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Money and Environment III: Uncertainty and Risk – MozFest

Wed 9th - Wed 9th March 2022, 15:00 - 16:00 GMT

This session of Money and Environment series took place as part of Mozilla Festival, a unique hybrid: part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world

Money and Environment is a digital debates programme as part of Future Focus bringing together scholars, artists, economists and other professionals in a creative exchange. Through conversation and networking around topics related to economics, technology and environmental change and exploring how finance impacts on the environment and how finance could be reimagined to contribute to the environmental and social agenda.

From examining the complex and sometimes unknown ways in which money and environment might be related throughout history, to opening up discussions around issues surrounding tax havens and offshore economies, algorithms, labour, opaque markets and climate change, we are investigating ideas and questions including whether money and finance can be green or regulated for environmental change, what strategies we can create for ecological good and what knowledge systems we might need and from/with whom.


This session, as part of Mozilla Festival, explores climate risk, and the fact that “risk” is not a universal measure, concept, or value- even in economics where the difference between “uncertainty” and “risk” is an unresolved debate in economic thought, and financial and economic crises cannot be predicted by using sophisticated computer technology and risk modelling. 

In fact, we cannot talk about some “objective” measure or meaning of “risk” as “risk” is a value-ridden notion that varies by cultures, societies, disciplines. So, when the financial sector and financial regulators announce commitments to fight climate risk, as seen at the last COP26 pronouncing a seemingly gigantic USD 130 trillion for this purpose, we should realise that finance and money have a very narrow financial understanding of climate risk. 

Central bankers are concerned about financial instability risk if investors and bankers go bankrupt after a sudden collapse of valuations of carbon-related businesses in financial markets. Financial institutions develop new investment strategies using sophisticated computer modelling of risk to generate high financial returns as the economy transitions to a carbon-neutral one. Climate scientists, on the other hand, use different conceptualisations and measurements of risk in assessing the impact of global warming on earth’s materiality. 

Risks to society from global warming and transitioning to a net-zero economy are altogether different and complex. Geographically, intergenerationally, ethnically, gender-wise, income-wise, etc. we face risks and uncertainties that are not homogeneous. Societal risks are not quantified and computer-modelled like they are in the finance sector but politically mobilised through various discourses and actions. 

Art and artists have a long tradition of approaching and dealing with risk and uncertainty in aesthetic and conceptual forms that question universality. Financial institutions and money managers can enter into a fruitful dialogue with the art world to re-think risk and uncertainty for climate risk and environmental risk purposes. 

At this session we bring together a multi-disciplinary group of people, Pierre Guillet de Monthoux (Stockholm School of Economics), Shân M. Millie (Digital Finance expert), William Drew, artist, and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle). to explore the concept of climate risk and how risk discourses in finance and society need to talk to each other for common good.

This session co-curated and facilitated by Ismail Ertürk and Irini Papadimitriou, is now available online via the Mozilla Festival website. Follow this link to access the discussion in full.


Back in February we launched an open call, inviting artists/art collectives to submit proposals for an online artwork that responds to themes explored in the Money and Environment programme. After receiving many outstanding submissions we can now confirm that the artist chosen to present their work at Mozilla Festival 2022 will be writer and narrative designer William Drew. As part of the Mozilla Festival programme, Will has created Twine game Mine that explores the subject of mining and scarcity.

Mine is a piece of interactive fiction that explores the act of mining and the idea of scarcity, over three continents and five centuries: 16th Century Bolivia, 19th Century South Africa and present-day Texas.

In New Spain (modern-day Bolivia), 1572, Spanish soldier Miguel is gathering young indigenous men to become mita (forced labourers) at the world’s biggest silver mine in Potosi.  Amaru is an old man with two teenage sons who help him farm. Miguel forces Amaru to make the worst decision imaginable.

In South Africa, 1867, on a Boer-owned farm on the Orange River, teenagers Elijah and Erasmus argue about a gemstone Elijah’s just found.

Texas, 2022, Josh returns to his home town to build the country’s biggest bitcoin mining farm. He invites his estranged father on a tour of the facility.

Through the open-source text-based platform Twine, the reader will explore these scenes like still life tableaus, inhabiting different characters, and make decisions that will lightly affect the story”. – William Drew

Click this link to discover more brilliant work created by Will and Click here to explore Mine! 

Future Focus is FutureEverything’s online space of critical conversations, talks and debates, as well as cross-sector exchange, networking and collaboration. 

Launched during the first pandemic lockdown in May 2020, the programme invites people to reflect and respond to current and ongoing challenges and crises, and the role of arts and culture, exploring ideas for kinder, more considerate future worlds.

Future Focus aims to offer a space for sharing inspiring work and ideas, a space to explore peer support and feedback, but also one to enable new connections, creative cross-pollination and critical discourse. With Future Focus, we are inviting our creative community, partners, collaborators, colleagues, friends and anyone else to join us, connect, share work and explore future collaborations.