Reconsidering alternative transportation systems to reach academic conferences and to convey an example to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- 172 Downloads
Scientists are typically responsible for greater greenhouse gas emissions than the general population. These ‘extra’ emissions are largely due to frequent travel, often by airplane, to professional and academic meetings. In the following commentary, we explore how employing mixed modes of transportation, particularly by prioritizing train travel, can significantly reduce the environmental costs associated with attending conferences. Estimating travel distances for attendants to recent meetings, we demonstrate that the proposed strategy has the potential to decrease emissions, even when considering exotic, remote (and potentially enticing) locations. Our suggestions are easy to implement, can be combined with previous proposals for reducing emissions, and provide an opportunity for scientists to convey an important message to the general public. This message is not confined to our particular example and we hope that it will encourage ecologists, sociologists and other scientists, historians and philosophers to pursue additional creative behavioural solutions in order to reduce our impact on an increasingly stressed ecosphere.
KeywordsAcademic conference planning Researchers’ behavioural change GHG emissions Transportation Sustainability
- Macek, B. E., Scholz, C, Atzmueller, M., & Stumme, G. (2012). Anatomy of a conference. In Proceedings of 23rd ACM conference on hypertext and social media (pp. 245–254). doi: 10.1145/2309996.2310038
- Penner, J. E. (1999). Aviation and the global atmosphere: A special report of IPCC Working Groups I and III in collaboration with the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.Google Scholar
- USEPA. (2008). Optional emissions from commuting, business travel and product transport. Retrieved from, http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/documents/resources/commute_travel_product