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GreenTech South West 2020

Building A World-Class Community Tackling Climate Change with Technology.

As another year kicks into gear, we at GreenTech South West (GTSW), have been looking back at our first year’s impact. Despite the difficulties of 2020, we are still amazed, uplifted and ever hopeful by the incredible people and initiatives working to tackle climate change.

We feel more sure than ever that the South West of England is ideally positioned to play a leading role in the global effort to reverse the climate change catastrophe. We’ve put together a summary of the incredible work we showcased at our 9 free speaker-led events of 2020, and we think you’ll also share our optimistic view!

The 2020 GTSW community

We have over 600 members at the time of typing and we’re proud to lead an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community.

If haven’t joined us yet, you are welcome to do so for free, at: https://www.meetup.com/GreenTech-South-West

You can follow us on LinkedIn (here) and Twitter (here) and #GreenTechSW. Or if you want to get in touch directly our email address is greentechsw@gmail.com.

Over three-quarters of our members are based in the South West of England, but we do welcome people from anywhere to join in. We have good representation from across the UK, including London, and excitingly a growing international member base from European countries (Holland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark) as well as the US.

Our core aim is to put three main topics in the spotlight through a mixture of talks, Q&A and tech demonstrations:

  1. How digital technology can help preserve our environment and tackle climate change.
  2. The environmental impact of digital technology itself and how to mitigate it.
  3. Actions we can take as individuals and businesses to harness technologies in a sustainable way.

Mitigating our own emissions

We are mindful of the carbon emissions we create as a result of our physical and online events, and of our online presence itself.

Whilst our overall emissions aren’t especially significant, we estimated that our online Aug event with Asim created approx 10kg of carbon emissions. We still want to ensure we offset any negative environmental impact our activities are responsible for.

South West based offsetting company Ecologi provide the perfect solution. We now have our own forest at https://ecologi.com/gtsw to which both founders and members donate trees. We planted a whopping 1,005 trees in 2020 which has helped offset just under 21 tonnes of CO2, far more than our estimated annual emissions.

We couldn’t be more grateful to all the kind people for their tree donations and for helping us create a net positive impact.

Our sponsors and supporters

GreenTech South West is sponsored by ADLIB Recruitment and supported by Future Economy Network and Climate Action Tech.

Our founding story

We held our first event on 27th Feb 2020. The story of how GTSW began is one we love to tell. It was serendipity and a shared passion for sustainable technology solutions and a rapid response to climate change that brought us, your three Co-Founders, Ellen, Hannah and Mike together at the beginning of 2020.

Ellen Davies
Ellen Davies

Mike and Ellen, who work together at ADLIB Recruitment, were driven to find a way to highlight how those in the South West were using tech to tackle the ever-deepening climate crisis.

Hannah, a freelance WordPress developer, had been running the Bristol WordPress people meetup and wanted to channel her energy into increasing climate change awareness in the tech industry.

Hannah Smith
Hannah Smith

At the end of 2019, both groups independently began work to make their ideas a reality, and weirdly both settled on running a first event in the week commencing 24th Feb! Mike and Ellen pipped Hannah to the post, and scheduled their first meetup just days before Hannah was about to publish hers. Hannah saw the event and reached out to have a chat with Mike and Ellen.

The trio agreed that creating competing communities didn’t make sense, especially given the urgency of climate change, and instead agreed to become a team and work together. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mike Harley
Mike Harley

And wow, are we glad we did find each other! With no idea of what 2020 was about to throw our way, we found ourselves able to lean on one another in difficult times and still grow the GTSW community.

What follows is a summary of the incredible people and initiatives we showcased and discussed together in 2020…

Launch Of GreenTech South West – February

Chris Wallace – Bristol Tree Forum. A volunteer group which campaigns for urban trees in Bristol. (Here, their Postcode Tree Finder!)

Tim Kindberg – I Didn’t Buy. An online tool for empowering consumers to act against environmental collapse.

Hannah Smith – Freelance WordPress developer. Here, her ‘Tools I use to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of websites I build

Matt Thurling – Sapling Technologies. Uses machine intelligence to tackle the challenge of decarbonisation.

Katherine Piper – Director at Future Economy Network. An events & communications service, delivering sustainability events & networking opportunities.

Here, ADLIB’s interviews with Tim and Hannah.

Our launch event took place at Zone Digital’s offices in Bristol with 5 fantastic lightning talks followed by beers, pizzas and networking. It was great to see Bristol’s appetite for GreenTech and we were heartened by the brilliant turnout before Covid struck.

June – How To Lighten Your Footprint On The Planet, Using Tech For Good – Jo Hand, Giki.

Watch the event HERE.

Jo gave a wonderful talk covering GikiBadges and Giki Zero; their apps to measure, track and reduce your carbon footprint. GikiBadges is an app to help you find sustainable and healthy products in the UK supermarket.

Giki Zero helps you to discover your footprint, find steps to reduce it and celebrate your successes.

Related Links: Giki Badges – https://giki.earth/ and Giki Zero – https://zero.giki.earth/.

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Jo Hand at Giki.

