? Grid intensity view:


Editors’ letter
Hannah Smith and Marketa Benisek

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

Issue 8 community-assembled playlist
Hannah Smith and Lima Dastgeer

Meaningful connection

Talking it out: Restoring information ecosystems through authentic human connections
Bárbara Paes and Olivia Johnson

One Movement, Four Wings: Connecting climate strategies
Melissa Hsiung

Connectivity, infrastructure and the defence of the Amazon’s socio-biodiverse ecosystems
Hemanuel Veras

What can digital sustainability learn from accessibility?
Mike Masey

Solarpunk and speculative features

Jo Lindsay Walton

Care for life, care for the chips: the future is re-used, recycled and permacomputing
Alistair Alexander

Toward a Pragmatic Future: Accepting Imperfect Systems whilst Striving for Regeneration
Oliver Cronk

Solarpunk Meets Better Business: Reimagining a Sustainable Digital Future
Simon Blackler

Ministry of Imagination Manifesto
Rob Hopkins

Octavia’s Future is Here, Now What
Mica Le John

Design philosophy

Designing Friction
Marketa Benisek, Luna Maurer, Roel Wouters

The Wabi Sabi Web
Tom Greenwood

Echoes of electronic waste
Joanna Murzyn

Imperfect design for a better future
Thorsten Jonas

Alternative networks: Consciously designing from within earthly dynamics
Jesse Thompson

Perfection is the enemy of progress

The perfect site doesn’t exist
Michelle Barker

Rabbit holes of perfection
Mary Pitt

From bytes to carbon savings: Immediate’s sustainable transformation of Good Food
Tommy Ferry, Marketa Benisek, Michelle Whitehead, Linzi Ricketts, Filippa Furniss, Graham Martin

Small steps, big goals: Building sustainable change
Kim Lea Rothe

The perfect data paradox
Rory Brown

This issue is a collaboration between Wholegrain Digital and Green Web Foundation.

About Branch

Unknown grid intensity

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