How to Help Avoid Climate Breakdown as a Technologist - Summary

I’ve previous written at length on the climate crisis and what we can do about it. If you want a long read then you can take a look at my four-part “trilogy” (1, 2, 3 & 4) but to make the message easier to spread I’ll try to condense it down into a short simple idea.

So, in priority order, here are some actions that you can take today to help avert a climate breakdown:

  1. Talk about it
  2. Eat less meat

That’s it! Easy, right?

Clearly there are many more possibilities and actions. However, by focusing on the things that people do every day we can have the greatest impact.

It’s Good to Talk

The most important thing is to talk about the climate meltdown and convey the urgency. Communication is the key to tackling this social, economic and political problem.

Institutional change is needed to deploy the solutions we already have at the scale necessary to avoid disaster. As technology professionals, we should use tech to amplify and spread this message to increase motivation for the action required.

Choose what you work on and who you work for carefully. Think about how you can be efficient, productive and (crucially) effective at inspiring change.

There are many others already making a difference. If you work in tech then a good group that has momentum is Get involved.

There are other things to get involved with too. For example, transcribing old weather records (upcoming talk), Earth Day (on Monday) or even Extinction Rebellion.

Watch Climate Change: The Facts tomorrow night on BBC One and encourage others to also listen to its message. There is more to see on Netflix with the new Our Planet series too.

Cutting Down on Meatings

If you want a personal action to take then the best thing you can do is to eat less meat, especially much less beef and less lamb. However, as technologists we can also create tools and resources to make this easier for others.

For example, this meatless monday recipe database helps people decide what to cook, where they may be used to basing meals around meat. There are also opportunities for logging, gamification and social signalling in this area.

If we can divert some of the energy used for improving ad engagement or trading algorithms into important problems then we could start to make a difference in the next five years. Good luck, we’re going to need it.

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