Alicia
Alicia
Jun 7 · 5 min read
Selfie time!

These are the notes from Clean Coffee #4. We try to get them out the same day, so they may be a bit messy, and are mainly used as a stream of consciousness link dump for future reference, more than intended to be a coherent think piece. If something doesn’t make sense, add a comment, and we’ll tidy them up.

There was a nice turnout at Clean Coffee today, with one participant even logging on at 5 am from California! After a quick round of introductions, we did the usual round-up of questions and then voted on the ones we wanted to talk about.

Topics we talked about

  • Is carbon offsetting sending the wrong message? E.g. that flying is still OK if I offset it? 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽
  • How can we (tech company employees) persuade our companies not to sell to entities that are harming the climate (eg. oil & gas industry)? The common stance seems to be “we’ll sell it if it’s legal”. 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽
  • How can we get more people involved in the climate action movements?🙋🏽 🙋🏽🙋🏽
  • How best to orchestrate the (possibly sporadic) collaboration of climate-minded volunteers on tech projects? in a way that allows us all to share in contributing expertise 🙋🏽 🙋🏽🙋🏽

Topics we didn’t have time to talk about

  • How might we make videoconferencing a viable alternative to flying and travelling. What are we missing, what do we need to consider? 🙋🏽🙋🏽
  • What is the minimum viable sustainability policy you could have if you don’t have one? 🙋🏽 🙋🏽
  • How do I fit this into my working practices? Can it fit into an agile team structure? 🙋🏽
  • Something that came up in Slack: how can we leverage the designers community to push for greener choices in terms of tools 🙋🏽
  • The climate-active people I’m working with do not come from Tech. We have mismatched expectations (ex: Minimum-Viable-Product-and-iterate versus Why-Don’t-You-Just-Finish-a-Polished-App-Immediately). Patient explanation isn’t really working. Fortunately this is by no means the first time Tech and non-Tech have interfaced. Suggestions on how to handle?
  • How can you change the perception of the web so that, it embodies some more values we see as progressive and aware of climate justice? (I.e. of course the internet does not on fossil fuels?)

Notes & links from the topics we discussed

Topic 1: Is carbon offsetting sending the wrong message? E.g. that flying is still OK if I offset it?

  • There are people in the tech industry working on a Climate Code of Conduct, to talk about the emissions from flying.
  • Blanket taxes on aviation are often considered regressive, but people working on policy to account for the fact that most of the flying is done by a relatively small minority like, like the Frequent Flyer Levy from A Free Ride (15% are responsible for more than 70% of flights in the UK)
  • Drink driving (or “drunk driving” for US readers) was once socially acceptable, it isn’t anymore. What will it take for a 3-day trip from London to New York, say, to also be deemed socially unacceptable? How much can you realistically achieve during that trip? This report, Mainstreaming Low Carbon Lifestyles from Climate Outreach goes into detail on this, with a long study, and comparing attitudes to smoking.
  • In Sweden there is a concept known as “flygskam” — flight shame!
“Ground travel is the new vegan”

#staygrounded hashtag, celebrities giving up flying.


Topic 2: How can we (tech company employees) persuade our companies not to sell to entities that are harming the climate (eg. oil & gas industry)? The common stance seems to be “we’ll sell it if it’s legal”.

AWS employees on climate change

Can you make an economic argument, on people leaving, like DotEveryone says? Look over this thread for a fast summary of the report:

We also talked about how to protect employees when they ask awkward questions,

I do wonder if corporate HR responses have become so homogenised, and so focused on managing out “bad apples,” that widespread unionisation is going to be necessary to counter it.


Topic 3: How can we get more people involved in the climate action movements?

“You need more than volunteering.”

  • How much of this is green washing ? Awareness versus actual effectiveness

Q: Some of us have heard of drawdown. solutions online or open source?

A: The code for project drawdown is open, but the data isn’t, and there have been issues about people using the name when they’re not linked


Topic 4 : How best to orchestrate the (possibly sporadic) collaboration of climate-minded volunteers on tech projects? in a way that allows us all to share in contributing expertise

Quote:

tech is surprisingly good at working remotely compared to others (for all the complaints we have about the industry)

  • https://www.progcode.org/ have a clear on-ramp for getting people onto projects — this pattern is applied for the bernie sanders campaign, but there are lessons to learn.

How do you discover the projects in the first place?

GitHub turns people off in many cases

You need more than techies — duh

Small tweaks

It’s not agile without cards ;)

Chris Adams and have been trying to think of ways to improve the Clean Coffee format so today we tried something new: to announce the remaining time for a topic we used paper cards instead of filming the timer app on a phone like last time. Interrupting participants to let them know how much time is left can be obtrusive, paper cards offer a softer way to draw attention to the time.

Clean Coffee

Clean Coffee is a remote meeting that takes place once a month where people working in tech discuss ways to tackle climate change in their organisations

Alicia

Written by

Alicia

Team player. Facilitator. Data scientist. Runner. Cyclist. Feminist.

Clean Coffee

Clean Coffee is a remote meeting that takes place once a month where people working in tech discuss ways to tackle climate change in their organisations

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