Report: At the confluence of digital rights & climate justice

Becky Kazansky

From October 2021 to April 2022, The Engine Room conducted a research project exploring areas of intersection between digital rights and climate & environmental justice.

Supported by Ford Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and Ariadne, we set out to map the important work happening at the intersections of these vast fields, with the goal of identifying current barriers to and opportunities for greater collaboration, and highlighting areas in which funders can provide needed support.

We are excited to publish the findings from this research. Our report can be downloaded below, or from the Ford Foundation website – where you can also find an accompanying set of ‘deep dives’ into related issue areas, written by Open Environmental Data Project (OEDP) & Open Climate, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).

About our research

We spoke to a variety of practitioners from both digital rights (DR) and environmental and climate justice (EJ-CJ), and many flagged how relevant it can be for DR and EJ-CJ practitioners to learn more about each other’s work and priorities, and to explore areas of overlap.

In our research, we surfaced numerous areas of cross-cutting concern as well as existing points of interconnection between DR and EJ-CJ. In our report, we highlight five key intersections in particular:

  • sustainable internet and technology
  • access to information and information disorder
  • safety and defence
  • data-driven environmental monitoring
  • migration justice.

Our report is primarily designed for grantmakers and practitioners in and adjacent to the digital rights sector, as well as grantmakers and practitioners with an environmental or climate focus who are interested in exploring the intersections between their work and that of the digital rights sector.

The report:

  • provides an overview of some of the key areas where digital rights and allied technology work currently intersects with environmental and climate justice
  • provides insights on the needs and challenges of practitioners engaged in work spanning DR, tech and EJ-CJ issues
  • identifies barriers to, and opportunities for, an ecosystem that sits between the two, and
  • lays out a variety of opportunities for digital rights funders to provide impactful support that is grounded in the real-world experiences of different communities and movements engaged in the fight for climate and environmental justice.

This report wouldn’t be possible without the organisations and individuals who participated in the research – thank you so much to everyone we spoke to for your time and insights.

Get the main findings via email: Sign up to the ‘Propeller’ email series highlighting the main findings of this report.

What’s next

Follow us on Twitter @engnroom (or check back here in the coming weeks!) for updates on our next community call, where we’ll discuss our report findings. We hope to see you there!