Funding Opportunity: Mozilla Technology Fund (MTF) AI and Environmental Justice

About the Organization

The Mozilla Foundation works to ensure the internet remains a public resource that is open and accessible to us all.

Mozilla invests in bold ideas, global leaders, and the convening and campaign power of people. For more than two decades, we’ve worked across borders, disciplines, and technologies to fuel a movement to realize the full potential of the internet.

About the Grant

We are living through a climate emergency. While we understand that the impacts of this crisis will not be evenly distributed, they will be felt by all.

For the past two years, the Mozilla Technology Fund has funded research and development in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems; specifically, we have supported open source projects that have increased transparency and mitigated bias in the AI ecosystem. Increasingly, we are learning about the effects that the growing use of AI will have on ecosystems and the people who live in them. What steps might we take to reduce the environmental and climate impacts of AI adoption? And is there a role AI systems can play in addressing topics like environmental degradation, climate change, indigenous justice, food justice and energy justice? This year, the Mozilla Technology Fund seeks to fund open source projects at the intersection of environmental justice and AI which are making a positive impact in ecosystems and human communities.

Mozilla is interested in convening technical projects that have a firm grounding in environmental and climate justice, sustainability, and ecology. We understand that the effects of climate change will be felt disproportionately by the global south, especially people of color, indigenous and traditional peoples, local communities, and specific ethnic-racial groups. We are particularly interested in projects which can address the health, economic and social impacts of climate change on these groups (e.g. the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA)) and which are built by these groups or in close partnership with affected communities.

Generally, the Mozilla Technology Fund supports open source projects which already have some momentum: a working prototype, a community of contributors and a user base. Given the early stage of research in the AI + environmental justice space, for this round of funding, we are also willing to consider earlier-stage and more experimental projects, provided they will be built by a team with a past track record of success.

Some categories of projects we are interested in funding during this round:

  • Projects which expose or mitigate the climate impacts of AI systems: We are beginning to see research that reveals the large footprint that AI systems have in terms of carbon emissions, water and electricity use, as well as the environmental impacts of extracting lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements and conflict minerals for use in batteries and hardware. Furthermore, machine learning and remote sensing are now being used by oil and mining companies to accelerate the speed at which natural resources can be extracted. We are excited to consider any projects which help illuminate or take steps to mitigate the environmental impacts of AI technologies, including those mentioned above.
  • Projects which utilize AI to conduct environmental impact assessments: Could AI technologies be used to catalog and analyze environmental degradation, land and water use, pollution and other environmental impacts? Could these systems be used to monitor the ways in which specific industries—large agribusinesses, the timber industry, mining and coal—are impacting the environment and climate? Are there insights which could be gleaned that could help affected communities advocate for a safer environment or more responsible use of resources? Are there frameworks that could help evaluate the effectiveness of AI as a tool for environmental assessment and the tradeoffs involved with regards to broader environmental justice concerns? Could these frameworks provide activists with data that could help them resist harmful AI solutions?
  • Projects that prototype Grassroots AI systems for ecological management: Are there AI systems which could be built and maintained by or in deep partnership with communities to help them better manage the use of their resources and the safety of their land, water, air and food systems? Could these systems help communities achieve goals like responsible forest and wildfire management, promoting biodiversity, or traceability of agricultural products? Are there new types of intelligent systems—non-human intelligence or “natural intelligence”—which could be leveraged in such systems? Data sources for such projects might include satellite imagery, remote sensing data, socio-biodiversity records, climate data, historical land-use data, and local ecological knowledge contributed by communities and groups impacted.
  • Projects which combat climate disinformation: A great deal of climate disinformation (false and misleading content on climate, ecology, land, and territorial rights) flows through social media and other media channels. What AI-based tools might we provide citizens to help identify and combat the spread of climate information which is verifiably untrue? How might we push back against “greenwashing” and disingenuous “climate solutions” by providing data and analysis that shows the true ecological impacts of industry, commerce and other human activities?

Grant Size

The Mozilla Technology Fund will provide awards of up to $50,000 each and one year of mentorship and support to open source projects which meet the criteria listed below. Our goal is to provide projects in the MTF: AI and Environmental Justice cohort with the resources needed to unlock their full potential and to make them more sustainable in the long term.


What are we looking for –

We imagine that the MTF: AI and Environmental Justice Awards will support a variety of hardware and software projects (including utilities and frameworks), datasets, tools, and design concepts. We will not consider applications for policy or research projects (though software projects which leverage, support, or amplify policy and research initiatives will be considered—for example, software which is built to support an ecological study that can be leveraged by other researchers).

All applicants should:

  • Have a product or working prototype in hand (we will also consider projects at the idea stage if the project team can demonstrate a track record of success in launching and building community around similar projects in the past)
  • Already have a core team in place to support the development of the project (this team might include software developers working in close collaboration with ecologists, AI researchers, designers, product/project managers, and subject matter experts)
  • Embrace openness, transparency, and community stewardship as methodology
  • Make their work available under an open-source license

Who should apply –

These awards are open to all applicants regardless of geographic location or institutional affiliation, except where legally prohibited. However, Mozilla is especially interested in receiving applications from Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA); members of the Global Majority or Global South; ​​Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color; women, transgender, non-binary, and/or gender-diverse applicants; migrant and diasporic communities; and/or persons coming from climate displaced/impacted communities, etc. We strongly encourage all such applicants to apply.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be legally able to receive funds in the form of a grant from the Mozilla Foundation (a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization)
  • Be working towards solving a public interest problem or issue related to the focus of this Call for Proposals
  • Meet the criteria outlined in the ‘What are we looking for?’ section above

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted for a period of four weeks and will then be reviewed by a committee of experts, which will make final funding decisions and allocate awards out of a total pool of $300,000.

Applicants can expect to hear back within six weeks of submitting an application; Please email with any questions.

Applications will be open from September 7th to October 5th, 2023 at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

Submit your Application

 For more information please check the Link

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *