Projects/Micro Climates

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Environmental Sustainability

We’re in a climate crisis. We know that the internet contributes significantly to the world’s global carbon emissions. But we also believe in the internet’s potential.

So how can we reduce emissions and advance a more sustainable internet? What else could the open internet do for the planet? We invite technologists, designers, political minds, activists and citizens who care about the internet and our planet to imagine alternatives and develop potential ideas for the future together.

On our journey to environmental sustainability, we’ve started by weaving different pieces of exploration into a larger picture. We’re adopting a time lens (more on each below):

  • The past: Visit our Museum of the Fossilized Internet.
  • The present: That’s us, thinking about what to do and why.
  • The future: Contribute to the wiki of 1000 ideas and help develop future scenarios.

All of these are designed to spark conversation, generate bold, actionable ideas, and initiate collaborations towards a more sustainable internet -- and all of these are open to sharing and contributing. We’ve started exploring by using art because environmental sustainability is complex and entangled. Art, on these terms, doesn’t just open up creative understanding, it also allows us to paint a more holistic picture without prioritising which issue to tackle first.

Individual and collective action need to go together: everyone can do their part and we need systemic change. We’re not looking to vilify people or behaviours, instead we’re inviting everyone to join our journey in figuring out how to do better, and what that even means.

The Museum of Fossilized Internet

"To explore something so big, we first made it very small." — Gabi Ivens, creative lead and miniature maker

Welcome to the Museum of the Fossilized Internet.

This museum was founded in 2050 to commemorate two decades of a fossil-free internet and to invite museum's visitors to experience what the coal and oil-powered internet of 2020 was like. Gasp at the horrors of surveillance capitalism. Nod knowingly at the plague of spam. Be baffled at the size of AI training data and lament the binge culture of video streaming.

Note on the exhibit:
While curation always means making a choice, we visualized and incorporated as many of the everyday practices as we could based on the input, feedback, and observations shared with us by contemporaries. You’re free to roam the museum as you please. Descriptions and additional research will put each exhibit into context (and perspective). If you’re a 2020 contemporary as well, please leave feedback, comments, and additional observations when you leave.

Enjoy. Ponder. Act.

Dark Patterns

Computer mouse. Modeling foam and bell jar.

Dark patterns in design entice us to spend more and more time using digital products. We scroll, and we scroll, and we scroll, and the content never stops. The (digital) pressures on our attention often constitute a crisis in themselves, while fueling the climate crisis also.


Spam cans. Paper and gold foil.

Unsolicited email, or spam, is more than a nuisance online. In a 2009 report, McAfee estimated 62tn spam messages were sent globally, and that the greenhouse gases involved in providing enough electricity to generate, send and then delete this unwanted traffic was the same as the emissions from 3.1m cars.

Surveillance Capitalism and Legacy Code

Joana Moll's "The Hidden Life of an Amazon User books" printed in books. Paper.

An homage to the artist Joana Moll's "The Hidden Life of an Amazon User books" representing the 1,307 different requests to all sort of scripts and documents, totaling 8,724 A4 pages worth of printed code, adding up to 87.33MB of information, required for one user to order Jeff Bezos' book on Amazon. The amount of energy needed to load each of the twelve web interfaces, along with each one’s endless fragments of code, was approximately 30Kwh.


Netflix socks and couch. Textiles and wood.

Internet users in the year 2020 were heavy media streamers. Online video streaming accounted for ___ % of internet usage. The experience of binge watching videos was so prevalent that Netflix published a tutorial for connected socks that would detect when the wearer fell asleep on the couch and would stop the streaming. YouTube's emissions were estimated to exceed those of a city the size of Glasgow.

Internet of Things

Roomba and Amazon Echo. Molding clay and paper.

in 2020, there were ___ connected devices on the planet. These pulled an estimated ___ of data, resulting in ___ carbon emissions. Citation:


Bitcoin Mining Rig. Metal and modeling foam.

Emissions estimates from Bitcoin mining: ___.

Big data and Artificial Intelligence

Trevor Paglen's "From Apple to Anomaly." Photo and lace frame.

