In this Editorial, Bertrand DUPE, Officer for Low Carbon Footprint presents actions on lowering Carbon Footprint made by EMA.
The European Magnetic Association (EMA) is concerned with climate change and is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its events as well as to raising awareness and providing assistance in the Magnetism community via the appointment of a carbon footprint officer. The European School on Magnetism (ESM2022) in Saarbrücken (Germany) was organized with the officer’s support and it was the first occasion to evaluate our methodology to reduce the carbon footprint of our events. To do so, we used an online survey that was completed by 50 % of the on-site participants and 20 % of the online ones. The main conclusions are:
Thanks to our Discord discussion group, on-site participants could better organise their travel and new displacement means, such as car-sharing, were used.
18% of on-site participants came by plane, of which 90% have compensated for their carbon footprint. The vast majority of participants came by bus or train, which is very positive.
To minimise the environmental impact of the on-site organization, students and lecturers were accommodated in a Youth hostel which provided enough comfort, and public transportation was systematically used via weekly bus tickets that were provided directly by the organizers. None of these aspects hindered the running of the school but increased interactions and cohesion between participants and made the school even more pleasant.
The hybrid format obviously facilitated participation during COVID and opens the school to a wider audience; thus, the organizers of ESM will maintain this format. Although most participants valued the hybrid format for the lectures and especially the use of Discord to interact with the lectures and ask questions, some on-site participants raised concerns about technical difficulties to interact with online participants during project meetings (network availability and stability, and time differences impose challenges). The latter created a source of stress for some students and lecturers on site. All online participants considered that the hybrid format was well-adapted and allowed good interactions with the on-site participants.
Overall, ESM2022 was a great success and its hybrid format was proven to be effective. Although the policy of EMA is to keep using a hybrid format to minimize the carbon footprint of such events in the future, EMA would like to reaffirm its commitment to on-site participation in schools and conferences during the years to come, provided that the carbon footprint of both organizers and participants are minimised.
Bertrand DUPE, Carbon Footprint Officer