I’m looking for help to spread the word of digital sustainability even further, and specifically into the open source WordPress community.
What’s the opportunity?
43% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online. It is the most prolific way to build websites on the planet, and used by millions of people worldwide. It is fair to say that what WordPress does, the global digital tech community sees and follows.
In June 2022, following WordPress Europe in Porto, the open source community added a sustainability channel to its Make WordPress Slack group. This is the Slack group the whole community uses to discuss ideas about how to further the WordPress community and software.
This new channel shows an interest in sustainability that we haven’t seen before. It opens up the possibility of forming a sustainability team within the WordPress community.
I’ve been a strong advocate for sustainability in the WordPress space for the past 5 years, with all my efforts being 100% voluntary and funded by myself.
Taking action on sustainability in the WordPress community
It started with my efforts to make the WordPress meet-up I was running, Bristol WordPress, more sustainable. I ploughed huge amounts of effort into co-organising the Bristol WordCamp 2019 conference and making that as sustainable as possible. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to dig up speakers on sustainability too. Since 2019 I’ve been giving talks at many of the UK’s WordPress and PHP meetup groups on digital tech sustainability and how to reduce the carbon emissions of WordPress websites. In 2021 I ran a campaign with ClimateAction.tech called #LetsGreenTheWeb, and had many people from the WordPress community involved.
Not only do I possess a good grasp on digital technology (I hold a BSc in Computer Science), practical experience working with WordPress (I’ve been a freelance developer since 2014) and organising with the community, I also possess strong people and leadership skills.
I also do not represent the interests of a large tech firm. I represent the interests of average people, and women specifically, who have everything to lose as rampant climate change takes hold and changes civilisations as we know it.
I believe there are only a handful of people with the breadth of skills and experience that I have. We need people leading the sustainability team in WordPress who know what they are talking about, and know that real conversations about sustainability go way beyond performance, energy use and offsetting and hold people and communities at their center.
Everything I have done to date, I have just about been able to do in my spare time and around my day job as a developer. With the exception of the fellowship where I was given a small stipend to cover a year’s worth of research and thinking.
But seriously folks, the climate and nature crisis is deepening dramatically. And we’re still not acting like we’re in an emergency in the WordPress community, or in the digital tech industry at large. Or really in any large scale community at all. It still feels like a nice-to-do. An added bonus. We have a limited amount of time to break out of this dangerous sleep-walk we’re in and start doing things differently. We are literally hurtling off the edge of the world.
What am I asking for?
I want to be leading from the front. However, being fully involved in a new WordPress sustainability team is not something I think is possible for me to do in the margins. I can’t do it as a side-gig, and I can’t leverage the potential for the WordPress community to take action to make itself more sustainable as a voluntary action. I’m also not sure it’s fair to ask one individual to take on such an enormous and important task on their own, and out of their own pocket when so many of the large tech firms within the WordPress space, and wider digital tech space, earn so much.
I am asking for help to find funding that would make it possible for me to work on this full-time.
It is quite common practice for tech firms to sponsor people to contribute full-time to the WordPress open source community. Until now no-one has sponspored anyone to work on sustainability specifically. Let’s change that and make a first!
Until when? Until such a point that we have created an unstoppable momentum in the WordPress community. Until such a time where there are literally hundreds of people who can and are taking leadership roles to make the WordPress community truly sustainable.
I am looking for an organisation, or number of organisations who are willing to sponsor me, at a fair market rate for this kind of work, to do just that – to help the global WordPress community become more sustainable.
And not just more performant: more sustainable. Both in terms of it’s social responsibilities and it’s ecological responsibilities. (You can read more about what I mean by that on my project doingthedoughnut.tech).