An homage to the artist Trevor Paglen's 2019 installation at the Barbican to illustrate the way in which AI networks are taught how to ‘see’ and ‘perceive’ the world by taking a closer look at image datasets.

"Paglen has incorporated approximately 30,000 individually printed photographs, largely drawn from ImageNet, the most widely shared, publicly available dataset. This dataset is archived and pre-selected in categories by humans, and widely used for training AI networks. In some cases, the connotations of categories are uncontroversial, others, for example ‘bad person’ or ‘debtors’, are not. These categories, when used in AI, suggest a world in which machines will be able to elicit forms of judgement against humankind. Discover how the advent of autonomous computer vision and AI has developed, rife with hidden politics, biases and stereotypes." -- Barbican.


Coming soon. Citation:

Ad tech

Coming soon. Citation:

Gift shop?

Future scenarios

After conducting a series of workshops to gather 1000 ideas for a sustainable internet, we identified some of the more ambitious suggestions and redrafted them as high-level future scenarios. These scenarios were picked to inspire fresh thinking around what is possible and desirable. While they began from a "tech sector" perspective, we quickly realised that positive visions require us to expand the scope to socio-political and economic concerns as well.

Through discussion and reflection, we hope these scenarios may expose where there is consensus as well as disagreement among participants, while also narrowing down the slate of scenarios to those that generate the most ideas, potential shared goals and actions.

It’s a thought experiment and we’re going bold (crazy?) on purpose. Help us imagine a different world, so we can decide which one we actually want to work towards.

In a next step, we aim to develop these headlines into stories in an effort to identify opportunities, shortfalls, and requirements.

A future where…

  1. The right to repair is globally protected and the lifecycles of electronics are vastly extended.
  2. Environmental protection is a recognized precondition to human life and hence protected as a human right.
  3. Pensions, stocks and all other financial benefits for employees are divested from fossil fuels, and all investments are certified as running on clean energy.
  4. Zero waste and the circular economy is the norm.
  5. Responsible travel and sustainable events are the default.
  6. Learning how to live and work sustainably is part of every level of education.
  7. The browser is a change agent to inform, inspire, educate, and promote a sustainable internet.
  8. Equitable and sustainable technology is a requirement for commercial success.
  9. We achieve science-based targets for the environment and use a globally agreed upon mechanism for carbon accountability.
  10. Climate change denial is outlawed and defunded.
  11. All tech workers pledge to not exploit natural resources (tech-Hippocratic oath).
  12. All citizens participate in a community service program, allocating a certain amount of time every year, to learn about and implement sustainable practices.
  13. Everyone recognizes that there is a climate emergency and takes action, moving from paralysis, confusion, or anger to tangible solutions.
  14. Design favors green practices over convenience.
  15. Artificial intelligence is used to minimize the collection and processing of data, and providers are held to account for their carbon emissions.

1000 Ideas

There are thousands of things we can do to advance a more sustainable internet. Below you’ll find a list of the ones we gathered through brainstorming, workshops, and feedback. We've used a "double diamond" approach, i.e. we went as wide and broad as possible, generating ideas regardless of feasibility or likelihood. You can keep adding to them and help us link out to projects and research that may bring them to life. We then narrowed these down to a few top ones (below) that have sparked most feedback and engagement so far.

It's a process and we'll keep going wide to narrow it back down again, until a clearer path to action emerges.

Top Ideas (to date)

It’s a living document, what flies and what doesn’t will change as we keep iterating and learning about what’s possible and desirable for greater environmental sustainability on the internet.

Sustainability Engineering as a career pathway

  • Sustainability engineering should be an recognized professional specialization as well as a skill integrated across the engineering field.
  • Similar to accessibility in web development, sustainability should be foundational in any developer's practice. See:
  • Sustainability engineering should be incorporated into computer science courses, educational programs, on the job training.

Carbon accountability

  • Learn to count carbon. Ensure your budgets account for carbon costs as well as financial ones. Remember that climate inaction is also a cost.
  • Encourage and teach others to set carbon budgets.
  • Publish carbon calculations and sustainability reports in machine-readable formats.
  • Use Platform, Packets and Process to categorize carbon costs for digital projects.
  • Quantify and openly publish tests and measurements about the carbon footprint of your digital work. Compare that carbon cost of other activities, like flying or running a load of laundry. This helps build a better understanding of how "expensive" internet-related activities are.
  •, but for carbon.

