#118 – Nahuai Badiola on Digital Sustainability Across the Whole WordPress Project

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast, which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, sustainability across the whole WordPress project.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to wptavern.com/feed/podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head to wptavern.com/contact/jukebox and use the form there.

So on the podcast today we have Nahuai Badiola Nahuai is a freelance WordPress developer, theme and plugin creator. He also writes WordPress code tutorials, and enjoys sharing everything he learns about web sustainability in his blog, podcast, and at WordPress events.

Nahuai’s life took an unexpected turn one day when he attended a 10 minute lightning talk at a WordCamp. The content of that talk was web sustainability, and it profoundly changed his perspective on how we should view our use of the internet. Nahuai has since been a vocal advocate for sustainability within the WordPress community.

Nahuai extensively researched website sustainability, and came across The Green Web Foundation, exploring the broader dimensions of sustainability beyond just environmental impacts. This passion not only led to the creation of the podcast series, SustainWP, which aims to elevate the discourse on digital sustainability, but also to exploring practical ways WordPress can contribute positively to our planet.

Today, Nahuai and I discuss the nuances of the environmental impact of web development with a particular focus on WordPress. We discuss ideas like reducing code in plugins, and highlight the performance team’s effort to make WordPress more green.

The broader scope of sustainability, including economic and social pillars, is also on our agenda, underlining initiatives like sustainable contributor channels, and the intriguing potential of a plugin that helps reveal the environmental footprint of websites.

If you’re curious about sustainability within WordPress web development, and the community more broadly, this episode is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading to wptavern.com/podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so without further delay, I bring you Nahuai Badiola.

I am joined on the podcast By Nahuai Badiola. Hello Nahuai.

[00:03:24] Nahuai Badiola: Hello Nathan, and nice to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

[00:03:28] Nathan Wrigley: You’re very, very welcome. I’m really happy to have you on today. We’re going to be talking a little bit about sustainability. I will let Nahuai explain what all of that means, in terms of your digital footprint, especially for your websites.

Before we do that Nahuai, would you just spend a few moments telling us your biography, maybe your WordPress origin story, something along those lines, just so that we know a little bit about you.

[00:03:51] Nahuai Badiola: Good. Good. Yeah, I will do my best to, summarize it. So I will go to 2014. Okay, that was the first time I was starting building websites with WordPress. And back then I was still a neuroscientist, so I was following the researcher path. So I was doing my third postdoc in Italy, and I really enjoyed the research part.

I still do, I love researching things, but the researcher lifestyle, not that much. So at the end it’s a lot of time going to a workplace, and when you are a boss, or you are a researcher, you do a lot of paperwork, but a lot. And it was like, it doesn’t sound like the plan I want to do when I’m 40 or whatever when I arrive to that point.

So I started looking for options, as you can guess, after 15 years of, let’s say a specialization on neuroscience, it was like, what can I do? I always be very inclined to technology and the online stuff, so I always enjoyed that part, and I was lucky enough to find WordPress pretty early on.

Let’s say when I was saying, okay, maybe, I want to do something online. Maybe I want to become a freelance to have more freedom. You can laugh here if you want to because we know it’s not that easy. But I can say that I live much better right now than when I was a researcher, so it didn’t went that bad.

So in that moment, I started using it as a user, just building websites for me. The typical travel blog for my wife and these kind of things. I was enjoying this, that part. I was also enjoying tinkering with code. So I was enjoying modifying themes or creating small snippets, these kind of things. And the really nice thing about WordPress is that you have a ton of content online. So that’s really nice.

So another good thing is that there are cool podcasts about WordPress like this one. So I started to listen to them in English, but also in Spanish. And when I went back to Spain, where I’m from, if you didn’t notice my accent by now. I started going to meetups because I already heard about the community, Spanish community.

Indeed, it’s a quite active, and vibrant community. So I start going. Then I start giving some talks and then going to WordCamps, some talks in WordCamps. And then I was already falling in love with WordPress community, so I also started organizing the meetup in my hometown, not hometown, but where I live now, Terrassa, near to Barcelona.

So I was really into the community. I was really enjoying. I was pretty much going well business wise, let’s say. And there was a moment in, this is already 2019, so we move forward five years, I went to WordCamp Pontevedra, and there was a lightning talk, talking about the impact of internet in CO2 emissions.

