9 top reddits for tech sustainability enthusiasts
If you’re an activist in environmental issues, you probably actively look for news and reliable sources of information. You likely know plenty of websites that cover sustainability, green technology, and environmentally friendly strategies, but permit me to draw your attention to another resource: Reddit. Or rather, to some segments of Reddit that may have escaped your notice.
Some people are surprised when I tell them that I’m quite active on Reddit. Alas, the online community site has a poor public reputation. Often, it is mentioned in the general news primarily for the toxic behavior of some Reddit participants. As a result, Reddit management has become an example of the ongoing tech-industry imbalance between free speech and responsible online discourse.
However, Reddit is much more than a bunch of mean, sexist racists or a source of cat memes. In my experience, Reddit is (or can be) a true force for good. Every online community is a reflection of its participants, including the behavior they encourage and permit (with firm moderation or self-policing), as well as the topics that capture participants’ attention.
That makes it an especially good place for people who want to change the world—and for the environmentally conscious in particular. If you want to engage with other people who care about corporate sustainability, responsible environmental behavior, and designing technology for a world responding to climate change, Reddit has plenty to offer.
A quick-start Reddit introduction
Reddit is super-popular—the website is currently ranked No. 14 worldwide. It’s not a single community; its success is due to its 1.2 million compartmentalized communities (called subreddits or just reddits) that let members find other people who care about the same things they do. You can find someone who shares your passion, whether you’re interested in baseball, books, computer storage technology, mean birds, or weird-looking dogs, or celebrating when people randomly sing "Country Roads." Some subreddits address topics of general interest (such as books, news, or technology), while others are eclectic by nature (high-performance computing or Sherlock). In many cases, those interests qualify for Abraham Lincoln’s observation, “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.” That’s exactly what I love about it.
In each subreddit, members share photos and videos, links to news and other articles, and advice and opinions. You can participate in a subreddit if you have a Reddit ID (which is free and anonymous), and you can lurk without signing in.
But when you subscribe to your favorite subreddits, the system customizes your homepage. That makes it easier to organize your reading. You see only the subreddits you care about, so I rarely see the nastiness for which the site is criticized. (I subscribe to about 250. Perhaps you think that is excessive, but how else would I keep up to date on cyberlaws or historical costuming?) As with Twitter, it’s up to you to follow the information sources that give you joy (or usefulness) and avoid those that don’t.
Some topics are more popular than others—more people care about books than about network cabling hijinks—but that makes Reddit even more valuable, because you can converse with those of like minds.
As much as I cherish Reddit, I am the first to admit that it is not easily discoverable. If you want to find those “like minds,” you may get frustrated. Sure, often you can guess—for example, reddit.com/r/aws does indeed bring you to a community devoted to Amazon Web Services. But it’s easy to make the wrong guess (is it “introvert” or “introverts”?). Or you may find a tiny community (r/smartcities) when there’s a far more active one under another name (r/infrastructurist). Every so often, you get lucky, and the moderators provide a list of related reddits (such as this one related to ecology, which should keep you busy for a while).
You can always use the search feature, but it’s not very good. Even after all these years—I’ve been on Reddit for well over a decade—I keep discovering new communities. I aim to save you some time.
A short resource list for environmentally conscious techies
There are a lot of ways to care about environmental issues at a personal level. But in this article, my primary interest is corporate, where the driving concern is how businesses can behave in an ethical and responsible fashion. The circular economy is in contrast to the traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose). Its aim is to extract the maximum value from resources, use them for as long as possible, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
A few tools purport to make it easier to find related subreddits (so, for instance, you can see people who are interested in Linux also care about open source). I’ve found the tools more interesting than useful, such as this one; it does suggest that anyone who follows r/ecology might be interested in r/environmental_science.
So, to ensure you have an ongoing feed of news and information as well as an opportunity to ask for advice from those in similar situations, I recommend you explore each of these reddits, which encompass general sustainability topics, smart cities, and related issues. For each subreddit, I include recently popular posts to give you insight into the sort of content you’ll find; naturally, these vary on a daily or hourly basis.
Reddit Sustainability: General interest, and sometimes political. Popular for overall environmental issues. Examples:
- “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for what kind of world you want.”
- Proposal to spend 25% of European Union budget on climate change
- Notre Dame rebuild proposal would bring solar glass, urban farm to cathedral roof
Reddit Eco-Internet: An aggregated news feed related to forests, oceans, water, ecology, indigenous issues, science, human rights, space, and human trafficking. Examples:
- Minnesota program will pay homeowners to transform lawns into bee gardens as species inches closer to extinction
- United Nations says 80 countries may ramp up climate pledges
- Salt Lake City moves up goal to be entirely on 100% renewable energy to 2030
Reddit Green: For issues relating to "green" issues, including (but not limited to) green politics. Examples:
- Portland, Maine, installs marker showing how much of city will be underwater by 2050
- Las Vegas has terrible recycling options for a city of almost a million people, help change that!
- Internal emails reveal how the chemical lobby fights regulation
Reddit Envirotech: Anything related to environmental technology, green technology, or clean technology. (A lovely community, though I wish it were more active.) Examples:
- Sublime colours brought back from oblivion—the exquisite effects of natural dyes
- 'Oceanic awakening' aims for smarter, cleaner marine shipping
- Take note, capitalists: Green energy is where the growth is
Reddit Circular Economy: Small but a good example of intensely interested people. Examples:
- Circular economy: A driver of the energy transition?
- The Port of Amsterdam as a circular hotspot: How a port speeds up the circular economy.
- The world's recycling is in chaos. Here's what has to happen.
Reddit Environment: Current news, information, and issues related to the environment. Examples:
- Britain has gone two weeks without using coal power for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, smashing its previous record of eight days set earlier this month
- LEGO reaches 100% renewable energy target three years ahead of schedule
- Four years after California’s largest dam removal project, how are the fish doing? The river is becoming wilder, and struggling fish populations are rebounding.
Reddit Infrastructurist: A surprisingly active and always interesting community related to building cities and physical (and sometimes computing) technology. Examples:
- Report: U.S. addiction to building new roads eating up money needed for maintenance. States spend as much building new roads as they do repairing them.
- Fossil fuels are underpriced by a whopping $5.2 trillion. We can’t take on climate change without properly pricing coal, oil, and natural gas. But it’s a huge political challenge.
- This Italian city is building a smart community from scratch
Reddit Energy: Anything related to energy. Examples:
- 1 in 5 Americans now live in places committed to 100% clean power
- Illinois might start charging $1,000 per year to own an electric vehicle: 'It's outrageous.' Hybrids and plug-in electric hybrids, which both use gas to supplement electric power, are not included in the $1,000 fee proposal.
- Thanks to satellite data and artificial intelligence, we’ll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world
Reddit Climate Action Plan: For when you need uplifting news to brighten your day. Examples:
- A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm will use satellite imagery to track the air pollution (including CO2 emissions) coming out of every single power plant in the world, in real time. And it’s going to make the data public.
- Global investment in coal tumbles by 75% in three years
- UK Labour Party to install solar panels on millions of government and low-income households
I’m sure I missed some useful sustainability subreddits. Tell me about them at @enterprisenxt.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.