Issue #4

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Curiously Green

The decade to do things differently
As we enter the new decade, it has never been more true that we cannot expect to achieve different results by doing things the same as we have always done them. We must embrace new thinking, dare to do things differently and be prepared to make short term sacrifices as an investment in our collective future. By doing so, I hope we can build both a resilient society and a sustainable web.

A very real example of the effect of climate change are the devastating bushfires in Australia. As a company, we have decided to take action by raising funds for three charities who will help to tackle not just the immediate effects, but also the long term impact of climate change. If you’d like to help, you can find out more over on our blog.

Speaking of working together, I’m keen to make this newsletter a truly collaborative venture, with your involvement so that we can share our thoughts on the issue of web sustainability. So, if you know of any interesting case studies of sustainable web projects and tech businesses, please hit reply to this email.

– Tom Greenwood

Top picks from the green web
Web Design Trends to Watch in 2020

Web Design Trends to Watch in 2020


I’m not normally one to pay much attention to web design trends. They pass too quickly and often trendy does not translate into useful.

However, this New Year list from Shopify caught my eye as it features some really thoughtful trends. This includes design for sustainability rising up the digital agenda, following the shift of public attitude to Climate Change that occurred in 2019. They also suggest that there could be a trend to use less JS for wasteful purposes, a move towards static website generators, web accessibility going mainstream and generally more inclusive approaches to web design.

Likewise, Wired magazine put a move to environmental governance as one of its top tech trends to watch in 2020. If this all comes true, it will be a great year for a better web!

Big tech is big into oil

Big tech is big into oil


Vox have produced this excellent short film highlighting the contradiction between the bold sustainability commitments of big tech companies like Google and Amazon, and their growing oil and gas divisions focused on using AI to help discover and extract more fossil fuels.

It highlights the fundamental issue that our society still considers the environment as a nice to have and doesn’t dare to challenge the idea that sometimes, just sometimes, we might need to say no to money.

At a time when scientists are telling us that we need to keep a large proportion of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground, this reckless use of tech needs to end.

A new adventure in climate friendly tech conferences

A new adventure in climate friendly tech conferences


The upcoming New Adventures’ tech conference has produced what I think is the best conference sustainability policy I have seen.

They were thoughtful enough to question whether it is even justified to hold the event at all and dared to set boundaries on the type of companies they want to partner with, despite it impacting their sponsorship budget. They have thought about goodies, event facilities, signage and even their web infrastructure.

What’s more, their goal to reduce travel emissions led them to curate a more UK/Europe focused speaker line up, encourage train travel as the primary mode and end car park subsidies.

If you want to go, it’s very soon! If I had known about this earlier, I would have included it in the previous issue. Sorry!

Quote of the month

If there has ever been a time to take design more seriously, that time is now


Kai Brach

Quick links from our team & friends
Book of the month
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells


I’ve long been concerned about Climate Change, but rarely is it explained with such blunt clarity as in The Uninhabitable Earth. David Wallace-Wells takes us on a journey into our near future to face the stark reality that scientists are predicting but which we are all pussyfooting around. It is a challenging read that made me want to bury my head in the sand, and that’s exactly what Wallace-Wells is trying to highlight. We are all in some level of denial.

We need to face up to reality, not to make us panic but to make even those of us who like to think we are environmentalists give Climate Change the level of seriousness that it demands.

It’s also worth reading his recent piece on how our response to the Australian bush fires highlights a level of global apathy that does not bode well for the future.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2020!

As usual, please do feel free to hit reply to this email to share you ideas, suggestions and feedback. We’d love to hear from you!

– Tom and the team at Wholegrain Digital