Just think about it

for a moment, how many academic conferences you have participated in the last 10 years…

Maybe 10? 30? 100? Then, for another moment, think about 100 colleagues of yours, all over the world, and all the conferences they have attended the last 10 years… Probably many thousand altogether.

Well, let’s stop there and just contemplate all the conferences going on every year, and in every discipline. Several days of interesting activities like discussions, meetings, social gatherings, and knowledge sharing. But also activities that are much harder on the environment such as cross atlantic flights, printed conference programs, hotel towels, plastic coffee cups and napkins, conference dinner plates, etc. The list can be made much longer.

So this year – with the 11th AoIR conference at hand with the striking theme Internet Research: Sustainability, Participation, Action – we thought that we should really try to make a difference. Together.

Therefore, this year we have thought a lot about the fact that scientific conferences demand a lot of resources and done the best we can to minimize the negative effects of this current event. Therefore, every decision made for this conference – from choice of conference site to lunches served to conference materials distributed we have actively taken sustainable decisions in order to make the footprint of this conference as small as possible. Therefore we have chosen to:

  • serve organic lunches and coffee
  • serve organic food and wine during the conference banquet
  • ban bottled water
  • make printed programs in the conference bag optional
  • skip the padded conference bag which may end up in our wardrobes (or, even worse, in the garbage can) and go for a long lasting eco bag (made by organic cotton)

Just think about it, the difference that this may have.

Also, by arranging the conference in the city centre of Gothenburg – within walking distance of hotels, the conference reception, and shops – we have also wanted to minimize unnecessary emissions and encourage people to stretch their legs and get some exercise during the conference. Sustainability also means well-being.

Finally, we are happy that so many people are planning to come to Gothenburg and IR 11.0 to participate onsite. However, we know that many more would have liked to come. For all of them who are interested in this year’s conference but cannot make it due to economic or other reasons we are planning to document and make available the main events of the conference: the conference opening and the keynotes. On top of that we are also planning to interview participants onsite and broadcast the interviews and to twitter the latest from the sessions, all to keep absent AoIR friends informed. As we all know, Internet means sustainability, participation. And Action.

Just think about it.

Ylva Hård af Segerstad and Ann-Sofie Axelsson
Organizing Committee