Actor Rainn Wilson (you might know him as Dwight from The Office) had a grand scheme to bring his hilarious brand of climate advocacy to Twitter this week. That plan, however, was quickly thwarted — another victim of the name-changing drama that has flourished on the platform recently.
Wilson took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce he was changing his name on social media to “Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson.” “As a cheap little stunt to help save planet Earth I’ve changed my name on Twitter, Instagram, and even on my fancy writing paper,” Wilson said in a video. He points to a memo pad with scrawled changes to his printed name, so that it reads “Acid Rainn Kills Trees Wilson.”
Some 35 minutes later, Wilson tweeted, “P.S. THEY WON’T LET ME CHANGE MY NAME BECAUSE, ELON!”
Twitter also blocked me from changing my screen name to “Justine Dying from Heat Calma.” Best of luck to anyone trying to add your new name to the free-for-all on Twitter since Elon Musk gave users the power to verify themselves for $7.99 a month. After Jesus Christ and Donald Trump parodies popped up verified on Twitter, Musk has reportedly paused naming and verification privileges.
Luckily, there are alternatives. On Instagram, Wilson’s display name does read “Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson” in all caps. I might just go old-school and print myself a nametag instead.
The wacky monikers come from a fun name generator at arcticrisk.org/name-generator. I typed in my cat’s name on the website, and he now goes by “Collapsing Economies Calma.” The tool was developed by Arctic Basecamp, which puts up a tent each year at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos to call attention to the ways climate change is transforming the Arctic. Wilson’s name change coincides with a United Nations climate conference taking place this month in Egypt.
The Arctic has warmed at a rate almost four times faster than the rest of the world. Those changes have even been linked to more extreme weather in the US, like the deadly cold snap in Texas in 2021. All around the world, climate change is driving more extreme weather — from severe droughts to more intense heat waves.
“Our mission at Arctic Basecamp is to raise awareness of the Global Risks of Arctic weather change. It’s not just bad news for the Arctic, but for us, too. So that’s why I changed my name and you should too,” Wilson says in his video.
Wilson also makes a compelling case for some other celebrities, including “Cardi the Arctic B melting” and “Samuel Earth’s getting hot as L. Jackson.”