Change the Aesthetic

  • What is desirable in one era can seem outdated and undesirable years later when societal norms change. We should design and code for a new sensibility, one that is irresistibly sustainable.
  • Think of tech as a fashion-driven industry. Make the transition irresistible, and the everyday injustices outrageous.

Employee Action

  • Jobs may change, but we only have one planet. There are a lot of questions employees and prospective hires can ask (and do):
    • For example: "Does this company collaborate with the fossil fuel industry?"
    • Is there a public commitment to net zero emissions?
    • Is there a public timeline to reach net zero emissions?
    • Are there public independent audits of progress on the way?
    • Is there disclosure of how much revenue or business partnerships come from projects to help extract fossil fuels?

Use equity for equity

  • The work you do isn't the only lever you have. Money works for you too.
  • Shares in your pension delay climate action - ask and switch.
  • Stock you are paid in can force discussions that need to happen.
  • Divest your pension.

Time to serve the planet

  • Make time to contribute to climate action.
  • Many organizations support the model of 20% time, meaning that you have some hours during your work week to explore something that you care about. Other models include dedicating a day a week, like Fridays, to commit to working on this. Whatever the model that suits you, it's about prioritizing the issue by putting your time to it.
  • Develop organisational, local, national, or regional programmes like a civil service for environmental sustainability.

Fight denial

  • Understand that algorithms and misinformation play a key role in delaying climate action.
  • Develop information recommendation algorithms in a way that favor science-based information.
  • Optimise for truth, not clicks.

Extend the lifecycle of electronics

  • Hardware and electronics that are connected to and power the internet are also extremely expensive for the planet. Most electronics, such as mobile phones, have a very short lifespan. Advocate for extending their usage.
  • Advocate for the right to repair, the design and development of more modular and easily repaired electronics, the skills and support systems to repair, e-waste re-purposing and recycling, and better organizational policies to use hardware for longer.

List of 1000 ideas

Meta mindsets

  • Reverse the pursuit for growth
  • Future proofing: Space Internet! Energy and bandwidth are precious. Efficiency is more important than abundance. Interplanetary internet. EHTP HSML.
  • Meta: quantify environmental impact of different measures
  • How much does a bit cost?
  • Transparency: the more we know, the more we can make better choices
  • Machine-readable Sustainability Transparency Reports

Manufacturing, hardware and recycling

  • The right to repair
  • Manufacturing phase: gather data about environmental cost hotspots
  • Green manufacturer ratings
  • Recycling and reusing all computer components
  • Ecowires: what does complete wireless and hardware cost?
  • H2O: how much water is used in the production of hardware
  • How does the hardware get sourced? Fairphone!
  • Use feature phones and other developing country technology
  • Big tech: who is really sourcing and who should be more accountable?
  • Hardware recycling
  • Support for old hardware / BL compatibility
  • Transparency in production and usage
  • The browser as a demonstration site for sustainability engineering

Hosting and data centers

  • AWS: find the geographical location of servers
  • Geo-IP: client can find IP of servers which hosts
  • Eco-hosting
  • Move hosting to areas with renewable energy—in real time
  • Green Dat Site (also decentralized!): Dat hosting service built into Firefox. Guaranteed green hosting.
  • AWS, Google, FB: quarterly report on cloud service providers
  • Green host
  • Team up with Green Web Foundation and use their database of green hosting
  • Move to renewable energy for all cloud resources (AWS, CI, Release Engineering, Web Hosting, etc.)

