An Interview With Hannah Smith about the Environmental Impact of WordPress
Welcome to the first of a new series about the environmental impact of the technology we use.
Why should you or I care about this topic?
Personally, I've been online 40+ hours per week for 15 years now. I've spun up hundreds of servers and served millions of visitors.
Does any of that have an impact on the world around me?
I really hope not.
My family lives in Florida which is among the very first places to feel the impact of a changing climate. The whole state is at sea-level, so we're already being impacted by rising oceans. Plus, we're getting bigger and bigger hurricanes, and longer and longer heatwaves.
You may have your own reasons for being interested in the climate, but that's where I'm coming from.
As I start this series, I honestly don't know what I don't know. I'm ignorant in this area. Over the next few weeks, I'm reaching out to people who know a lot more about this topic. I'm delighted to welcome Hannah Smith for the first interview.
The interview with Hannah
Hannah Smith is a WordPress freelancer from Bristol in the U.K.. She was the co-organizer of the Bristol WordPress meetup and now runs the Green Tech South West group. Hannah's site is opcan.co.uk and you can follow her on Twitter.
These interviews are going to focus on actionable steps that we can take. Hannah recommends two steps for us:
If you're interested in learning more, I'd highly recommend Hannah's talk that I've embedded below this interview.
Hannah's talk on reducing the impact of our tech
This is Hannah's full talk on reducing the impact of the tech you are responsible for. Hannah gave this presentation to the South West UK PHP user group.
Here are the slides from Hannah's talk. If you're short on time, these slides give you a great introduction to the key data. Three key takeaways include:
- The internet pollutes as much as the aviation industry.
- The fundamental problem is that electricity for our servers and devices is still mostly generated by fossil fuels.
- It doesn't matter how fast your sites load. The key metric is the number of bytes.