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Environmental Justice, Climate Justice and the Space of Digital Rights
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January 3, 2022
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These issue briefs are part of a larger body of work around the intersection of digital rights with environmental and climate justice, supported by the Ford Foundation, Ariadne, and Mozilla Foundation. This research project aims to better equip digital rights funders in crafting grantmaking strategies that maximize impact on these issues. All publications can be found here.

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While environmental justice and climate justice have inextricable links, the histories and formations of each movement point to unique places of attention for digital rights funders. The trajectories of different types of justice in the climate and environmental justice movements can help us better understand how each gains traction, employs tactics, and builds strategy.

Recent attention by governments on (environmental) justice, equity, and the language of rights and responsibilities in collaborative environmental governance demonstrates places for near-term impact and exemplifies the need for precision in talking about these two movements.

At the conjunction of environmental justice, climate justice, and digital rights sit three consequential areas to consider:

- The relationship between the surveillance state, environmental activists, and the right to privacy

- Climate migration and the right to migrant privacy and protection

- The ability to use, collect, and understand environmental data


There are clear intersections at which digital rights funders can advance climate and environmental justice.
1. Incorporate climate and environmental justice lenses on issues of privacy, surveillance, and data protection.
2. Increase the language and incorporation of digital rights in current environmental and climate bills, and vice versa.
3. Provide resources for activists, practitioners, and researchers to better understand the implications of each space.
4. Explore strategies for cultivating the political will necessary for making systems change.
5. Support environmental data’s use as a public good through investments in critical digital infrastructure.
6. Create awareness of the role of philanthropy in addressing or exacerbating the consequences of competing priorities in funding schemes as they relate to environmental tradeoff narratives (e.g., well-paying jobs vs. adverse health outcomes).
7. Build awareness in the digital rights space of how nuances between environmental and climate justice play out in larger policy decisions.
8. Work with funders who understand the priorities of environmental justice communities and can help guide coordinated funding strategies.