Conferences are an important way to share information, network, and synthesize ideas with colleagues. However, the high carbon emissions of long distance travel to conferences cannot be ignored, and the financial cost of traveling to attend conferences limits how many, if any, conferences a scientist can attend.
We are fortunate to have various technological tools available to record, screen, and share science globally without contributing to increasing CO2 emissions through long distance travel. We are exceptionally grateful to the work of Ken Hiltner and team who have documented a model for holding Nearly Carbon Neutral conferences through recording and sharing research talks digitally. We are looking to expand on this approach with remote meetings that still incorporate face-to-face interactions, workshops, and networking opportunities.
The conversation for holding remote coral reef meetings concurrent with an international research symposium being held in Bremen, Germany was started by early career coral reef scientists Franziska Elmer & Chelsie Counsell. Out of this idea, global coral reef week was born. We are volunteering our time to help organize and connect remote meetings, while also working with the organizers of the international symposium on a strategy for connecting remote meetings with the central meeting. The idea for remote meetings was received with much enthusiasm by colleagues and our team of fellow organizers, supporters, and meeting attendees is growing daily.
The climate crisis is upon us. Our actions today will determine how bad life on this planet gets. We have the technology and the science to combat the climate crisis. If we all do everything we can, individually and politically, to lower CO2 emissions, we as a species may survive the climate crisis.
Do you want to take part in the global coral reef week? Register to attend one of the established remote meetings or host your own remote coral reef meeting during the interval of July 6th-17th, 2020! For more information on hosting your own meeting, email us at email@example.com.
Wondering what else you can do? Eat less red meat, buy fewer things (and when buying, buy locally made natural products), repair technology and other items instead of replacing, avoid plastic as much as possible, minimize travel by car and plane, carpool, minimize your energy use, support renewable energy sources, plant trees / mangroves / seagrasses, have two kids or less, vote for politicians with plans to combat the climate crisis, talk to other people about their actions... want your actions to have a larger impact? Talk to people in your social circle about the actions you are taking to strengthen the ripple effect of your actions by inspiring others. Ask local restaurants to develop more dishes without red meat, talk to your work place / church / library / etc. about a plan to incentivize carpooling. Call your local government and ask them to take action. Have a critical look at how your society and town operates: are there habits, subsides, or hurdles that make it difficult for individuals to lower their carbon emissions? If so, talk about them with your social network and get in touch with the people that have the power to make changes.
This is a global problem, but the actions we take locally matter. Take action. Talk to other people. Encourage them to take action. The economics and the science are clear - maintaining our current course will result in ecosystem and financial collapse. This is a social problem, this is a will power problem. We have already ignored it for over 100 years. We are out of time. Take action today.