So it was like, wait, what? And the idea is pretty straightforward. So we know that the internet is this cloud, this thing that we think is ethereal, and it’s run by rainbows and cats and, but it’s not, it’s really run by coal mainly. So the idea is, internet are servers. Those servers need energy. And that energy is mainly still coming from fossil fuels. So that’s that.

So everything you can do to reduce that footprint, it’s more than welcome. And in that moment, it was like, this was a quite obvious thing to think, but I didn’t think about it until I went to this talk. So that’s one of the realizations of the importance of going to this kind of events.

And sometimes you just stumble upon a talk that you say, okay. Indeed, since then I’ve been researching digital sustainability. I’ve been also talking about it, and for not making this journey too long, I will just move to the part when I met Hannah Smith, probably in another WordCamp, WordCamp Europe, Berlin, also the same year.

I know that I knew that she was already doing some research in digital sustainability. She was one of the, I don’t want to call it leader, but people that is sharing about it, and is good doing it. So I start talking with her. I just approach her and say, do you feel it’s okay if we talk online, of course, every month or every two weeks? And she was, let’s do this.

So, in that moment, that relationship went on. We talk mainly about digital sustainability. We really feel really close to our heart, that part. And thanks to that probably, I learn about the Green Web Foundation. This is a nonprofit, that is, they do a really cool things.

You probably, if you heard it, you probably heard it because they have a directory of green hosting. So hostings that are using clean energy, let’s say. But they do much more things. One of the things they do is they have a fellowship. And that was when Hannah was part of the first cohort of the fellowship, and she did a really cool workshop. It’s called Doing the Donut. I will leave you the link so you can share it, but I don’t want to spend too much time here.

Just to say it was a brilliant workshop, interactive workshop I attended as a attendant. And the idea was to put into perspective the impact of digital. Things we do as business, as consumers, in the environmental, and the sociological, and the economic.

So that was one of the first approach of, okay, sustainability is maybe not only the environmental part, but there is also a social and economic part. So that was another aha moment, let’s say.

[00:10:06] Nathan Wrigley: I think getting into the social and the economic part would interesting in a moment. But just for now, so 2014, the beginnings of this, but really the whole of your future really pivoted around a 10 minute lightning talk. You can imagine a scenario in which you just decided, I won’t go that.

[00:10:26] Nahuai Badiola: Skip it.

[00:10:27] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, somebody said, let’s go get a coffee, and your life would be profoundly different. I often have conversations with people who turn up to a WordPress event, and they’re not really sure what it is that’s going to catch their attention. But there’s always something, whether it’s volunteering or the code or whatever it may be.

But fascinating, just really interesting that 10 minute lightning talk led to such a profound change in your life. And the Green Web Foundation, and the fellowships, and all of that bound into it as well.

So, okay, for those people who are listening, it may be that you have never connected the word sustainable, or sustainability, with the environment. So that’s I think one of the things that we want to drive home. Every time you hear that word in the WordPress landscape from now on, you are thinking about the environmental impact. But more broadly as well as we’ll get onto the social, and the economic impact.

Now you’ve taken this to a really interesting new level as well because you like recording the audio and putting a podcast out. So I want to draw attention to everybody. Maybe if you are anywhere near a computer, just hit pause and go and search for SustainWP. It’s a podcast series, and I’m really, I’m just going to hand it over to you. What was the point of that podcast series?

[00:11:42] Nahuai Badiola: So linking to what I was saying about Hannah’s workshop. It was a brilliant way of putting together things that I didn’t thought about it before. So I really liked the philosophy of trying to be more aware in our space. So I say, okay, this is frame in detail, digital sustainability as a whole.

I wanted to move it to WordPress. Let’s say we do a workshop about it. The workshop thing didn’t went far, so I moved to the podcast format, and the idea was indeed the sustainability piece, a limited podcast series. So it’s nine episodes, and the idea is to see the different parts in monographic episodes, let’s say.

The first one is like an introduction of what are you going to find there. But then I move forward and explain what are the three pillars of sustainability, as you say, the environmental, the economical, and the social. But I don’t do it alone, because that would be not that much interesting. But I invited too, 13 guests. Brilliant people from WordPress community, and also from the digital sustainability, let’s call them again, leaders or thought leaders.

So at the end, you can hear pretty much the ideas of every one of them in the different topics. So you are not going to listen to a whole interview, but I will extract snippets of audio, give it context, and put it and wrap it in every episode. That’s a lot of work, by the way.