July – How To Talk To Clients About Their Digital Carbon Footprint – Liam Snelling, Digital Detox.

Watch the event HERE.

We very much enjoyed Liam’s talk through his 5 step process to create awareness, facilitate conversations and help clients make inroads into understanding and reducing their digital carbon footprints.

Related Links: For Liam’s slides click here and Digital Detox – https://digital-detox.co.uk/.

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Liam Snelling at Digital Detox.

July – Analyse The Sustainability Of Any Building Using The Susy Checker App – Mauro Fazion, SuSy Research Ltd.

Watch the event HERE.

Mauro gave us an incredible demo of his app under development called SuSy Checker, which analyses building sustainability. Just one click on a map inside the app can show the potential sustainability for any built environment, anywhere, especially the home -very exciting stuff!

Related Links: For Mauro’s slides click here and SuSy Research – https://susyresearch.org/ and SuSy Checker – http://tiny.cc/1i6ksz

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Mauro Fazion at SuSy Research Ltd.

August – Sustainable Software Engineering: Building Carbon Efficient Applications – Asim Hussain, Microsoft.

Watch the event HERE.

Asim pulled a huge audience for his guide to sustainable software engineering with some very interesting insights into the carbon footprint left by bad software development practices and tips on how to tackle them.

Related Links: For Asim’s slides click here and Principles of Sustainable Software Engineering – https://principles.green/ and Asim’s blog – Lead Dev .

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Asim Hussain at Microsoft.

Links shared: ElectricityMap – where does your electricity come from? TheClimateFix podcast
Other interesting related links are here.

September – An Evidence-Based Approach To Tackling The Climate Crisis Fairly In Cities – Sara Telahoun, Anthesis.

Watch the event HERE.

Sara gave a brilliant talk about her work in supporting local councils in the UK with their climate strategies and action plans using software tools like SCATTER. She also talked about her work with Catalyse Change, a Bristol based organisation helping to build the next generation of female sustainability leaders through mentoring, training and confidence building workshops.

Related Links: For Sara’s slides click here and Anthesis – https://www.anthesisgroup.com and Catalyse Change- https://catalysechange.com/

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Sara Telahoun at Anthesis.

Links shared: Click here.

October – Ecosia: Planting Change One Search At A Time – Sophie Dembinski, Ecosia

Watch the event HERE.

With 15+ million users, Ecosia represents one of the largest global movements tackling climate change. As a purpose driven business and registered BCorp, Ecosia has planted 100 million trees since it was founded in 2009. Sophie gave a fascinating talk on how Ecosia works, new products including ‘Ecosia On Campus’ and how they’re taking on Google.

Related Links: For Sophie’s slides click here and Ecosia – https://www.ecosia.org .

Links shared: https://blog.ecosia.org/treecard-debitcard/ – Ecosia’s new wooden debit card! and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT6Ecl8KLbI – 5 Reasons to switch from Google to Ecosia.

November – Bristol Tech Festival – Five Bristol & Bath Green Tech Innovators

Watch the event HERE. As part of Bristol Technology Festival we put on a showcase of the region’s most innovative Green Tech leaders. This event featured several speakers.

Katie Davies – www.purepla.net. For Katie’s slides click here. Pure Planet is the UK’s only digital-first energy supplier, providing households with 100% renewable electricity and carbon offset gas.

Elliot Coad – www.ecologi.com. Ecologi is a subscription service for individuals and businesses to lower their impact on the climate. Ecologi plant trees & fund the world’s best climate crisis solutions.

Andy Hibbert – www.karshare.com. Karshare are a new business in Bristol with an app enabling you to rent or share your car, earn money and support sustainability

Pete Keevil – www.stbah.org. The Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub, a programme run by Pete at the University of Bath, offers bespoke support to help companies in the West of England interested in developing low carbon or sustainable technologies.

Flora Tiley – http://www.sustrans.org.uk/. For Flora’s slides click here. Sustrans connect people and places, create liveable neighbourhoods, transform the school run and deliver a happier, healthier commute.

Related Links: ADLIB’s interview with Karshare, Pure Planet, Sustrans.

Links shared:
Pure Planet Blog – “How to offset your gas” here
World’s number 1 clean energy & electric vehicle channel – Fully Charged
It’s Time – A Festival Of Climate Action – Watch back here

December – Considering The Earth Experience In Digital Design – Gerry McGovern, Author Of ‘World Wide Waste’

Watch the event HERE.

Gerry gave us a passionate summary of how we can all consider the impact on the planet arising from our use of digital. This included the use of the cloud, laptops, smartphones, our purchases (fast fashion, packaging and more) and how to avoid creating unnecessary waste (and subsequently CO2) through digital design.

Related Links: For Gerry’s slides click here and Gerry’s site https://gerrymcgovern.com/ and to buy ‘World Wide Waste’ head here https://gerrymcgovern.com/books/world-wide-waste/buy-the-book/ .

Here, ADLIB’s interview with Gerry McGovern.

Links shared: Click here .

Other communities to join and follow:

Other Local Green Tech innovators to follow:

Useful Tools And Resources