The 20th anniversary of WordPress and its role as a dominant CMS mark the moment to act on sustainability now. We (the undersigned) are convinced that WordPress needs an official Sustainability team with the aim of making WordPress and its community lead on sustainability.
Making WordPress leading on sustainability asks for:
- Awareness about the impact of carbon emissions by the web and understanding how to build and work in a more eco-friendly way.
- Guidance for WordPress event organizers to organize events in a more sustainable way.
- Creation and promotion of eco-friendly themes and plugins.
This post contains our vision on sustainability with WordPress, actions of our initiative so far, its focus points, and an explanation of how we see the Sustainability Team functioning in the WordPress community.
Why a Sustainability Team?
Since its inception, WordPress has been a project developed with a mission to build a better web for everyone. The community has enabled the WordPress project to meet the challenges that have arisen during the past 20 years in pursuit of its mission. Now a new challenge is coming up, and we can’t afford to miss it.
Runaway climate change is a fact, and scientifically proven (IPCC Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis). Every industry and sector of society has a role to play in mitigating the consequences. We can no longer look away from climate change, due to carbon emissions. At the same time, the importance of the web is undeniable. The WordPress community has an opportunity to show leadership and set an example on this topic.
We believe that the efforts of a Sustainability team will positively impact other WordPress teams, such as accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility), performance and community, and should work in partnership with them. Digital and event sustainability requires collaboration with the rest of the WordPress teams to achieve effective change.
Establishing and building an official team will significantly raise visibility of the efforts to make the WordPress project more sustainable. It will also show the importance of sustainability inside the project and the support of the leadership. As the team would approach sustainability in a holistic way, this could also appeal to contributors with a non-technical background.
Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. projects, such as Drupal or Wagtail, are starting to show a commitment to sustainability. A W3CW3C The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards.https://www.w3.org/. working group is producing recommendations to encourage those making websites to follow sustainability guidelines. This would be similar to what has been done with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
By creating a Sustainability team, WordPress shows its leadership and willingness to proactively work on a solution for the sustainability challenge.
The main objective is to embed sustainable practices into WordPress processes and its community. The WordPress Sustainability team would aim to promote awareness and actions that lead to carbon footprint reduction throughout the WordPress ecosystem.
What has the sustainability initiative done so far?
- A first “Now we have a sustainability channel in Making WordPress Slack, what should we do?” blog post has been published on Make WordPress Project Updates. This has built on sustainability efforts and research with WordCamps and Meetups in previous years.
- The Make WordPress #sustainability channel has grown towards almost 200 members in less than a year.
- There are weekly #sustainability Slack meetings on Friday, 11:00 UTC. Meetings are announced at https://make.wordpress.org/meetings/. Notes are taken from every meeting.
- Multiple contributors are working on a Google document about Making WordCamp more sustainable, bringing together the previous efforts by contributors in the community for raising awareness and sharing resources through the community and marketing teams. The document focuses on suggestions and tips for how events can be more environmentally sustainable and raise awareness. This is a great example of how a Sustainability team can support and work together with other teams. Once the document is finished, the latest version will be shared with the Community Team to add it to the WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. and meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizers handbook. Materials will also be shared with the Marketing, Community and Training teams, and explore opportunities for further awareness raising and case studies.
- The WP Sustainable plugin, published by the WordPress Hosting team, has been discussed regularly during the weekly meetings in the Sustainability SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channel. Contributors have provided suggestions for how the evolving pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party can improve. The group has had talks with the WordPress Hosting team, the WordPress Hosting team feels it makes more sense to let the plugin be a canonical plugin for the Sustainability team.
- Some of the channel contributors had led a sustainability table at WordCamp Barcelona 2023 Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/.. You can check the summary published at the #sustainability Slack channel.
- There will be a sustainability table during WordCamp Europe 2023 on Contributor Day.
- The group is presenting a sustainability workshop at WordCamp Europe 2023.
The WordPress Sustainability team’s goals
To make the WordPress ecosystem lead on sustainability, we have formulated three goals to work on:
- Creating and spreading awareness about digital sustainability.
As the most used CMS in the world, WordPress has a significant influence on the impact websites can have on the environment. Often we don’t know how this impact is generated, and what we can do as individuals to reduce the impact. Creating awareness about the impact on the environment is essential to make WordPress a more sustainable ecosystem.
- Increasing sustainability during WordPress events.
WordPress events are increasingly thinking about sustainability and need encouragement, support and further development. By producing and maintaining a section on sustainability for the Community handbook, the team will help organizers with a growing reference guide on how they can be as sustainable as possible.
- Building an ecosystem that leads on sustainability.
WordPress is a leader in terms of its user base, in influencing website trends, and the size of its community. It’s also a project that stands out in its values. We believe WordPress, as an ecosystem, can lead on sustainability by acknowledging the necessity to act.
If you are interested, you can read more about the vision shared in the first post in 2022 on the Make WordPress Project blog.
The WordPress Sustainability team would acknowledge that a more sustainable world cannot be achieved individually. The team would need to partner with WordPress users, WordPress teams and the WordPress Community and wider in order to move WordPress towards a more sustainable environmental model.
We invite you!
Together, we can achieve more. We invite you to leave your thoughts and feedback as a comment on the proposal below. Please leave a message of support to identify your support for our proposal and to join #sustainability Slack channel and the weekly Slack meetings on Fridays, 11:00 UTC.
Proposal from: @littlebigthing, @nahuai, @noradriana, @yellowlime.
Reviewed and supported by (in no particular order): @javiercasares, @estelaris, @hanopcan, @webcommsat