What We Can Do Better: Imagination and Future Narratives.

Cathleen Berger
2 min readJun 25, 2021

The Internet’s Environmental Impact. Part 4.

“We need courage, not hope.” ~ Kate Marvel

The courage to change and adapt our own actions if we want to genuinely do what we can to limit the damages of the climate crisis.

In her essay, Marvel also posits: “Hope is a creature of privilege: we know that things will be lost, but it is comforting to believe that others will bear the brunt of it.” — In that, climate privilege is just another systemic pattern of oppression, similar to white supremacy.

Is it difficult to change and adapt your, mine, our actions? Sure. But not impossible.

I’ve learned over the years that the main obstacle to move towards action is often imagination. We struggle to drive positive change, if we can’t envision what a better future would look like.

Therefore, today’s final post in this series on the internet’s environmental footprint and what we can do to improve it, is a list of various pieces of inspiration. These are not limited to the role of the internet and other digital technologies, though they feature in all of them.

Everyone has their own preferences for what is most inspiring or engaging. It may be stories, music, paintings, or other artefacts. Below are some of the pieces that resonated with me, which I go back to when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the challenges we face. If you have any additional sources of inspiration, please share in the comments.

Neither of us will shape that better future by ourselves. But each of us can contribute; in the stories we share, the visions we create, the businesses we build, the policies and laws we write, the choices we make, or the questions we ask.

The main premise is that we need the courage to change our mindsets and actions.


• Kim Stanley Robinson: The Ministry for the Future

• Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Katharine Keeble Wilkinson: All We Can Save


• The Secret Lives of Black Women, Episode 33 “Decolonizing Climate Activism with Elsa Mengistu

• Tonspur N, Episode 84 “Grüner wird’s nicht


Living the Change.

• Black Panther — Shayna Robinson’s take on the world of Wakanda captures well why.

Urban design

Liam Young’s Planet City.


The Museum of the Fossilized Internet (social VR)

• Futurium: Urban Jungle.

Allow yourself to pause. Allow yourself to move beyond merely replacing what we know — cars, clothes, devices, things — with “sustainable” versions of them, still tied to narratives of perpetual growth and financial gains, and instead reconsider what we need. Let’s stretch our imagination and focus on wellbeing and happiness.



Cathleen Berger

Strategy expert, focusing on the intersection of technology, human rights, global governance, and sustainability