Date: December 13th via Twitter Space:
Host: Eric Holthaus
Wren Twitter Space Conversation Summary:
What is Wren?
Can you give me a sense of the scale of Wren’s impact collectively?
What does the calculator do?
How do you toe the line of shaming people while also sharing something shocking with them?
Where did the name Wren come from?
(All discussion is paraphrased unless it's in direct quotes, for the full conversation listen here.)
Eric Holthaus: What is Wren?
Landon Brand: Wren is a website where you can calculate your carbon footprint, find different climate solutions, and see what you can do about the climate crisis. A lot of people are realizing that they want to get involved in the climate crisis, but they’re not exactly sure where to start. We want to build more on-ramps to get people to take action.
We've started so far, with this flow of folks calculating their carbon footprint with the idea of showing them how difficult it is for one person on their own to end the climate crisis. And also gives people an easy way to fund solutions that are already having an impact on the climate crisis today.
Eric: There was an era in the early 200s where most climate solutions were driven by guilt, Wren flips that on its head and asks; how do you make the world a better place?
Landon: It feels good to be part of the solution. Every single person is simultaneously part of the problem and part of the solution.
One concept that's gotten a lot of talk in the past couple of years is how the carbon footprint was popularized partly by BP. They had this agenda of pinning everything on individuals so that they wouldn't have to clean up their act.
But the other side of it is like, every person can have a positive impact, so we try to focus on that and keep adding more optimism to the discourse around the climate crisis.
Eric: Can you give me a sense of the scale of Wren’s impact collectively?
Landon: It's about $300 thousand a month towards climate solutions. Pretty cool to see that happen in a pretty short time period. It's also about 13 thousand people paying every month to fund solutions and we’ve reached way more than that with people who’ve used our calculator.
Eric: What does the calculator do?
Landon: We have this calculator on our site to calculate your carbon footprint. So basically you put in some information about yourself and then we spin out what your carbon footprint is, in terms of tons of CO2.
And then we give information about how you compare to a typical person in your country and a typical person in the world. For a lot of folks, from wealthier countries, it can be kind of shocking to see because they usually have double the carbon footprint of the average person in the world.
And we also give some ideas of how you can reduce that carbon footprint.
Eric: How do you toe the line of shaming people while also sharing something shocking with them?
Landon: So we want to make people feel empowered and help them get to information, rather than creating a value judgment on a person because of that.
Everyone’s gotta eat at the very least, right? You have to live in a place, you probably have a job that you have to get to, and you might even have a family far away that you really want to fly to and see.
So, I view Wren’s role as leaning more into the positive while still being realistic.
But I think something really interesting is asking ourselves, what is the role of emotion, as people who talk about climate change and want to rope more people into the movement?
I don't think there's a concrete answer, but I think part of it is that we do need both — the doom and gloom and alarm bells aspects, but we need to follow that up with okay, now here's what you can do.
Eric: Where did the name Wren come from?
Landon: There are two versions of that story. I'll give you both. The fancy story behind it is that there are wrens all over the world, all different types of wrens. Some of them are more endangered than others. Some are endangered, because of all the changes happening in the climate, and others are much more common and much less threatened.
Climate change is similar. Some folks are more affected than others, but at the same time, we're all the same humanity, we're all on the same team.
That's the story version, but how we came up with it was literally just brainstorming on a post-it and we thought it was a cute bird, so you can be as deep as you want with the name.
Eric: New users can get a month free of Wren's services on me, using my personal referral link.