Summer, science and flights

Since 2015 when I moved back from Berlin, I have spent all my summer holidays in Denmark.

It has become a principle not to take flights to go on holiday but I also just really like Denmark in the summer -- even when it's 15 degrees and rains like when the picture below was taken!

I sometimes take trains or buses to go somewhere outside Denmark -- but not during the summer holidays: those are reserved for social yoga camps on Danish ground!

Transportation in research is a bit more tricky than that: You don't always have the option of taking a bus or a train to conferences and meetings within your research field. And it's extremely important that scientists share knowledge, bounce ideas, and collaborate!


Taking a train or a bus (or maybe doing car pooling?) instead of flying makes a huge difference in terms of CO2 emissions. And if that's not an option: Choose the flight with less transits (preferably zero) as the take-off and landing really take a toll on the planet.

That's what YOU can do -- and then there's something that WE can do TOGETHER: We can (re)consider when it's crucial that we meet in person and when an online meeting could do the job.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a trail of awfulness behind (and it isn't over yet), but one meaningful thing that came out of it so far is that many of us got comfortable with online meetings.

I personally think that the coffee breaks and the time you spend outside the program of a conference play really important roles in building network and discussing science, so I am not completely convinced (yet?) that online conferences can give us exactly the same outcome as in-person conferences.

But I hope that with time and practice, the virtual coffee breaks and conferences can compare with the "real" ones -- cause it really would make a difference to the planet if we would fly less!

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