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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!


SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT MEETINGS, CONFERENCES AND FLIGHTS!?


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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