[Foundation-l] WMF-projects: Carbon neutral/low/aware website?

Jack Herrick j2 at wikihow.com
Sat Jun 9 01:27:54 UTC 2007

As the founder of wikiHow, which is the wiki which has already become carbon
I think I have a perspective on this issue which might be helpful to

When wikiHow went carbon neutral the majority of community members and
readers were positive about the move.  For many it affirmed belief that
wikiHow was more than just your average website. That said, there were some
community members who opposed it for a variety of reasons including
skepticism of carbon offsetting, skepticism of global warming and a belief
that wikiHow should not be engaging in any forms of political statements.
Others thought it was no more of a political statement than saying "I
recycle" or "I clean up my garbage." It is this issue surrounding NPOV  /
and desire not to make political statements which is probably the thorniest
issue here and something that the Wikimedia community would need to work out
before proceeding.

Food for thought: If Wikimedia went carbon neutral it would have influence
throughout the world that would go well beyond offsetting many tons of
carbon.  The Wikimedia Foundation has earned a good deal of moral
authority.  Other websites including wikiHow and many others look to the WMF
for leadership on many fronts. By setting this example, other websites big
and small would follow suit.  Every person who has contributed to a WMF
project has helped spread ideas that have made the world a better place:
You have created and shared knowledge.  You have educated others on the
concept of free culture. You have proven it is possible to assume good faith
and collaborate with total strangers.  Now you have the chance to spread the
concept that reducing and cleaning up your own pollution is a responsible
way to run any corporation or non-profit organization. It is one more great
idea that Wikimedia could spread widely.

On the issue of cost, this is a challenging but solvable problem. If a
volunteer or group of volunteers did a separate fund raising campaign
contacting organizations and people sympathetic to this cause, I think it
could be successful.  A pitch to the tune of  "help the 10th largest website
in the world set an example for the rest of the internet" would probably
succeed at generating new donors that might not otherwise contribute to the
WMF.  It would also be possible to target existing donors.  For example,
over the past few years, wikiHow or me as an individual have contributed
close to $30,000 to the WMF.  If someone sent me an email asking me /
wikiHow to chip in $1000 for this side fund raising plan, I'd say yes in a
heartbeat!  I'm sure I'm not the only one.


Jack Herrick
Founder, wikiHow

http://www.wikiHow.com - Building the world's largest how-to manual

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