So thanks again to the Green Web Foundation, because I was able to do it thanks to the Green Web Foundation Fellowship that I was awarded in the second cohort. So that’s why I could do this more refined format, let’s say. Just to explain that is a different format.

[00:13:30] Nathan Wrigley: Just to interrupt there, I think podcasting, it really hadn’t occurred to me that podcasting as a distribution medium is actually fairly sustainable. Video, it consumes a lot of resources. If you begin playing that then there’s megabytes and megabytes of data flowing around.

[00:13:46] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, the website is quite low carbon. Also, another cool thing about podcasting, feed, it’s a feed. That’s a really nice thing in sustainability. The social part is also like, it’s accessible to everyone. You have to be married to any platform. You can listen in the web, in your podcatcher. That’s another really cool thing about podcasting.

At the end is, we talk about the three pillars in sustainability and how they understand them. So I think that it was really interesting for me. I hope more people find it interesting. And then we took these three lenses and talk about how we can improve WordPress, in an events level, because we meet quite a lot, and we like to meet. It’s brilliant we meet. I already explained that I have a lot of good things from those meetings. But maybe we can meet in a more sustainable way.

And the other part is about the CMS, how we can do the CMS, let’s say more sustainable. This part is, the environmental part is very important because WordPress is installed in millions of installations. So everything that we can improve performance wise. And here, I want to give a great kudos to the Performance Team, because they are doing brilliant work here. A lot of cool improvements are coming to WordPress. Lazy load, all the assets that are loaded, only if the block is there. Brilliant stuff.

And the formats, also the WebP. Brilliant stuff. But also we have, since it’s an open source project, we also have the longevity part there. Because, this is run by people that is put in there voluntarily, or maybe sponsored by some companies. But that part is also really important. How we can keep this project ongoing for a lot of years, because I think that it can. So, we also tackle those topics, and that’s the part that is more socioeconomic. We talk about Five for the Future project and other stuff. And I think there were a lot of interesting ideas and discussions about it.

[00:15:56] Nathan Wrigley: Can I just ask a quick question? Well, one question and then one observation. The first one is, you mentioned a few times the three pillars. Just to cement into everybody’s heads, would I be right in saying that’s environment, social, and economic? Are they the pillars? Okay. So just wanted spell that one out.

The second thing, which is an observation, is, yeah, it really hadn’t occurred to me quite so profoundly until you just said it, that if you can modify the CMS, which powers 43% of the web, in one stroke, you are doing so much good. If you can cut out, I don’t know, 10 kilobytes, or a hundred kilobytes, or a megabyte from every single WordPress website, millions and millions of times over, you’re doing profoundly good work, by doing one thing. And that really hadn’t hit home for reasons I can’t explain, but okay, that’s really amazing.

[00:16:51] Nahuai Badiola: I want to mention one example. That one was eyeopening for me, let’s say. It was when Danny van Kooten share the impact it has to remove, I think it was 20 kilobytes of JavaScript from one of his plugins. I think it was MailChimp for WooCommerce. And since that plugin was I installed in, I think, 2 million WordPress or something like that, it was tons of CO2 he was reducing. Just because of those 20 kilobytes.

[00:17:25] Nathan Wrigley: So 20 kilobytes from his plugin, which by the sounds of it, has an enormous user base. 20 kilobytes spread across those 2 million websites, and I guess he’s doing some analysis of how many times his plugin is loaded and all of that, tons.

[00:17:40] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, tons. I don’t remember. And I think he also put it in car travel or something like that. It was like a lot of car travel, or a lot of kilometers done in car, and it was like, this is huge. So that was a popular plugin. Imagine what can be done in Core that can have potentially even more impact. And indeed, I think they are already doing it somehow in Performance Team. So, yeah.

[00:18:06] Nathan Wrigley: It’s interesting that the Performance Team, let me just rewind a bit. So the WordPress Performance Team has been going for, let’s go for about two years, something like that.

[00:18:13] Nahuai Badiola: Two or three, I think, yep.

[00:18:15] Nathan Wrigley: Nahuai’s holding up three fingers.

[00:18:17] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah. because they started as part of Core, but now are established, so that’s why maybe we have two dates, but yeah.

[00:18:25] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so three years and in that time, the messaging that seems to come out of that team, not from the team, but the interpretation I often have in my head is how much quicker it’s making WordPress. Because you always think of performance, oh, it’s going faster. And of course that’s true, and that’s great, but an intended consequence I guess, is this environmental, sustainable side of the performance.

