Tech Workers and Climate Action
Dave Rupert recently published a post expressing his frustration with the urgent case for action on climate change, and lack of co-ordinated policy action by the people in power. While much of the world suffers from extreme high temperures this summer, climate change has become a visible, tangible issue for many of us.
Dave rightly points out that the environmental responsibility has been unfairly hoisted onto the consumer, when in reality this is by the design of governments and large corporations, who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Individual lifestyle changes, such as reusable shopping bags, sorting our recycling, or going vegan are never going to make much of a difference when faced with the unstoppable juggernaut of capitalism.
I agree that widespread societal change shouldn’t depend on persuading 7 billion individuals to make daily sustainable choices, when many can’t or won’t. But as comparatively priviledged tech workers, we shouldn’t underestimate our power and influence. As I’ve written before, many of us are in a position to push for change within larger organisations, and extend the reach of our actions far beyond ourselves. We have the choice to take the lead set a positive example.
I believe individual action matters. Without it, it’s all too easy for companies and governments to dismiss environmental concerns by claiming there is no appetite for change. But ultimately, real change will only happen when we band together and demand it. One of the first steps we can take is to educate ourselves and others. Hannah Smith recently shared a Twitter thread of climate action resources for the tech industry. The Extinction Rebellion site has plenty of detail on the climate crisis we are facing, with links to resources.
Let’s be honest, many of the companies we’re highly familiar with in the tech industry are huge contributors to climate change, whether through their own actions (or inaction), their lobbying activities, financial structures or the industries they serve. We should be demanding better of them.