Going Green

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Session Notes: Going Green: the ESIP Federation Examines its Meeting Carbon Footprint July 9, 2009 Santa Barbara, California

Participants: Daniel Ziskin, Luis Bermudez, Carol Meyer


The opportunity to conduct this session came in response to NASA’s congressionally-imposed travel restrictions on attendance at science and technology conferences. As an organization working in the environmental space, it seems that planners should be attentive to the environmental impact of holding face-to-face meetings. The example set by the UCSB Bren School (LEED Platinum Building) has been outstanding and can serve as a catalyst for future meeting site selection.

The discussion is intended to also focus on the secondary issue of using technology to improve inter-meeting collaboration across the ESIP Federation.

Things to Consider:

  • Technology Usage to Allow Remote Participation
  • Tools: Video conferencing, Web conferencing, Teleconferencing, Base Camp, Chat, Wikis
  • Community: Expands opportunities for broader participation (e.g. small business, international, resource-limited organizations)
  • Human Interaction
  • Remote participation tools today cannot (and should not) replace face-to-face interaction
  • Value of spontaneous conversations/networking among participants
  • Examine How Other Organizations Do It (e.g. NRDC, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy)

What CAN be done:

  • Develop a eco-checklist for hotels/universities to see when planning a meeting
  • Regional meeting hubs
  • Reduce paper handouts – add checkbox in registration to allow paper handouts (v. print on demand)
  • Select venues with strong commitment to environment: purchase local foods, participate in food rescue, engage in full recycling and composting, choose environmentally-friendly products
  • Utilize dorms when possible to reduce need for daily auto travel to/from meeting site
  • Offer ride-share board for meeting participants (e.g. to/from home; airport)
  • Optional socio-environmental activity during meeting (e.g. beach sweep, food pantry)
  • Optional purchase of carbon credits for flying to meeting – proceeds to be donated to organizations using/developing/promoting alternative energy sources