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Designing Sustainable Digital Futures

Joseph Walton, University of Sussex

As the world works to meet the interconnected challenges of net zero, biodiversity loss, and preservation of planetary boundaries, our sustainability policies and practices are evolving rapidly.

Many organisations, SMEs in particular, can find it challenging to keep pace. Academia and the broader research sector have a role to play in offering resources, support and advice to organisations that cannot access pricey sustainability consultancy services. Against this background, Designing Sustainable Digital Futures focuses on the environmental impacts of digital technologies.

Digital technologies may still make a relatively small contribution to global carbon pollution, but it is significant and growing rapidly. Digital technologies have other implications too for the environment, including e-waste and pressure on water use. Meanwhile, dazzling developments in AI are being rolled out with little thought about how they fit with our global agenda for a swift and just climate transition.

At the same time, digital technologies – used wisely and justly – are a big part of the solution for how we rise to meet the challenge of building a sustainable society. 

This design-led project will support select organisations to chart their own paths to sustainable digital futures. It will explore how design, storytelling, and the arts can be to illuminate the complex subject matter of digital sustainability for broad audiences.

Joseph Walton

Jo Lindsay Walton is a Research Fellow in Arts, Climate and Technology at the Sussex Digital Humanities Lab, where he mostly teaches in game studies and sustainability. His recent short fiction