About the coalition
The Green Screen Climate Justice and Digital Rights Coalition is a group of funders and practitioners looking to build bridges across the digital rights and climate justice movements. The aim of the coalition is to be a catalyst in making visible the climate implications of technology by supporting emerging on-the-ground work, building networks, and embedding the issue as an area within philanthropy.
People and governance
Meet the people who have been working behind the scenes to organise and build the coalition.
Green Screen Coalition Co-Lead
Fieke is a co-principle investigator of the critical infrastructure lab and a postdoc researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests are to understand power and conflict around the environmental impact of expanding infrastructures. She is also the co-lead of the Green Screen Climate Justice and Digital Rights coalition.
Green Screen Coalition Co-Lead
Maya is a jack-of-all trades who has spent the last ten years listening and learning about the plurality of struggles for technological justice across the world, and supporting activists and organizations to untangle technologies’ hold on our lives and reclaim its power to bring about social and political transformation. She has previously worked with The Engine Room and as a Mozilla Fellow (2018 - 2019) with Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.
Junior Program Manager
Yan is a junior program manager of the Green Screen Coalition. A Research Master’s graduate of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, she researches everyday resistance and algorithmic visibility on social media platforms with an interest to decentering western epistemology.
Michelle is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the Green Web Foundation and a co-initiator of the Green Screen Coalition. Previously, she worked for 13 years at the Mozilla Foundation most recently in the role of Sustainable Internet Lead. She also publishes Branch Magazine and co-organizes Open Climate.
Michael Brennan is a senior program officer on the Technology and Society team. He oversees a portfolio of grantees that globally address open internet issues through a technical lens, and also helps to develop and manage a technology fellows program at the foundation. Michael has over 10 years of experience researching and advising both the private and the public sector on technology policy and holds a PhD in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Julie has been Director of Ariadne, a network of European social change and human rights funders, since 2016. She has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, with a particular focus on human rights and transitional justice and holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is currently the chair of the advisory board of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and an independent board member of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe.
Lea Wulf is a project manager in the Center for Digital Society at Stiftung Mercator, where she explores the intersection of digital transformation and climate action as a field of action for the foundation. Previously, she coordinated an AI network at a regional industry association in northern Germany. Lea studied Political Science, Communication and Media Studies at the Universities of Bremen and Helsinki and holds a master's degree in Political Management and Public Policy from the NRW School of Governance.
Hanan Elmasu is the Director of Fellowships and Awards at the Mozilla Foundation. She manages a global program that finds, supports and connects individuals and organizations building a more open, inclusive internet and more trustworthy AI. She has been working at the intersection of human rights, law and technology for over two decades, focused on building the strength of communities and exploring the potential of data and technology to empower movements.
Lisa is a program officer at Mozilla's Data Futures Lab, where her work focuses on creating a more equitable data economy. She has a master's degree in Agricultural Economics from Humboldt University in Berlin. She was also a visiting researcher at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, in Berlin, and served on the jury of the German Prototype Fund from 2019-2021. Prior to working with Mozilla, Lisa was a senior program manager at Ranking Digital Rights, and a project coordinator with Tactical Technology Collective, where she focused on digital security, women's rights, and sustainability projects.
Learn more about how this work began and how it's evolved since.
From workshops to research
The Green Screen Coalition originated in 2020 as a collaborative exploration between a small group of funding institutions in the digital rights field who were interested in learning more about how they could make a positive impact on climate issues. The coalition members shared concerns about the escalating ecological and human rights impacts of the internet and digital technologies. Together we began to humbly explore what we digital rights funders needed to know about climate justice and how we might most effectively integrate these issues into our work.
“The internet is the world’s largest fossil-fuel powered machine, and as funders in the digital rights field, it’s our responsibility to assess and mitigate the internet’s harms not just to human rights, but also to the environment. Examples of harms that come to mind are carbon emissions, extractive industries, and environments and communities impacted with a lack of accountability.” - Michelle Thorne (Green Web Foundation)
As an initial step, the coalition commissioned research by The Engine Room, the Association for Progressive Communications, BSR, and the Open Environmental Data Project to explore different aspects of the intersection between digital rights and climate justice. This research mapped out some existing work as well as identifying areas for further exploration, research, and activism. It revealed that there is a nascent community of practitioners who are working towards sustainable and climate-supportive infrastructures, and investigating where the internet aligns with the climate and environmental justice movement—and where it works against them.
“This research will sit within a larger convening effort among funders and practitioners to develop shared understanding and strategies to grow our movements’ understanding of these issues, to invest more impactfully and take more effective action together.” - Julie Broome (Ariadne Network)
Our first event in Lille with hopes for the future from digital rights funders.
Seeding a community
On the basis of this initial exploration, it was clear that, in order to play a truly galvanising role at this intersection, the coalition would need to expand beyond digital rights funders and bring in a wider community of actors from both the digital rights and climate justice fields. While these convening efforts provided an opportunity to share the results of the research, the deeper aim was to put those developing work at this intersection at the centre of driving the evolution of the coalition’s work while building bridges between organisations, movements, and individuals from the two fields.
“We believe that digital rights and environmental justice networks are often siloed from each other, despite being inextricably linked. And so we need to set a grantmaking agenda that connects these issues today, rather than retrofitting the field years from now. That starts with understanding how we, as digital rights funders, can better approach climate and environmental justice.” - Michael Brennan (Ford Foundation)
As a response, coalition members organised a workshop in Berlin in October 2022. Distilled from the research, the conversations at the Berlin event were centered on the four deep dive tracks: policy and advocacy, climate mis- and disinformation, open practices, and standards and governance. The Berlin event was an important milestone in terms of generating momentum at this intersection, refining ideas for future research and action, and developing relationships between practitioners and activists bringing different perspectives to the work.
To act as a catalyst for new ideas, conversations and networks that are emerging at the nexus the Green Screen Coalition financially supported seven projects following the event. Together the awards encompass community building efforts, a stipend to collaboratively work on next steps, support hosting local events and translation of resources to bring the conversation back to the participants’ own communities.
Torch Ginger by Kira Simon-Kennedy (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Building new connections in Abya Yala (North and South America)
Expanding beyond conversations between US and European foundations, we organized a second gathering in Costa Rica in June 2023, immediately following RightsCon. The aims of this event included: nurturing the climate and digital rights funders and practitioners coalition that emerged in Berlin while bringing in new actors from the Americas; deepening understanding and creating an shared action agenda on six key themes; and engaging co-leadership on these topics. To learn more about the conversations that took place there, peruse the special edition of Branch magazine.
Our incredible facilitators for all the deep dives in Costa Rica.
Where from here?
With the launch of the Catalyst Fund, we are continuing to deepen and expand the network, building trust between various communities. We hope to invest in projects that will strengthen these ties and develop impactful agendas that identify the key issues, interrupt the harm(s), and build equitable and sustainable infrastructures— from social to ecological and digital. We will continue to share the outcomes of the work and how the coalition evolves. There is a lot of work to do, so let’s do it together!
Leaf cutter ants by Kira Simon-Kennedy (CC BY-NC 4.0)