And again, I hadn’t really joined the dots there. And if you are saying that 20 kilobytes, from a 2 million install plugin means tons of CO2. If we take megabytes out of the core of WordPress, that must be hundreds and hundreds of tons of CO2. I have no intuition as to what that number would be, but I’m guessing it would orders of magnitude more. Again, just another profound realization.

[00:19:21] Nahuai Badiola: So, this team was already ongoing for let’s say two, three years, and they are doing brilliant stuff. Again, I can’t praise enough for their work. But, in parallel to this SustainWP project I was doing, and putting the dots together and seeing the sustainability not only as an environmental part, but also economic and social part. In parallel, we were creating a first sustainability initiative inside WordPress. And the last year in WordCamp Europe in Athens, we became an official team, after doing a lot of, all the steps that are needed to be a, an official team.

I don’t want to spend too much time on the process because I don’t want to take too much time. I want to tackle so many things. So I will encourage you if you’re interested on understanding better how the team was created. We have a dedicated episode in SustainWP, is the number seven. And there you can see how the evolution went.

[00:20:21] Nathan Wrigley: I’m just to interrupt there and tell the listener the URL, because many people listening to this and won’t be desk or anything, so let’s put it in your head. It’s sustainwp.com. No hyphens or anything. Just sustainwp.com. And then if you go down to episode seven, it’s called WordPress Sustainability Team.

So you can short circuit by listening to that episode. It seems to run to just under an hour. Sorry, carry on.

[00:20:45] Nahuai Badiola: No, no, that was nice. Yeah, that’s, we have to remember this is audio and it’s always good to do this kind of stuff and say, hey, remember. So you will have it also in the show notes, but if you are interested.

So at the end we’ve been doing, first in the initiative and now as an official team. We’ve been meeting in Slack every week, and we’ve been talking about how we can do the project more sustainable in all the areas. And one of the two projects that we have right now ongoing, and I will mention briefly in case you want to join us, because we are open to always to have new contributors.

One of them is the handbook that is aiming to create a more sustainable events. So as I say, we meet a lot, in meetups, WordCamps, and especially in the flagship WordCamps. A lot of stuff is moving around. So the idea is since the organizers we have to remember are volunteers, so they are not professional people that are usually creating these kind of events.

They do what they can with the time they have. So the main idea is to put together a lot of ideas that could improve the sustainability of the event in a list. So they can go there and say, okay, I would like to do a bit more sustainable event. What can I do? Can I reduce the swag? That could be an option.

Leaving the option to the user in the registration if they want to have a T-shirt, if they want to have a lanyard even, because I have already enough lanyards. So this kind of small things that maybe if we start to standardize it. Maybe we don’t need to create so much swag for the welcome pack, let’s say.

Then we also have some ideas from sponsors. Indeed, some of the sponsors came to WordCamp Europe contributor day and they were willing to understand how they can do a bit better in that way. So some of them are already trying to do better.

Another big part could be promoting the traveling. So traveling by train when it’s possible. And indeed in this years WordCamp Europe, in Torino, there is a dedicated page where there is information about the trains you can take if you are in Europe.

So just putting easier to organizers to serve those resources. And then make it easier to the people that is attending to have maybe a more sustainable habits when they are going.

[00:23:18] Nathan Wrigley: I guess many of us have been to WordPress events, and obviously a lot of people have spent time organizing it. But like you say, it’s run by volunteers and it may well be that you just don’t have the ideas that would be contained in the handbook.

So we’ll link to the handbook as well, so go through that list and maybe some of those, if you’re a Meetup organizer, or if you’re a Word camp organizer, some of those things you could tick off. That’s, yeah, that’s really interesting.

[00:23:44] Nahuai Badiola: That’s still a draft, but yeah, we will like to have it in a more definitive format by the WordCamp Europe this year in Torino. So hopefully we have it.

[00:23:52] Nathan Wrigley: One other quick thing, you mentioned contributor day. If you don’t know what that is, the contributor day is often attached to the beginning or the end of a WordPress event. And the idea is that you show up and you put yourself onto a table, and that table has a theme, and you work on that thing for the duration of that day.

So it may be photography, it may be core, it may be marketing. So is there a sustainable or a sustainability table? Is that often the case now? If you were to go to one of the WordCamps, maybe one of the larger ones, is that a part of the agenda to get a sustainability table?

