

It wasn’t long before we’d end calls with each other using the shorthand of “remember to find some beauty in that imperfect today!”.

Somewhere along the way, we realised something else – we’re not alone in these struggles. 

Anyone working to create meaningful change is also likely to feel frustrated like this. Perhaps it could be helpful to see how others in this field tackle things, and find the will to keep at it? What could we learn from the wider tech community and wider sustainability community? What other practices are out there that might inspire and guide us? Most importantly, where do we look for hope in the face of increasingly severe climate change?

And so the concept of openly examining how you might “find beauty in the imperfect”, especially in the context of creating a just, sustainable, and more humane internet emerged.

Issue 8 is above all an expression of the thoughts that linger in the minds of many, but that are spoken aloud by only a few. Here we can highlight the importance of going back to basics, especially in today’s world overrun by screens and speed, to envision what the internet should actually bring to humanity. Accepting that these subjective answers will be imperfectly beautiful in themselves.

This issue is an ode to this exploration, and the many fascinating perspectives found along the way. Our hope is that this issue’s theme will resonate with you, like it did for us. Perhaps not perfectly. But maybe through connecting you to some of the 35 or so authors that shared their thoughts with us, and by extension, you.

We hope you feel the beauty of the human connection through this online magazine. 


Hannah and Marketa
Issue 8 Guest Editors

Photo of Hannah Smith
Hannah Smith – Director of Operations at Green Web Foundation
Green Web Foundation logo
Photo of Marketa Benisek
Marketa Benisek Digital Sustainability Lead at Wholegrain Digital
Wholegrain Digital logo

What’s in issue 8?

As we put the individual articles of this issue together and stepped back, we realised that the theme of “finding beauty in the imperfect” can be viewed not only as a mindset, but also as a loose journey guiding us on how to build a just, sustainable and more humane web. The grouping of these articles reflects that.

Before we jump into the journey, we start with a welcome and orientation to the space. This editors’ letter gives you the origin story and thinking behind this issue’s theme “finding beauty in the imperfect”. 

Alongside this, we share the quick reflections of ten members of the ClimateAction.tech community who reflected on our prompt: “what is imperfectly beautiful in climate tech to you?”. This is a great way to ease yourself into the topics and viewpoints that come up and are discussed in more detail throughout.

You might also consider taking a look at our Branch issue 8 playlist to get you in the mood. 40 songs have been suggested by the readers of Branch that help them to keep being motivated to be catalysts for change. Afterall, music is a great way to create a sense of connection and motivation for the body and mind to take action. 

We then come to our first step: the topic of meaningful connection.

Step 1: Meaningful connection

Meaningful connection is important for everyone and a basic social foundation. Experiencing connections with others that are authentic, human and beautiful has profound impacts on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. You might say it’s what makes life worth living. The internet has the potential to give us more of this, and often does. But it can also be too much. Perfect digital connectivity, access to the internet in all ways and places, can overwhelm our capacity for finding true connection instead of enhancing it.

The four pieces in this category set out to explore what all this is for through different perspectives of how we can create meaningful connections in context of using digital technologies or solving sustainability challenges.

Talking it out: Restoring information ecosystems through authentic human connections by Bárbara Paes and Olivia Johnson, explores if we should we prioritise human-driven processes over tech fixes to build stronger information ecosystems based on trust and meaningful connections.

One Movement, Four Wings: Connecting climate strategies by Melissa Hsiung, shares a tool for adopting a more constructive approach to climate action: the butterfly metaphor for transformative social change.

Connectivity, infrastructure and the defence of the Amazon’s socio-biodiverse ecosystems by Hemanuel Veras explores how the lack of network infrastructure in the Amazon limits digital access for indigenous and traditional communities while supporting environmentally harmful enterprises.

What can digital sustainability learn from accessibility? by Mike Masey, considers how we can apply lessons and patterns from the accessibility movement to the emerging digital sustainability movement.

Step 2: Solarpunk and speculative futures

If we can imagine it, we can build it. Throughout history, the most significant scientific and technological advancements have been fueled by imaginative thinking. As the world’s resources become more limited, imagining how we can create beautiful, meaningful connections within imperfect constraints will become more necessary. Understanding that the world’s resources are finite underscores the importance of using our imagination to innovate responsibly. It is that imagination that gives us hope about a better state of things and propels us towards taking action.

The six pieces in this section explore imaginings of a better, more meaningfully connected tech future, and what a more just and sustainable internet could be.

Octavia’s Future is Here, Now What by Mica Le John, examines the parallels and divergences between Butler’s fictional world and our current reality, offering a call to imagine the future you want.

Care for life, care for the chips: the future is re-used, recycled and permacomputing by Alistair Alexander, explores the imperfect answers arising from asking what we can do to radically cut down on our spiralling CPU habit.

Toward a Pragmatic Future: Accepting Imperfect Systems whilst Striving for Regeneration by Oliver Cronk, shares ideas on how the internet can support a future of regeneration and symbiosis over extraction.

Solarpunk Meets Better Business: Reimagining a Sustainable Digital Future by Simon Blackler shares a solarpunk inspired vision for how we, and his company Krystal, can create a world where business, technology, and nature are in harmony

Pause by Jo Lindsay Walton’s essay explores the imperfect questions that can still spark important conversations, including when to ask for pause.

