We’re in a climate crisis, and technology can either be part of the problem or a force for good, says Greenpeace CTO Priscilla Chumba Kanewa. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, she points out, we have “less than seven years before it gets really hard to live on Earth.” Only last year did the world see Wildfires in North AmericaFloods in South Africa, she says, and even the double tragedy of floods and fires in places like Greece.

Social media allows people around the world to communicate, but “we’re seeing misinformation, misinformation and a disregard for sustainability from some of these platforms—and unfortunately, people have There aren’t many other options.”

Chomba-Kinywa says VCs, startups, investors, and technologists should invest in alternative platforms “that are green, that are ethical, that are value-based, and that give us an alternative. What we have now, being built by people so passionate about the environment that they won’t sell for profit.

While traditional investments are supposed to maximize shareholder value, she argues, investing in these platforms is worth paying a price, as consumers will demand action sooner.

Chomba-Kinywa salutes companies already taking action. Hyundaiwhich recently pledged to stop the supply of heavy machinery used for illegal mining in the Amazon. This, she says, was made possible through the use of satellite imagery and pressure from local community leaders, which led to a report that Hyundai could not ignore.

She explains that good data is vital—Greenpeace has been using it since 2009 to persuade some tech giants to switch to 100 percent. Renewable energy. For those who refused, the campaigning NGO just left. She says other organizations should do the same.

“What if you could use your influence to pressure these organizations to change?” she asks. “Say, ‘We’ve seen the data, we’ve seen your plans. You’re not doing enough, and we’re not going to give you our money.’ Then maybe we can make a little more change.”

Finally, she says businesses need to work with communities in places like Senegal, Zambia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Mexico to understand and support their movements. “Sit down with elders in their communities, listen to the local knowledge that allowed them to live together with nature, and start to re-apply some of those principles,” she suggests. “They are running for their lives.”

Chomba-Kinywa also says the conversation on AI needs to focus on the planet. “We’re talking about values, ethics, and putting guards in place—but we can’t do that without talking about the environment,” she argues. “We need to think about the ecological cost of AI. It has the potential to help us solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges, but it’s only useful if humanity has a habitable planet. “

This article appears in the March/April 2024 issue. Wired UK Magazine.