[00:24:25] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, indeed. Last year we had the first one in Europe, let’s say in the first one in a flagship WordCamp. Because we already did in Barcelona and Pontevedra. This year is going to be also a contributor day with sustainability table in Torino. The idea is to be one of the tables that is usually set up for that.

Of course, we need someone that is coming to the meeting somehow, and they know more or less what are we working on? But yeah, yeah. The idea is to spread and have it as one of the, since we are already an official team, if in a WordCamp there is someone that is working in something that we are doing in a sustainability team, they are welcome to host the sustainability table.

[00:25:06] Nathan Wrigley: So call to action, dear listener. If are heading to a WordCamp event, particularly Torina, in the year 2024, WordCamp Europe, and you’re not sure where to put yourself for the contributor day, now you’ve got an option.

[00:25:19] Nahuai Badiola: Indeed.

[00:25:20] Nathan Wrigley: We’ll, provide links in the show notes, but maybe we’ll get some contact details for Nahuai as well, anyway. Brilliant, carry on.

[00:25:26] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, so we can link it with this. If the event handbook doesn’t sound appealing enough to come to the contributor day, or to come to the Slack meeting, we are also doing, creating a plugin that aims to surface some information about the impact, environmental impact. Of the website, probably in the WP admin, or site health, or we have to think where to put it.

But at the end, the idea would be, the initial idea was to use some of the APIs that are there to surface how much CO2 is emitting your website, okay. Giving you some context. You are in the 10% dirtiest websites. Or, you are in the 15% more cleaner. So something like that. And also some resources to understand better what that means, because maybe that’s a new information for you, like it was for me in 2019.

And the idea is to raise awareness. So the people that are using WordPress, they see that and if they are intrigued and they want to know more about it, they can understand better. And the following idea would be they take actions to improve that, okay. But that would be the next step.

[00:26:40] Nathan Wrigley: So the plugin not only will surface where you stand in the panoply of websites, you know you’re in the top 10% in terms of sustainability, or you’re in the bottom 10%. But also in the future you’ll be providing guidance, things that you can do to mitigate the things that we have flagged. Okay, that’s fascinating.

[00:26:58] Nahuai Badiola: That will probably be another plugin because, and I will explain why we want to keep really simple, the one that is surfacing information about the environmental impact. Indeed, we are now thinking that maybe using CO2, calculating the CO2, it requires to do calls to a third party API, that we don’t want to do it, or include the library. And we don’t want to do it because the aim is to build a feature plugin that can go inside core.

So it has to be really lean, and clean, and comply with everything that is needed to be in core.

[00:27:38] Nathan Wrigley: Including this into core. Sorry, I’m interrupting alot.

[00:27:41] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah. no, that’s so nice because you’re excited with it. So I think this would be huge if we manage to do it. And we are taking steps slowly because of this. Because the aim is to be in core.

If we manage to put some context there, maybe, I don’t know if CO2, but maybe it’s performance metric, and creating some kind of rating that also you can understand. So from A to F or whatever we decide. So the user can see a red F or a green A, and they say what that’s mean. And probably we have to put some links to understand better the context.

But having that in core, I think it’s a brilliant way of raising awareness about it.

[00:28:26] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. One of the things that’s coming into my mind is that, obviously if you’re a WordPress professional, if you’re a web developer, I imagine you’ve scratched the surface on this topic a little bit. You’ve probably had at least some thought that, boy, we produce a lot of carbon with this industry.

But the people who are managing the websites, the people who are in effect, the clients who have had the website built for them, who don’t really have the technical expertise, maybe they are content creators, or writers, or journalists or whatever it may be. It’s an interesting thing to present them with as well to surface in their mind, boy, my website, yes, of course. It’s running on a computer and it’s producing carbon.

I think that’s also quite interesting, because the audience for that is much bigger than the developer audience. And so reaching out to those people and just injecting that thought. Okay, your website has an impact. That’s really profound as well.

[00:29:18] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah. And as it was for me, the environmental part and the CO2 part, in SustainWP we talk about the carbon tunnel vision that we usually have in sustainability. That means that in a lot of places we equate CO2 to sustainability. And that’s just one part, but is one of the parts that is easier to understand.

We play so much with it. And I usually refer it as a Trojan horse. So you start talking about CO2, and the impact in the environmental part, and you gather some interest, and maybe you are, if you are good enough, you can learn them to understand that sustainability is not only environmental, and there are more things.

