It's your fave WordPress weekly email, now at issue 171!

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Rae, hello!

Welcome back to MasterWP Weekly, your weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals 👋

Hello from Alex and Ben!
This week we’re very pleased to have Hannah Smith guest editing. Hannah is heavily involved in her local WordPress community and is a leader on web sustainability. Web sustainability is such an important area and it’s a pleasure to present this special issue.
Hannah Smith is a freelance WordPress specialist and has co-founded or co-lead a lot of projects: Bristol WordPress people meetup, Bristol WordCamp 2019, and most recently GreenTech South-West. Say hi on Twitter here!
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Organic basics website

Content that adapts depending on availability of renewable energy

For the last year I have been on a mission to buy clothing that has been made sustainably. This has proved very difficult on the high street and I’ve been exploring online shops instead. Finisterre, Howies and Ten Tree are a few of my favourites.

What has disappointed me about these online shops is that their products are great, but their websites and digital marketing approaches are conventional (read flashy), and not in keeping with a sustainable ethos. Lots of big full screen images, auto-playing videos and analytics have meant poor scores for these sites on the website carbon calculator.

The Organic Basics site completely breaks the mould and demonstrates a very exciting model for the future of sustainable ecommerce. Their approach is to monitor the amount of renewable energy available to power their server and adjust the content they’re serving. For example when renewable energy is abundant they’ll serve full resolution photos, but if it’s in short supply you might visit and only see illustrations or perhaps no site at all.

As a shopping experience admittedly it is slightly less convenient, but you can always switch to the ‘regular site’ if you want to look more closely at an item before purchase. And for a shop that stocks basics, not fast fashion, I think this approach works - if I repeat order socks or tank tops, I don’t need to see all the fancy images again. There is definitely a touch of genius about this approach. - Hannah

What it’s really like to be people of color in the WordPress community podcast

Racial justice has more to do with sustainability than you might think

The term sustainability means different things to different people, but I tend to go by this very simple definition: sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Racism is the systematic oppression of one race by another, blocking others from their fair share of resources and ultimately stopping them from meeting their needs. It’s a well documented fact that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Clearly you will never have a sustainable society if racism, or indeed any form of discrimination is still present.

This discussion between Joe and Christie, two well known characters in the WordPress community (I’ve met them both at WordCamp Europe), is frank and honest. I never found it uncomfortable as many conversations about race can be. Perhaps because I can relate to so much of what they were saying through the minority I exist in as a woman developer. I too have always found WordPress a safe and welcoming community but undeniably there still exists an undercurrent of discrimination created by the society we will in.

My key takeaway was Christie’s explanation of the paradox of tolerance and Joe’s confession that he feels that he is responsible for representing the black community wherever he goes. Well worth a listen. - Hannah

Carbon Offset Plugin

Subtitle: Offset the CO2 emissions of your website

Searching through the WordPress plugin repository there aren’t a great number of plugins that can help your site become more environmentally friendly. That said, there are a lot of performance related plugins, but improving performance (aka speed) is not the same as reducing carbon emissions. Granted there is a great deal of overlap.

I like the idea of this plugin as it makes it easier for WordPress site creators to become more aware of their site’s emissions and pay to offset them using Cloverly.

I confess I have mixed feelings about carbon offsetting. They do have a place but if you look at the hierarchy of solutions to prevent a warming planet, they are very near the bottom. Reducing consumption and eradicating waste are more powerful. But if you are the kind of person or organisation who already does all the most important stuff, then carbon offsets are a great way to do even more - Hannah

Principles of sustainable software engineering

Improving the environmental sustainability of software applications

If you are a developer I think you’ll really enjoy these resources by Asim Hussain, Green Cloud Advocacy Lead at Microsoft. He articulates 8 principles to bear in mind when creating and running software such as carbon intensity, demand shaping and networking.

For me this definition of sustainability is a little narrow as it only covers technical aspects, and true sustainability is just as much the social aspects too. Actually, I would argue the social aspects are even more important. But that does not take away from the value of what is here, resources such as this are still hard to come by and Asim definitely knows his stuff. - Hannah
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MasterWP weekly continues below!

World Wide Waste book

How Digital Is Killing Our Planet—and What We Can Do About It

I found this book an absolute gem and devoured it in a weekend. Gerry’s writing style is rather brusque and to the point, but I can absolutely get on board with that because frankly the amount of waste in our digital world is criminal and largely unseen. I love how the book opens with an explanation of the design choices (graphics, fonts, colours) and how those choices impact on the carbon emissions of the producing and distributing the book. - Hannah
MasterWP is a free weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals, written by Ben Gillbanks and Alex Denning. Thank you to our newsletter provider, MailPoet, for sending the email. Thank you also to the people who make it happen: Peta Armstrong formats the newsletter, and Barbara Saul, Monique Dubbelman, and Laura Nelson kindly copy-check for us.

You can get in touch with us – send us your thoughts, comments, or a story – by replying directly to this newsletter.

Quick Links

  • Kjell Reigstad, Carolina Nymark and Eileen Violini will be chatting about the future of block-based WordPress themes and Full Site Editing on Friday, June 26.
  • Jeff Sheldon, the founder of Ugmonk, launched Analog, a simple and clever productivity system that aims to cut out digital distractions.
  • Caleb Porzio reveals how he hit the 100k/yr mark using Github sponsors.

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