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Fieke Jansen

Framing the climate crisis as a core digital rights issue

Introducing Fieke

Fieke Jansen is a tech skeptic, a researcher, educator and advocate on the impact of technology on society. She is a Postdoc on datafication and labour at the Data Justice Lab and an adviser to the research project on funding, climate justice and digital rights.

Fieke holds a PhD from Cardiff University, her research looked at the societal and institutional implication of data-driven policing. Prior to her PhD she worked at Tactical Tech and Hivos on data, privacy, digital security and human rights. Her interest in the relationship between AI and the environment began during her Mozilla fellowship.

Fellowship Project 

My fellowship started out with me wanting to do everything. How often do you get the chance to read and think about an issue that is close to your heart. I wanted to learn about all the environmental harms that emerge from internet infrastructures and link them to broader social justice debates that were getting traction in the digital rights movement. Connecting these agenda’s is an opportunity to work towards a sustainable and just internet that benefits people and the planet and not profit.

Soon life took over, and I had to narrow the scope of what I wanted to do. My fellowship project became framing the climate crisis as a digital rights issue. More specifically, articulating how the intersection between climate justice and technology is a core issue for digital rights funders. To this end I worked on a research project and organized a conversation between digital rights funders. The research project aimed to explore the intersection between climate and tech; what is at stake and what responsible grantmaking on this intersection look like. The digital rights funders conversation was aimed at jointly explore the intersection of climate justice and digital rights; discuss the recent research findings from The Engine Room and issue briefs; and identify opportunities to collaborate and move this work forward.

Research project

The research project entailed a scoping study conducted by the Engine Room, and seven deep dive issue briefs by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), BSR, and the Open Environmental Data Project and Open Climate. My role in this project was to, together with Mozilla, the Ford Foundation and Ariadne, discuss and define what we wanted to know, select researchers, and review research outputs. You can read a summary of the different research outputs here.

Funder conversation

Ariadne, Ford Foundation and Mozilla convened a funder conversation that I co-organized with Michelle Thorne and Maya Richmond at the end of April in France. To jointly explore the intersection of climate justice and digital rights; discuss the recent research findings from The Engine Room and issue briefs; identify opportunities to collaborate and move this work forward. You can read my reflection of this meeting here.

“Five things I learned”

In this blog I write about the five things I learned during my fellowship project. Following the excellent way in which the Green Web Foundation phrased it as shifts in thinking, I will summarize my learning as five shifts in thinking:

  • The expert –> embracing the uncomfortability of not knowing
  • Assuming knowledge –> defining what we mean by climate justice and digital rights
  • Shared goal is shared politics –> movements have different and at times conflicting theories of power and relationship to companies
  • Instrumentalize different movement for –> defining strategic opportunities
  • Center technology in problems and solutions –> meeting people where they are

Fieke’s Fellowship Notebook

  • 5 things I learned in my Green Web Fellowship

  • Presenting new research climate justice x digital rights

  • Talking climate with digital rights funders

Other Relevant Links

These are the key readings that inspired my thinking on climate justice and digital rights.

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