And talking about this, one of the things that the team would like to improve is what I was mentioning before about the longevity of the project. Right now there are a lot of contributors, some of them are sponsored, which is brilliant, but others are not. The ones that are not sponsored, sometimes it’s okay for them because they are putting, let’s say two hours a week, and they are fine because they have all their stuff. But there is people putting more time than that, and probably it’s not sustainable in time.

So, one of the aims, and one thing that was already talking in the Community Summit last summer, was to create what I call for a lack of a better term, like a portal where we can put the contributors that are doing active stuff on the project, and are not sponsored, of course. And companies that are open to sponsor people that are contributing to the project.

[00:31:05] Nathan Wrigley: You are acting a bit like a go-between to connect people who perhaps don’t have the expertise to get involved with this, but they have the finance. They have the capacity to put somebody in that chair, and they can pay them for their time and make that worthwhile. Okay. That’s interesting.

[00:31:22] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, so here probably one of the things that as a first idea or product that can go there. It would not contain the financial part, because that’s really tricky. It would be maybe just a way to contact. It’s a portal where you can connect.

[00:31:39] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. You are making the introductions. Right, I get it.

[00:31:41] Nahuai Badiola: And then they go wherever they want. They need to go to do the financial part. Because the financial part is quite tricky. And indeed there is already something put in place that is called WordPress collective community.

[00:31:56] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, the WPCC. Yeah, I’ll link to that.

[00:31:59] Nahuai Badiola: Exactly. And that’s an initiative that it’s ongoing. I think at least they already managed to sponsor, I think a couple of people. Basically you can put some money there as individual, but also any company can put some money there to sponsor people that is contributing.

But in this portal idea thing would be to have like a, a directory of people that is doing active things. And for that, maybe it’s going to be helpful, the metric dashboard, project that is starting. Meaning that probably the companies that want to put some money in someone, they want to see a specifics.

So this person is doing, let’s say, five hours in community team, and is doing this specific task. So they know that they are putting the money there. Or let’s say in plugins, review or in theme review, or whatever, team it is.

So I think there is a lot of potential there. I think the people in Five for the Future, are willing to improve some of the system that is there. Because right now, Five for the Future is a brilliant project, but I have the feeling that it’s mainly big companies sponsoring full-time to contributors, which is brilliant. And that’s why the pace of WordPress evolution is that fast. Because Automattic and other big companies are putting a lot of people working on there.

But there is, from my point of view, a lack of freelance that are putting time to the project. And they are not able to gain any sponsor, because maybe it’s tricky. It’s more tricky to sponsor part-time, someone, instead of having an employee just donated to. So I think we can improve some things there.

So I’m just talking about the idea, because I know there is interest in a lot of sense, and we just need to find the way of moving it forward. But I think it would be really beneficial if we can close that gap between contributors that are already doing things, and companies that are, they are understand they have to do something, give something back, or they want to have some cool people related with their brands, let’s say.

[00:34:14] Nathan Wrigley: What’s fascinating here is, there’s obviously the code side of things. Reducing the impact of the footprint that WordPress creates. But it also appears from everything that you’ve just said, that if code is not your thing, the sustainability team, they need your help in all sorts of other ways. Like trying to figure out how to marry up sponsors with contributors, freelancers with sponsors, and so on and so forth, how to actually shape that team.

So it’s very meta that, isn’t it? You want people on the team to help you figure out what the team will be doing.

Okay, that’s perfect. So my guess is that you are, you have your doors wide open. You are hoping that people will listen to this and will come knock on your door, find it wide open, step inside. So where do we go? Where’s the best place, best place or places to find out more about the sustainability initiatives in WordPress?

[00:35:04] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, I think probably it’s coming to the weekly meetings. Probably we are going to move it to every two weeks, so we can have time to do more stuff between the meetings. We will leave the link of the Slack channel. It’s easy, we are the sustainability channel. So I think you can come and you can join some of the ideas that are going. You can drop your idea if you are willing to move it forward.

So one of the posts I wrote in the Green Web Foundation Fellowship, during the fellowship, it was sustainability as an umbrella term, because I really think, and during this journey, I saw it even more clear, that sustainability has a lot of things that are, they can be under it. So that’s one of the benefits of having this team, and we can collaborate with performance. Indeed for the plugin that we were talking before, probably it makes sense, a lot of sense to collaborate with them.

