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Help to reduce the environmental footprint of the ESA’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, OR
By Andrew Reinmann
Sustainability and stewardship are common themes at ESA Annual Meetings. As a community of scientists working to understand and conserve the natural world, we should be more proactive in mirroring the vision of the meeting. One of the largest environmental footprints of national conferences is the mode of transportation its attendees take, which is often air travel. While it may be the quickest form of transportation, flying is also the most environmentally detrimental.
I propose that we, as members of the world’s largest professional society of ecologists, make a formal attempt to shrink the environmental impact of this meeting by choosing alternative means of transportation. One viable option is train travel. I am a PhD candidate at Boston University and have taken the train to ESA meetings for the past few years. I have effectively used the longer travel time to work (think presentation preparation!). Although this may not be a feasible option for everyone, as students, we are more likely to have the flexibility to allow for this more environmentally responsible alternative. Traveling by train could also provide more opportunities to network if students coordinate their schedules. This could be enhanced by arranging block seating with Amtrak.
Organizing this as a group would strengthen ESA’s commitment to sustainability and stewardship while furthering ESA’s ability to be a leader and role model for other scientific societies. If just 50 of us travel across the country via train instead of flying we will mitigate climate change to the same extent as taking 10 to 15 cars out of commission for a whole year. This provides us with the opportunity to present our research at a national conference while exemplifying part of the solution to the ecological problems that confront our planet.
For more information about how Andrew will be doing this, contact him at reinmann (at) bu.edu. You can find his profile and read more about him here.
Here is the link to Amtrak so you can start planning your sustainable trip with Andrew!