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.
Update: The deadline has been extended until November 15, 2019 – find now also a french version of the call here.
We welcome contributions to our workshop on climate change in the Middle East and North Africa (and beyond) next june in Berlin! Feel free to forward our call to more people who might be interested.
Call for Papers „Making Sense of Climate Change – Models, Cosmologies and Practices from North Africa and the Middle East”
8–9 June 2020, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
The Middle East and North Africa are, according to recent predictions, one of the regions most affected by global warming (IPCC 2014). Nonetheless, although some social scientists focusing on the MENA have addressed the issue (Sowers 2011, 2013; Barnes 2015), climate change is still widely absent in Middle Eastern studies and other disciplines relating to the region.
Just a few days left until the deadline for abstracts: a workshop in Barcelona bringing together social science research on climate change and conservation, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), 29-30 October 2019:
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.
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).
Noch bis Ende dieses Jahres findet im Haus der Kulturen der Welt das ‘Anthropocene Project’ statt, mit Konferenzen, Theater, Publikationen und Ausstellungen, die sich an der Genze von Wissenschaft, Politik und Kunst mit der Diagnose des Anthropozäns beschäftigen.