But there is also parts of inclusivity and making the events, not only more sustainable in a environmental way, but also inclusive. And that’s why we also want to have a close relationship with the DEIB working group. I think you already talk with Birgit, right?

So there are a lot of things that maybe we don’t have to do everything under our team, but I feel we really need to collaborate well, or have good relationship with other working groups or with other teams. And yeah, it’s a really cool place to come, and drop your idea or join forces with the things that we are already doing.

[00:36:42] Nathan Wrigley: As with every episode, everything that Nahuai has mentioned, I will try to track it down, or probably Nahuai’s going to drop the links into our shared show notes. But everything that we’ve mentioned, I will endeavor to get on the WP Tavern website. So if you go to wptavern.com/podcast, search for this episode, and you’ll be able to see the show notes there.

It’s the topic of our time this, isn’t it really. There are a few things which matter, and then there are some things which matter a lot, and this really does feel like it goes into the, this matters a lot, category. If somebody wanted to reach out to you just to bat some ideas around with you personally, that might be a good way in. Where can we get in touch with you personally?

[00:37:27] Nahuai Badiola: Yeah, probably all the workers related stuff, Slack is a good place. If you are not there, you will probably join earlier or later. But if you don’t want to start there, you can find me also in Mastodon. I’m on Twitter, not very active, but I still have the account. And my website, and my mail. My mail is where I manage everything, so you can also find it. Even if it’s, if the website is in Spanish, you can go to contact and just write me something and, no problem. And yeah, I think that’s pretty much it.

I feel like, as I say, sustainability is so many things and we had limited time. I think we are doing good job putting everything together. If you really want to hear really cool ideas and some debates about it, we already did the plaque of SustainWP, but I really think that they were brilliant, the, guests. And if you’re interested in the topic, I think you can enjoy that podcast.

[00:38:24] Nathan Wrigley: Perfect. There’s nine episodes over there. It just remains for me to say a great big thank you. It’s amazing to hear somebody that’s quite so passionate about this subject.

Hopefully you’ll have driven some engagement in your direction. Nahuai thank you so much for chatting to me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:38:40] Nahuai Badiola: Thank you Nathan, and let’s hope somebody is the tipping point where they discovered this link as that talk in Ponte Vedra was for me, and they just start being interested in the topic. Thanks a lot Nathan.

[00:38:53] Nathan Wrigley: I have my fingers and my toes all crossed. Thanks so much.

[00:38:56] Nahuai Badiola: Bye bye.

On the podcast today we have Nahuai Badiola.

Nahuai is a freelance WordPress developer, theme, and plugin creator. He also writes WordPress code tutorials and enjoys sharing everything he learns about web sustainability in his blog, podcast, and at WordPress events.

Nahuai’s life took an unexpected turn one day when he attended a 10-minute lightning talk at a WordCamp. The content of that talk was web sustainability and it profoundly changed his perspective on how we should view our use of the internet. Nahuai has since been a vocal advocate for sustainability within the WordPress community.

Nahuai extensively researched website sustainability and came across the Green Web Foundation, exploring the broader dimensions of sustainability beyond just environmental impacts. This passion not only led to the creation of the podcast series SustainWP, which aims to elevate the discourse on digital sustainability, but also to exploring practical ways WordPress can contribute positively to our planet.

Today, Nahuai and I discuss the nuances of the environmental impact of web development with a particular focus on WordPress. We discuss ideas like reducing code in plugins, and highlight the Performance Team’s efforts to make WordPress more green.

The broader scope of sustainability, including economic and social pillars, is also on our agenda, underlining initiatives like sustainable contributor channels and the intriguing potential of a plugin that helps reveal the environmental footprint of websites.

If you’re curious about sustainability within WordPress web development, and the community more broadly, this episode is for you.

Useful links

WordCamp Pontevedra

Hannah Smith’s presentation at WordCamp Europe 2019

The Green Web Foundation

The Green Web Foundation Fellowships

SustainWP Podcast

WordPress Performance Team

Five for the Future

CO2 emissions on the web by Danny van Kooten

WordPress Sustainability Team Handbook

WordPress Community Summit

WordPress Community Collective

Sustainability Slack Channel

Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0

Doing the Doughnut Tech website

Sustainability Team Events Handbook (Google Doc)

Nahuai’s website

Nahuai on Mastodon

Nahuai on X

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