There are many different institutions in Cambridge that will all require structural change in order to fight the climate crisis: the universities (including the colleges and University Press), the local media, local government, and so on. As tech workers we have a duty to address the specific ways in which our sector is both currently and historically responsible for the climate crisis, and the specific ways in which we could help to recover it.
We believe that technology companies have both an exceptional position and unique responsibility for driving change in response to the climate crisis.
Technology has an outsized impact on the environment. The industrial processes used to fabricate electronic devices are very energy intensive, raw materials used are mined at great expense to local communities and their natural environment and the products that they are made into often have very brief lives before being discarded as waste. Even software-only products such as cloud services incur vast quantities of electricity consumption.
As scientifically literate professionals, we should pay special attention to the climate crisis. There is a great amount of confounding misinformation disseminated by vested interests, and devising solutions is a deeply complex task. The scientific training that many of us share should be used to clarify the debate around how best to mitigate the crisis.
Finally, technology occupies a high-status position in society. For example: various programmes encourage children to pursue STEM careers, the public look to technologists for magic-bullet solutions to the environmental crisis, products like smartphones and voice assistants pervade all aspects of our lives, and politicians often seek solutions to human problems through technological means. All of these together confer both power and responsibility to engineers, scientists and researchers.
We believe that these common aspects can help us find effective ways to push for change in our similar companies, which is why we have decided to make our focus local technology workers. If you feel like all of this is relevant to your employer or institution, then please do get in touch so we can find a way to work together.