Why should communities care about emerging technologies?

Kristin: This week I am presenting at the Sir Mark Oliphant Conference ‘Cleantech Science and Solutions – Mainstream and at the Edge’ The key question I am asking is why should communities care about emerging technologies, including cleantech. Here are my slides and I’ve added a little commentary in the full post. I look forward to your comments.

Slides 1-5: Provide the outline of the talk and the definition of cleantech, including a great selection of bubbles by Australian Cleantech to illustrate the various clean technologies. But who sets this definition? If we define clean technologies as those combating greenhouse gas emissions, then why don’t we add nuclear or geoengineering to the mix? And why shouldn’t broader communities see cleantech this way?

Slide 6: Sets the context and asks the question – why should my community (local, online and work) care about emerging technologies like cleantech?

Slides 7-8: This is my model for thinking about some of the worldviews or drivers for communities thinking about cleantech. It’s a two-by-two matrix that pits an interest in cleantech against a capacity to act to end up with four views: sustainability, efficiencies, catastrophe or apathy.

Slide 9: Introduces a spectrum of how communities might engage with emerging technologies across information and education, risks and benefit analysis and aspirations and fears. How they can gain understanding, participate in decision-making and build collective vision.

Slides 10-19: Provide examples of information and education online, the risks and benefits that need discussion and hope to think through people’s hopes and how they’ll act for change.

Slide 20: Illustrates that the three mechanisms for engagement may require different levels of expert and public input, and that all three need to occur simultaneously.

Slide 21: Finally we return to the community of Slide 6 to see what a cleantech vision might look like for us, and ask where is the vision around cleantech? This is why communities should care.


  1. Dear Kristin
    I really enjoyed your presentation and would like to get access to your slides.

    I am also interested in whether you might be available to present at a future Macedon ranges Sustainability Group event – no dates yet but seeking your interest in principle.



  2. Thanks Peter. Look forward to catching up on how these ideas are relevant for you too.

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