Sustainability Reflection Cards

Sebastian Prost & Henry Collingham

This card deck is designed to be a tool to reflect on what sustainability means in relation to digital technology. It builds on a theoretical and methodological framework the “Circles of Sustainability” (James 2015). The cards attempt to understand sustainability both as a holistic concept while also offering specific questions to talk about its aspects. It consists of 28 perspective cards, grouped in four domains (ecology, economy, politics, and culture). Domains are colour coded. When printed, the back of each card also illustrates its domain. Each card consists of a question summarising this particular perspective on sustainability. It also includes four sub-questions, representing different aspects of this perspective. The cards can be used in real-life or virtual workshop settings. “Players” are invited to use the cards to reflect on the sustainability of a specific technology they may develop or use. In turns, they pick a card to discuss it with others. We trialled the cards at Mozilla Festival 2022 with 12 participants. In groups of three they discussed digital archives in relation to mental health, the impact of smartphones on our physical health and on our transport infrastructure, and the impact of cryptocurrencies on diverse communities.
Reference: James, P. (2015). Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of Sustainability. Routledge.

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