Let’s face the truth: Conferences like LambdAle are not very environmental friendly. Tens or hundreds of people meeting for an event that typically lasts no more than a day or two. Some live close-by and come by public transport or car, but many fly from another country or even another continent. It is especially these flights that account for a lot of CO2 emissions. We don’t believe in flat earth, but we do believe in global warming and that flying is a major contributor to it. So let’s call a spade a spade - conferences are an environmental disaster.
Yet we believe that conferences are good and necessary. They are a way of people coming together to network and engage with each other in a way that is not possible by solely relying on online communication. Conferences inspire people to discover, invent, and build new stuff; and thereby help advancing the state-of-the-art of the industry.
So what can we do?
LambdAle is held in London, Europe. Luckily, we have a very good train system in Europe. If you are coming from UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, or Switzerland, we encourage you to take the train. This is not only the most environmental-friendly means of transportation, but it also doesn’t really take much longer if you take into account the added time for travelling to/from the airport, security control, boarding, and luggage pick-up when flying. But even if you come from another European country, we recommend you to check the possible train connections on this website.
Another alternative is to share a car to the conference. There are many car-sharing platforms on the internet, where you might be able to find a lift.
If you still need to fly, LambdAle is happy to announce that with the help of our sponsors and a share of the ticket prices we are going to CO2-compensate all the flights to the conference. CO2 compensation is a means to exchange CO2 emissions generated by flying with reducing CO2 emissions in another field (e.g. by investing in renewable energies) or extracting CO2 off the atmosphere (e.g. by planting trees). While the usefulness and efficiency of CO2 compensation is still a matter of debate and research, it is currently the best we can do.
During the conference we will ask people to help us choose to which company should we send the funds for CO2 compensation. The current shortlist we have includes:
Cynefin Hedge Fund, a company that crowdfunds environmental projects in the UK. Its projects focus on woodland preservation and creation, research and development, and sustainable living.
PrimaKlima, a German company with projects worldwide, focussed on reforestation and sustainable agriculture.
MyClimate, a Swiss NGO that has projects worldwide, covering areas like energy efficiency, land use and forestry, and more.
Once the company that will receive the funds has been selected, we will transfer them during the following week and let the community know once done.
We also encourage you to read more about these initiatives and spread the word. Every little bit helps to achieve a reduction in atmospheric CO2.
We know LambdAle will be pretty awesome, but if you are planning to travel from a far-distant place like New Zealand or Chile please reconsider if it is actually worth the journey, or if at least you can combine the trip with other conferences, meetings, holidays, etc.