Projects/Micro Climates

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Micro Climates

We’re in a climate crisis. The internet contributes 2% of the world’s global carbon emissions. And it's only growing.

How can we reduce emissions and advocate for a more sustainable internet? What else could the open internet do for the planet? We invite technologists, designers, climate activists and citizens who care about the internet and the planet to dream and develop these idea and even more ambitious ones together.

Miniatures

To explore something so big, we first made it very small.

The Museum of Fossilized Internet

  • Scrolling: The computer mouse
  • Spam: Spam Cans
  • Filesharing
  • Surveillance Capitalism and Legacy Code: The Hidden Life of an Amazon User books
  • Streaming: Netflix Socks
  • Internet of Things: Roomba
  • Big data and AI: Training AI

Renewables and the Internet

  • Wind turbines
  • Solar panels
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro

Green Future Terrarium

A feminist solar punk vision for a sustainable internet and planet:

  • Appropriate technology
  • Wood Wide Web
  • Cardio farm
  • Fungus food computer
  • Love your infrastructure
  • Permaculture

1000 Ideas

There are thousands of things we can do to make a more sustainable internet. Find out what and add your 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

Manufacturing, hardware and recycling

  • 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

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
  • Decentralization
  • 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. https://webkit.org/blog/8970/how-web-content-can-affect-power-usage/
  • 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: https://www.websitecarbon.com/

Browsing

  • Addon: Addon 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

Tabs

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

Media

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

Search

  • 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 trips for browser user
  • Promote eco-friendly partners, e.g. Ecosia or Stripe
  • Promote content/ads from environmental research & charities

Advocacy

  • 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 our 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% renewables promise

About

Coming soon:

  • Who's behind this project.
  • How to make this exhibition. Templates and tutorials we used.
  • What we learned. Reflections and writing.
  • More resources and how to get involved.