Cache, routing and decentralized protocols

  • Cache: is there a caching proxy
  • Caching: make data local
  • Compression
  • Download/cache mops etc
  • Eco-routes: impact of choice
  • Cache more static sites.
  • Data cache planning
  • How do we analyze the future
  • Firefox green CDN cache (Opera does this in Africa)
  • Gamify visiting small sites
  • Edge caching of content
  • Edge computation to reduce computation in network centers
  • E-waste commons (localized)
  • Openflow: more even network energy distribution
  • Local browsing: intelligent routing
  • Decentralized internet (to reduce routing costs)
  • Punish energy consuming websites

Measurements and usage data

  • Time is up: Calculate the time to use tech to minimize footprint
  • Energy star rating for software
  • Daily browser carbon budget
  • Data diet. Group carbon loss plan? Peer pressure.
  • Carbon budget: Switch to low bandwidth.
  • Ecosia reverse. "You saved 3 trees worth of CO2 from loading ads."
  • Server room power? During the night? AC?
  • Power consumption statistics
  • Device durability and longevity
  • Footprint of each website
  • Save your data for future enjoyment: plain text in the morning, Netflix at night.
  • Eco budget timer

Web development and developer tools

  • carbon.txt: headers in carbon.txt
  • Static websites
  • Is a website dynamically generated?
  • Produce less data. Use less energy.
  • Carbon tab in inspector
  • Greenhint: provide service for audit and limiting (like Lightbeam)
  • Machine learning to suggest green practices
  • Dark mode stylesheet override
  • Energy rating for libraries and frontends
  • Stack of energy saving tech
  • Archive Wayback changes API
  • Freeze-mode for website developers (freeze SS when tab in background).
  • Analysis tools
  • Scripts to modify social sites
  • Static site CMS
  • Implement and advance carbon.txt
  • Devtools for showing CO2 usage
  • Better tooling for people who develop Firefox
  • Better tooling for web developers
  • Tools to give visibility to energy consumption, green web hosting

Developer relations and documentation

  • MDN section on how to build lighter websites.
  • Sustainable web design as an industry standard
  • “Greener Javascript”
  • Blog posts, Talks, Standards, Libraries
  • Libraries that help promote green development
  • Coalition building with existing libraries to reduce their footprints
  • A series of blog post: Front-end frameworks based on how much energy they use
  • “The true cost of code…”
  • Help people set up websites on renewable power
  • Use android components as a 3Rs - reuse, repurpose, refuse
  • Tech Speakers as advocates for the green web
  • Incorporate green practices in MDN
  • Check website's carbon print and optimise:


  • Add-ons: Add-on which slows down site when user is using carbon-intensive websites
  • Reducing file size
  • Internet minimalism: static sites
  • Lazy loading
  • Processor lock
  • Time sessions in browser
  • Firewall for background requests
  • Slow down websites (penalty or tax)
  • Browser remembers stuff. Learn not to keep going back.
  • Eco-mode site usage tracker: time/CO2/data
  • Firefox Geolocation: to see how green. Use geolocation in the place you browse from
  • Request by default mini resources
  • Show site meter over time: This site is 70% bigger than other sites.
  • Slow load of tab on heavy sites, incentivize small sites
  • Offset the usage to be more ecological
  • Browser shut-down when energy limit is up
  • Browser warning if browsing website is not on green energy
  • If you are browsing a website that is not green, slow down speed by 10.
  • Compare power consumption and carbon footprint from browsing with peers
  • Encourage browsing locally. Option to only search local sites.
  • Plant a tree per million request.
  • Browser extension to show countries of origin
  • Greenbeam!
  • Biking browser
  • Reduce idle wakeups in Firefox, limit idle wakeups in websites as much as possible
  • Experiment with lower frame rate
  • Stop websites from network polling
  • Promote Offline mode & make it better
  • Develop a reader mode only
  • FF Focus for desktop
  • Privacy mode reframed/cross-promoted as eco mode
  • Suggest “stop browsing” after long sessions
  • Blocklist third parties that are known as environmentally unfriendly (or use Tracking Protection in Eco Mode)
  • All images are dithered
  • “Trustmark” Icon (similar to ublock or other awareness tools) with info about resources being used (could also point people to partner sites to create awareness)
  • Add-on monitors emissions & displays results


  • Tab sleeper
  • Throttle BG tabs more.
  • Pause BG tabs
  • Suspend everything not in the foreground (“just this tab”)


Ad block

  • Eco Ad Block: Don't buy this!
  • Block ads!
  • Aggressive filter on ads. Ad track savings measured in trees
  • Reverse Ecosia: "You saved 10 trees by not loading these ads!"

