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Thinking differently about digital sustainability

Hannah Smith, Director of Operations of Green Web Foundation, with her 'Thinking Differently About Digital Sustainability' talk for Green Tech South West

Unfortunately our planned speaker Dale Vince has had to cancel at short notice. Fortunately we were still able to go ahead with an event and Hannah Smith, one of our co-organisers, will be giving a talk she recently delivered at UX London instead of Dale. Her talk was very well received at UX London and is called “Thinking differently about digital sustainability”.

The talk: Thinking differently about digital sustainabilty

Digital is often regarded as green or sustainable by default. But it’s not. The truth is that whilst digital is usually much less impactful than offering a real-life alternative, it is not without significant downsides.

In this talk, we’ll discuss how digital isn’t sustainable and what mindset shifts we need to get to a sustainable, fossil-free tech industry.

About Hannah

Hannah is Director of Operations for Green Web Foundation and founder of #LetsGreenTheWeb. Many of you might already know Hannah as co-founder of Green Tech South West.

She has a background in Computer Science. She’s previously worked as a freelance WordPress developer, and also for the Environment Agency, where she managed large business change projects. She lives in the temperate rainforest in Exmoor National Park, UK.

Hannah’s slides


Or download the slides

Watch the event video

Timings in the video

👋 08:06 – Event starts with a welcome from your meet-up organisers, Ellen, Hannah and Mike

📢 10:09 – Our famous 60 second intros – a chance for in-person and online attendees to introduce themselves, ask for help and tell us about something the group might find interesting

🗓️ 25:45 – Hannah’s talk

Hannah Smith, Director of Operations at the Green Web Foundation for her talk 'Thinking Different About Digital Sustainability' for Green Tech South West

One of the perks of holding events online as well, and having such a wonderful and engaging community, is we share a huge amount of useful resources and information throughout the event. Here’s a summary of what we unearthed.

Links and resources

Community 60 second intros

Fed DeGobbi – Trade Effluent Team Leader at Wessex Water and host of Inside Seaweed, a podcast entirely dedicated to the seaweed industry, and environmental professional with ten years of international experience in industrial wastewater and environmental compliance. Keen to talk to anyone with knowledge about tech solutions in the seaweed industry.

Nigel Smith – Bristol based Animator and Director of Stop Mo Studios, creating films about health and sustainability. Currently working with graduates from UWE Bristol, Nigel is available for 121’s to help you arrange a story board and turn that into a stop-work animation.

Tim Kindberg – Gave a talk at our very first Green Tech South West event back in 2020 (!) on his project SUST, a platform to help you make more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. He’s just soft-launched the platform which works on 4 major browsers and is hoping to help consumers make more sustainable fashion choices as well as motivate brands to make more sustainable items. The plug-in will annotate the webpages you’re shopping on, with information about the sustainability of what you’re looking at, as well as providing you with one hot link to buy the same item second hand or a similar more sustainable item. Give it a try here!

Tim looks after the tech side of things and is now looking looking for a business partner who is on board with the mission to help him make SUST a financially sustainable proposition. Secondly, he’s eager to talk to anyone in the fashion industry to talk to him about SUST. You can get in touch with Tim via his LinkedIn.

Chris Pointon – Co-organises the Working in Sustainable Technology Meetup in Cambridge. They run a (roughly) monthly online meetup where they pick a topic of sustainable tech and bring in some hugely interesting companies to talk about the tech and what it’s like working for them. Their next event ‘Smart Cities and Urban Planning‘, is on 7th September and will feature talks around Smart Cities and technology in the built environment to improve the efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of cities.

Mary Stevens – Works in innovations for Friends of the Earth and is interested in hearing about any tools or platforms that enable participatory grant making with collaborative decision making process. If anyone knows of any with a good user experience and could be developed with a community, please get in touch with Mary! Secondly, if you have any thoughts on how the environmental NGO sector can influence the emerging class of new AI technology, Mary would love to hear from you too.

Ed Garrett – Founder and Director of Garrett Creative, an agency on a mission to use their design and language as a force for good. To achieve this, they partner with start-ups and non-profits in green tech and sustainability, helping them to define their purpose and communicate in a meaningful way through brand, the web, and content. A common challenge for green tech companies is that competition is fierce and their products are often complex, making it hard to find investment. The team at Garrett Creative will help you reach a wider audience and align everyone with your goals for people, planet and profit. If any of that resonates with you, please do get in touch! They have also recently published a blog post ‘How to leverage brand to increase awareness‘ – check it out.

Bryan Charter – Co-founder of SuSy House, working to make sustainable housing achievable for all. The idea behind their app, which was released back in June, is that if you get a big energy bill come through the door, you can download the app and access a bunch of datasets for your specific home. They create a digital twin of your home and start to apply different types of retrofit upgrades to the property to understand the impact they would have. You then have the option to connect to contractors and finance. They’re hoping this approach will help mobilise the vast majority and broader population to take action. They’re currently in their funding round and hope to be recruiting for a number of developers very soon!

Faisal Chaudhuri – Senior User Researcher at Kaluza, an energy software start-up originally part of OVO Energy. Concerned about the energy transition in that a lot of the technology we’re looking to adopt is perpetuating the inequalities that already exist in society, Faisal is keen to talk to anyone who is looking at fairness and inclusion as part of the energy transition to ensure things like heat pumps, electric vehicles, retrofits etc. are as accessible as possible. If this is you, please do get in touch with Faisal via his LinkedIn!

Lucia Burtnik Urueta – First year PhD research student looking into sustainable transport. Her PhD project will be centred around stakeholder engagement for the adoption of technology, particularly when working with councils and local communities, so Lucia is interested in hearing about any ideas around what challenges you are facing, and how you are going about getting local communities to work with you. If you have any idea’s, please do get in touch with Lucia!

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