‘The Office’ star Rainn Wilson changes his name to protest climate crisis

Climate activists have recently chosen many ways to bring attention to the ongoing crisis. Some have marched in the streets, some have blocked roads and others have thrown food at paintings.

But actor Rainn Wilson, known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the American television show “The Office”, is changing his name.

Mr Wilson announced this week that he is changing his name to “Rainfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson” in a bid to highlight the climate crisis and the severe weather it will bring.

The stunt comes as world leaders are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for Cop27, the United Nations’ annual climate conference, with hopes of furthering global cooperation to stem the climate crisis.

“I’m hoping this name change brings attention to this growing... er, melting issue,” Mr Wilson said in a press release from Arctic Basecamp, an organization of scientists who raise awareness on the climate crisis. The actor is a member of Arctic Basecamp’s advisory board.

“We need world leaders at COP27 to take notice and take action. The Arctic is melting at millions of litres per second, yet this problem can’t seem to make a name for itself, so it’s up to us to make a name for it.”

In a video posted to social media, the actor introduced himself as an even longer and slightly modified version of the new name.

“Hi there, I’m Rainn Wilson — or should I say: ‘Rainfall Heat Wave Rising Sea Levels And We Have To Do Something About It Now Wilson,” Mr Wilson said. “Sorry to get so dark, so quick.”

The bit is part of a campaign from Arctic Basecamp to raise awareness on the climate crisis with their “name generator” — an online tool where people can input their name and get a “new” middle name that highlights some of the severe weather impacts of a warming planet, like “Greenland Glacier Melt” or “Soaring Temperatures”.

In the video, Mr Wilson also noted some other celebrities who could change their name to highlight aspects of the climate crisis, like “Cardi The Arctic B Melting” and “Amy Poehler Bears Are Endangered”.

“This is not a joke,” the actor said in the press release. “I’m as serious as the melting Arctic, which amplifies global risks including extreme weather events around the globe.”

Variety reports that it is unclear whether Mr Wilson is legally changing his name.

The climate crisis is changing weather all over the globe — but in the Arctic, it’s leading to some especially profound changes.

The far northern edges of the planet are warming about four times faster than the rest of the planet, experts say. In addition to shrinking the amount of sea that forms every winter, those warmer temperatures are also melting ice sheets and glaciers in places like Greenland — leading to rising seas all over the world and putting coastal cities like Miami, Lagos and Mumbai.

Those changes in the Arctic have implications for the rest of the world, Arctic Basecamp points out.

“Rapid Arctic warming exacerbates catastrophic and costly global risks including extreme weather events, threats to food and water security, sea level rise and supply chain disruption around the world,” Gail Whiteman, the organization’s founder and a sustainability researcher at the University of Exeter, said in the statement.