Since I wrote a first post about flying in academia almost a year ago, the discussion has spread widely. We have started to collect ideas on how to make our own research more climate-friendly, in my own institution and among researchers from the social science and humanities in Berlin. In this debate it has been helpful and inspiring what other institutions and people do or try out. I present here some links, blog posts and articles related to this debate and the points they are making.
People in academia (who) fly less
There are several movements of researchers worldwide declaring that they will stop flying or fly less. Apart from the Commitment not to fly for less than 1000 km that over 4000 scientists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have signed (and that also calls for a change in federal law concerning the reimbursement of travel costs!), there are similar movements in the other parts of the world.
Flying in Academia and the climate crisis II weiterlesen
Flying in academia and the climate crisis – english version here
Seit bald einem Jahr streiken jeden Freitag Schüler*innen für mehr Klimaschutz – das hat auch in der Wissenschaftslandschaft einiges ins Rollen gebracht. Auch Wissenschaftler*innen haben begonnen, die eigenen Strukturen in Bezug auf Klimaschutz zu hinterfragen – auch, wenn es ums Fliegen geht.
Wissenschaftler*innen gehören zu denjenigen, die viel fliegen, mehr noch als andere Gutverdiener. Wer in einem internationalen Forschungsumfeld arbeitet, wo Konferenzen auch mal in China, den USA oder Australien stattfinden, fliegt auch mal für wenige Tage Tausende von Kilometern, um einen Vortrag zu halten oder anzuhören. Und das wird nicht nur bezahlt, sondern erwartet – von Institutionen, die stolz sind auf ihre Internationalität, von künftigen Arbeitgeber*innen, die internationale Vernetzung erwarten.
Fliegen in Wissenschaft und Klimakrise weiterlesen
Since almost a year students are demonstrating every Friday for actions adressing global warming. This has led to the creation of new networks, like Scientists for Future (S4F), supporting this movement, but also to new discussion within academia about our own climate impact.
CO2 emmissions are directly related to income, and those working in acadamia certainly belong to the ones flying much more than the average employee. Especially those who are working in an international research environment, conferences taking place in Italy, in China, the USA, Australia, will often fly overseas just to hold a talk or attend a conference. Longtime, this was not really questioned, on the contrary many universities encouraged their staff to present and travel abroad, to foster the ‘internationalization’ of the university. Even universities who praise themselves as eco-friendyl or even carbon neutral, like the university of Lüneburg, often excluded the flights of their staff from their calculations, or, simply ‘neutralized’ them with buying offsets (a method that, as many studies have shown, is not just not working, but also has deteriorating effects in countries of the global south – apart from being part highly problematic in term of environmental justice).
Flying in Academia and the climate crisis I weiterlesen
Why is it so expensive to access the results of publicly-funded research – a fact that makes research much more difficult if not inpossible in remote areas or poor countries? A new documentary shows the role of publishers in “business of scholarhips” works – and a new initiative by european research institutions tries to save the concept of open access
When I started studying many years ago, I read, like many others, the book about how to write a thesis by Umberto Eco. The book, written in the 1970s, deals with the problem of how to access the literature necessary to write about a specific topic – and is shows that it was very common thiry years ago that students or researchers had to travel all over the country (or even to another country) to search the libraries for the books and articles they needed. While this may still be true for people working on very special topics or doing research in archives, for most others, with the technical development of the last decades, this could indeed be over.
It could. From a technical point of view, it would be no problem to access research articles from all over the world even in the smallest library. But in fact, the opposite is true. A few days ago I talked to a friend living in a remote area of Europe, with no bigger city around – to get access to the research paper she needs for work and research, she actually still has to travel by train or plane to the next university city or even the capital – because just these librairies have access to the journals she needs, and because they can not open to remote-access. People living in poorer countries, with not public librairies or more-or-less well-founded universities around may not even have the chance to do so.
Breaking the (pay)wall weiterlesen