All in all, we think that the “vegetarian EARSeL” (as it apparently will be remembered by many participants) was a great success, scientifically as well as ecologically. A short report can be found here and we are more than happy to share our experiences (please contact email@example.com). Still, we also see a lot of room for further improvements. The way is made by walking and we hope that all of you will take further steps in this direction, may it be work-related, in your private life and in organizing the next (EARSeL) workshop.
Reducing our environmental impact
Conferences bring people together, however, they do have an environmental impact and contribute to climate change. Still, personal interchange is important, especially but not only for young scientists and during the “pandemically extended” planning phase of this workshop we have received considerable feedback from a community that is hungry to meet and greet again in reality. With more than 200 attendees, the EARSeL workshop is a medium scale event and its environmental impact expected to be moderate. Nevertheless, we can try to minimize our footprint with regard to travelling to and in Potsdam, accommodation, catering, venue, information media, badges, signage, printed programmes, welcome bags and other items or activities related to this workshop. We are aiming to take ecological, economic and social aspects into account in advance during the planning phase and give preference to locations, hotels and catering companies as well as suppliers and event service providers who operate sustainably.
This webpage provides some information on our green initiatives that we hope will allow us to achieve more (ecological) sustainability. Carbon emissions associated with the event that cannot be avoided will be compensated and outlined in a short report available to all participants after the event.
We strongly encourage all attendees to help reduce the environmental impact of their participation by considering the following:
- travelling by train, bus, metro, or bicycle to and in Potsdam whenever possible
- bringing a reusable water bottle (and coffee-to-go cup)
- bringing a reusable container – you can take-away leftover food from the coffee breaks etc. but we won’t offer any single-use boxes
- avoiding printing programmes but checking the workshop information online instead. A small paper programme book will be provided to all participants during the on-site registration
Atmosfair describes the sources of emissions of a conference to typically result from travelling to and from the venue (70 %), accommodation (15 %), catering (10 %) and energy consumption as well as infrastructure (5 %).
Travelling (more detailed information on travelling to and in Potsdam)
- We encourage participants to travel by train to Potsdam whenever possible. Berlin main station is only 30 Minutes train ride from the venue, within reach from Hamburg in < 2 h, Frankfurt (Main) < 4 h, Munich 4.5 h and Prague 4 h.
- There are night trains to Berlin from Vienna, Basel/Zurich, Budapest/Bratislava and Wrocław that operate seven days a week. The ÖBB nightjet operates also between Germany and Italy, e.g. connecting Rome and Munich.
- Furthermore, there are night trains to Berlin from Moskau/Minsk/Warschau as well as Paris (RZD), though not every day.
- Within Potsdam, most places are in easy reach by local public transport (efficient tram and bus system), bike or foot.
- If you can’t avoid travelling by car, consider offering a lift (if pandemic restrictions allow).
- There are several hotels in Potsdam that were certified for their sustainability efforts.
- Did you know that the tab water in Germany is often of higher quality than most bottled products? Bring your own reusable water bottle and try it yourself.
- Coffee and tea at the workshop will be served in reusable cups; however, we encourage participants to bring their own multi-use coffee mugs for their coffee(s) to go (e.g., for travelling to, in, and from Potsdam).
- To benefit from existing infrastructure, to avoid resource intense transportation, and to finally reduce participation fees, we will make use of the local canteen caterer for lunch and coffee breaks. All food served at the venue will be vegetarian/vegan, mostly seasonal and wherever possible from regional sources.
- We base our decisions for catering partners also on their efforts to reduce packaging waste to a minimum.
Energy, infrastructure and material
- Our host, the GFZ Potsdam, is per se committed to the issue of sustainability. With respect to ecological aspects, GFZ obtains electricity from renewable energy sources since 2017 and is working towards the goal of becoming climate neutral in the period 2030 to 2040. In the meantime, as of 2022, GFZ plans to offset all Carbon emissions.
- We will offer a printed paper programme book, however, reduced to essential information (workshop schedule overview, session schedule overview, overview maps of venue sites). This will be printed with water colours on 100% FSC or recycled paper. All other information will be available online.
- Name badges will consist of 100% FSC or recycled paper, printed with water colours.
- There will be no welcome gift bags, sorry! However, a number of notebooks and pens will be available to those who require them.
- We attempt to avoid printed advertisements, but will offer digital displays instead.
- In addition to the established awards, we want to assign a prize for the most sustainable participation in this conference. That may include (1) reducing the footprint of the conference (such as in travelling, e.g., the highest number of people in an electric car, the furthest journey by train – or even bike!) or (2) contributions presenting research related to environmental and climate protection (e.g., observation of methane leaks). Inspire us and your colleagues with your activities and submit your contribution!
We warmly welcome feedback and suggestions on how we can further improve and reduce the environmental impact of the 12th EARSeL SIG imaging spectroscopy workshop (firstname.lastname@example.org).