Sunday, March 10, 2019

Virtual Conferences Offer Global Reach with Smaller Footprints

There is a new way of conferencing that connects participants from all around the world without the massive environmental impacts commonly associated with such events. When academics fly to international conferences, they burn up to a ton of carbon each, significantly increasing their personal greenhouse-gas footprint. This is particularly inappropriate in the context of sustainability focused conferences.

Technological solutions have been around for years and now YouTube is live streaming events. Other existent and emerging internet communication technologies are making promising conference formats possible. Besides reducing emissions, these technologies allow smart conference organizers to reduce costs for participants -- especially those from non-rich countries who would not otherwise have been able to participate. The international conference of the future will be truly global, with a bigger and more diverse program, higher cultural diversity, and much lower emissions.

The following video is a short documentary that shows a conference that took place in the summer of 2018 that was hosted semi-virtually in four different hubs around the world. Their aim was to improve global accessibility and cultural diversity while reducing emissions. In this film we find out how it was organized, how it was received, and what you could do if you were to organize a semi-virtual academic conference as well.

Click here to visit the conference website for more technical information.

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