Climate Change/Humanities Conference Happening NOW-A Nearly Carbon-Free Conference

Until May 31, all of the talks will be available at the conference website...

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Until May 31, all of the talks will be available at the conference website. Then, there will be closing events by videoconference on May 31. You may sign up for free to participate in the online question and answer threads.

UC Santa Barbara is currently conducting an unusual international conference, which has over 50 speakers from eight countries, yet has a nearly nonexistent carbon footprint. Had this been a traditional fly-in conference, the slate of speakers would have had to collectively travel over 300,000 miles, generating the equivalent of over 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the process. This is equal to the total annual carbon footprint of 50 people living in India, 165 in Kenya.

In contrast, this conference takes a digital approach. Because the talks and Q&A sessions all reside online (the talks are prerecorded; the Q&A sessions are interactive forums), travel was unnecessary. The conference has four keynote talks and fourteen panels, each of which has three talks and its own Q&A session. The Q&A sessions are open from May 3-24. The topic is Climate Change: Views from the Humanities. We are sending this out to encourage faculty and students to visit and take part in the conference. You can register here.

For obvious environmental reasons, in the future we can expect more events like this, which also promise to be more egalitarian: the cost of airfare from anywhere in the developing world to anywhere in North America or Europe is often greater than the average annual income in these countries. This simple fact effectively bars the majority of the planet’s scholars from taking part in international conferences, ensuring that they remain open to only a privileged few. In contrast, conferences such as this one allow nearly any scholar anywhere with a computer or mobile device and adequate internet access to equally take part in the event.

If you get a chance, do check out our conference experiment HERE.

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