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A Beginner’s Guide to Climate Justice in Tech

A volunteer learning group at Work on Climate set out to better understand the intersections of justice, climate, and technology.

They wanted to make a beginner-friendly guide to climate justice, tailored to the tech communities they worked in. Throughout the process, the group acknowledged they were not scholars nor frontline experts, nor that there was a unified opinion on what climate justice is or collective well-being looks like.

Here is a peek into their Climate Justice 101 Guide and a workshop they ran in collaboration with the Climate Action Tech community earlier in 2021.

CAT Salon: Exploring Climate Justice in Tech (with Alisha YiXin Pegan & Richard Kim)

Over the course of about five months, about ten of us from Work on Climate researched and wrote an introductory guide to climate justice.

Our Climate Justice Learning Group (part of the Work on Climate community) wanted to create something that we ourselves had been looking for—a clear and accessible introduction to climate justice. None of us were climate justice experts; we sought to gather and amplify the existing work of experts and activists.

The first iteration of the Climate Justice 101 Guide launched in March 2021.

After our launch, CAT hosted some of us to talk about climate justice and the Guide. The video above is from my and Alisha Pegan’s talk at CAT Salon West on June 8, 2021, “Exploring Climate Justice in Tech.”

Our talk comes out of the work that we did as writers and editors for the Guide. We define climate justice, introduce the Guide, and present a framework for analyzing injustices in climate work.

I hope you watch it and find it useful!

In the months since this talk, I’ve only seen climate justice become a larger and larger part of climate change conversations. A brief and wildly diverse set of examples:

  • At COP26 in Glasgow, activists including Greta Thunberg held major demonstrations on climate justice.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed millions of dollars in climate justice and environmental justice spending, some of which has become law, some of which is being considered at the time of this writing.
  • Project Drawdown published “Climate Solutions at Work,” in which it advocates that emissions-reduction strategies must “Embed Climate Justice.”
  • Climate Week in New York City had an Environmental Justice track.
  • UK-based Carbon Brief published a week-long series highlighting climate justice.

To continue your climate justice journey, I encourage you to explore the Guide and learn more climate justice, especially through the dozens of resources we link to.

And we may be revising the Guide in the coming year—feel free to post in #learning-group-climate-justice in the Work on Climate Slack if you’d like to get involved!

Finally, since this Salon, a number of us from CAT and Work on Climate (among them Marwa Eltaib, Yang Hong, Melissa Hsuing, Sandra Pallier, and I) have been teaming up to present outgoing events on climate justice.

Our goals are to explore and integrate climate justice in our communities. We’ve hosted three events together so far in 2021: a workshop on applying climate justice, a talk with climate justice expert Joycelyn Longdon, and a climate justice community discussion.

Look for more events in 2022!