Ministry of Imagination Manifesto by Rob Hopkins describes a manifesto that’s based on a positive vision of the future and is appropriately ambitious to the scale of the challenges the world is facing.

Step 3: Design philosophy

If imagination is thinking of what’s possible, design is the process of turning imagination into reality. A design philosophy is the blueprint of your values, reflecting what you consider to be good design and why.

These five pieces in this step delve into various design values that embrace imperfection within the realm of fostering meaningful digital connections.

Designing Friction where Marketa Benisek interviewed Luna Maurer, Roel Wouters, creators of the ‘Designing Friction’ project where they challenge the digital culture’s obsession with seamless experiences and advocate for intentional friction in design to create deeper human connections.

The Wabi Sabi Web by Tom Greenwood, asks if the flawless digital world could take inspiration from the Wabi Sabi philosophy to incorporate imperfection and impermanence into digital designs?

Echoes of electronic waste by Joanna Murzyn investigates the real impact of e-waste, through this immersive documentation of a community in India, surrounded by the e-waste we design into our world.

Imperfect design for a better future by Thorsten Jonas, explores the concept of perfection, arguing that seeking it creates injustice and imbalance, and advocating for a paradigm shift towards imperfection and balance in design processes.

Alternative networks: Consciously designing from within earthly dynamics by Jesse Thompson explores how recognising our connection to nature can guide us in designing a more sustainable and fair internet.

Step 4: Perfection is the enemy of progress

Perfectionism gets in the way of us building our designs. For most people, it’s the mindset of striving for flawlessness, setting excessively high standards and being overly concerned with mistakes or imperfections. This can create blockers that prevent any achievement at all, and in its worst guises can be deliberately used to hold others back. In the context of addressing climate change, we need to unlock every achievement we can, as quickly as we can.

This set of five pieces sets out to explore the downsides of perfectionism in the context of software development and data analysis, particularly when applied to solving sustainability-related problems, and how such drawbacks can be overcome.

The perfect site doesn’t exist by Michelle Barker explains what building a humane web means to her and how notions of perfectionism can stand in the way of developers building it.

Rabbit holes of perfection by Mary Pitt examines how Western medicine and Tech are both chasing the holy grail of perfect data, why this risks trashing the planet, and what can be done about it.

From bytes to carbon savings: Immediate’s sustainable transformation of Good Food by Tommy Ferry, Marketa Benisek, Michelle Whitehead, Linzi Ricketts, Filippa Furniss, Graham Martin is an interview between Wholegrain Digital and the team at Immediate that discusses the sustainable transformation of Good Food website.

Small steps, big goals: Building sustainable change by Kim Lea Rothe considers when we work towards a sustainable world, how taking small steps often might be more helpful than trying to change everything all at once.

The perfect data paradox by Rory Brown explains a few simple principles that can liberate data from the perfection paradox, which can work for everyone.

Thank yous

This issue of Branch could not have been brought to you without the guidance and support of the managing editors, Michelle Thorne and Chris Adams. A million thank yous for letting us loose on this experiment.

Chris Lewis and Georgie Monaghan, at Wholegrain Digital, also took a massive leap of faith in this project by agreeing to collaborate. Thank you!

A huge thank you is owed to Brett Duboff, who helped us and our authors find imagery that brought their pieces to life. Brett, you’ve been so patient throughout, thank you!

We also owe a huge debt of gratitute to Clarote, who illustrated us a beautiful front cover and gave us much joy with her interpretation of the theme.

And of course, we must also thank our 36 contributors who we worked with to craft and share their perspectives. We are enormously grateful and have learned so much from you all.

Alana Jade, Alistair Alexander, Bárbara Paes, Eric Zie, Filippa Furniss, Graham Martin, Hemanuel Veras, Jesse Thompson, Jo Lindsay Walton, Joanna Murzyn, Kim Lea Rothe, Lima Dastgeer, Linzi Ricketts, Luna Maurer, Mary Pitt, Melissa Hsiung, Mica Le John, Michelle Barker, Michelle Whitehead, Mike Masey, Min, Nat Darke, Nick Lewis, Oliver Cronk, Olivia Johnson, Rob Hopkins, Roel Wouters, Rory Brown, Samantha Ndiwalana, Sammy Harper, Sandra Pallier, Simon Blackler, Teresa A. Zeck, Thorsten Jonas, Tom Greenwood, Tommy Ferry.

Hannah Smith is Director of Operations for Green Web Foundation, and puts a strong emphasis on fostering a joyful and effective delivery culture. She provides technical and operational leadership on the GWF’s open source tool suite including the Green Web Directory, Branch magazine, and commercial services. Outside GWF, she’s co-founder of the Green Tech South West community and a long-term volunteer with ClimateAction.tech. She lives in the temperate rainforest in Exmoor National Park, UK.

Marketa Benisek is the Digital Sustainability Lead at Wholegrain Digital, a London-based agency specialising in low-carbon, accessible, and high-performant websites. Marketa has a deep interest in harnessing the power of storytelling for positive change and is passionate about climate activism, having trained with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality Leader. Additionally, Marketa volunteers with the ClimateAction.tech community, where she co-organised a TEDx event as part of the global TEDxCountdown initiative.