UX and design

  • Reverse attention economy. Less sticky.
  • Health labels: log off!
  • Surface data from browsers
  • Low alerts: don't notify me all the time
  • A mindfulness display on usage
  • Gamify an ecological browsing experience. Set targets.
  • New tab eco advice checklist
  • Make Amazon black and white to reduce appeal
  • Make about:performance better and more visible
  • New primary UI for energy usage (tabs turn red)
  • “Energy report” similar to protections report that highlights energy wasting resources/websites
  • See performance data per tab
  • User set threshold to limit CO2
  • Warning that user is entering a “heavy” website
  • “Wilting tree visualisation” for eco-unfriendly behaviour
  • Carbon beam. Lightbeam for carbon consumption of browsing session.
  • Visualise my XX years computer’s lifetime until it’s too slow (perceived performance)
  • Print view for energy saving
  • All in one page per default
  • Display average carbon emissions of regularly visited websites
  • Time Well Spent: connect eco-mode to more user control over internet usage patterns


  • Estimate and display Co2 output for search
  • Partner with Ecosia etc. as default search engine (in Eco Mode)

Professional education and practices

  • Education and developer skills
  • Web console hints for devs re energy consumption
  • Sustainability engineering as a job category + team, design principles like accessibility

Organizational travel policies

  • Employees get an extra day for slow travel
  • Travel budget includes CO2
  • CO2 Budget for offsets
  • Policies to support train travel, car pooling, remote participation
  • Targets to reduce flights

Organizational office policies

  • Use green-certified office buildings
  • Plastic free offices (including cups!)
  • Sparkling/Still water taps
  • 100% solar/renewable power of building
  • AC/heating improvements
  • Cloth towels in the restrooms and kitchens

Certifications and audits

  • Carbon Certificate: signed certificates by carbon consultancy
  • carbon.txt: show credentials on site and can audit
  • Internet health monitor
  • Offset browsing energy consumption
  • Eco audits
  • Ecology badge (like Privacy Badge)

Consumer choices

  • My preferences for brands etc
  • My eco-concern preferences
  • Eco Reviews
  • Green product preferences
  • "Do not shop!" Alternatives to what you had chosen
  • Green product recommendations
  • How much CO2 does a product produce?
  • Enforce a 48 hour delay before online orders are processed
  • Plugins to tell your eco footprint
  • Reminders: environmental voice assistant reminders
  • Ecological tips for browser user
  • Promote eco-friendly partners, e.g. Ecosia or Stripe
  • Promote content/ads from environmental research & charities


  • How do we make this visible? Messages from people impacted by climate change
  • Eco mode raises money for good causes
  • Countdown indicator: 837 dates before irreversible climate change. Act!
  • "We care!" Firefox users care
  • Connect to network of environmental orgs
  • International connectivity: making it all easier
  • Conscious Consumers: eco-mode offer partnerships
  • Users as a constituency: eco-mode unionization
  • Tech companies required to submit machine-readable Sustainability Transparency Reports
  • Invest in carbon capture and storage
  • Commission research to determine the internet’s main carbon contributors (UI, Spam email, video streaming, electronics, etc.)
  • Identify wasteful standards/ processes and lobby against them
  • “Green Snopes” - fight misinformation. Campaigns to combat misinfo for climate denial along the lines of Mozilla's YouTube recommendation transparency campaign
  • Promote greener Internet/Web standards for W3C and other standards bodies
  • Pressure data centers like AWS that run on fossil fuels, such as letters from customers asking for them to deliver on their 100% renewable promise


  • Who's behind this project:
    • Cathleen Berger, Michelle Thorne, and the Mozilla environment working group.
    • Creative lead and miniature maker (museum): Gabi Ivens.
    • Research support and museum copy: Joana Moll.
    • Local study group: Chris Adams, see also CAT Skills.
  • Coming soon: How to make your own “Museum of the Fossilized Internet” exhibition. Templates and tutorials we used. More resources and how to get involved.