[Coral-List] Carbon offsetting AND the need for innovative problem solvers to halt climate change

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Wed May 15 21:06:25 UTC 2019

In 2017, there were 1.323 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide, with a growth of 6.8% as compared to 2016.
These tourists are moving around burning fossil fuels in all their travel, transport, food consumption and leisure activities.
If global tourism was a nation, it will be the third most populated country in the world, just behind China (1.386 billion) and India (1.339 billion).
Global tourism is going in only one direction: up. It does not seem to be open to self sacrifice.

Within this context, flying around to attend coral reef conferences or do fieldwork seems a drop in the ocean, compared to the tsunami of global tourism.

Yet, it is the drop we must own.

Let's start by making ICRS 2020 our first global effort at reducing the carbon footprint of our activities.
Contact the conference committee and ask them to offer online streaming during the conference.

In this way, the conference will be more inclusive, with both online and physical attendance, a wider array of income levels present, and tailored to the different stages of our professional careers.

Paraphrasing the Chinese proverb, a dive of a thousand miles begins with a single fin kick.
Let's get our fins together.


Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/

From: Coral-List <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> on behalf of Judith Lang via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:37 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Carbon offsetting AND the need for innovative problem solvers to halt climate change

Dear Coral Listers,
Franiska has challenged us by asking, "How can we keep studying coral reefs and communcate our findings without destroying them through extensive travel for fieldwork and conferences."

It seems to me that opportunities to observe different reefs and establish good personal relationships with fellow researchers in diverse institutions are necessary for those who are beginning their careers. However, until we have transitioned to a much lower carbon economy, and addressed multiple other sources of ongoing marine pollution, I suggest that those of us who are elders can choose to travel less and expend more of our energies on transmitting what we have learned and are thinking to the next generations.

This is not to pretend that the choice is personally desirable. Notwithstanding my despair with the excess of death and destruction in the Caribbean, I can still be fascinated by the fluorishing of creatures that were previously unnoticed in spaces formerly “claimed" by corals. That we have so much yet to learn about the intricate webs of life in reef habitats is very exciting! (My own resolution has been to focus remaining field trips on training workshops.)

Internet-based communication technologies are becoming more reliable and more widely available; connection and receiving speeds are steadily increasing. Already list serves, videoconferences, webinars, etc. (plus social media for those who indulge therein), are substituting as opportunities to initiate new ideas, collaborations, mentorships and additional worthwhile activities–even inspiring friendships among people who’ve never physically met–that traditionally were provided in intervals at international conferences and other meetings.

I’d hesitated to join this conversation because, much as I’d welcome an opportunity to see everyone and, for a few weeks, experience central Europe in summer, I’d already regretfully decided not to attend the 2020 ICRS. A network of subregional, low-impact, mini-conferences, able to communicate with Bremen next year (in many places not in real time of course), could gain my support, especially if participants would also use the opportunity to engage in some well-publicised, local climate actions.

After all, our eyes have been telling us for decades that we need to initiate transformative societal change. May the creative suggestions for solutions continue to flow and attract a groundswell of interest in their execution.

Judy Lang
AGRRA Scientific Coordinator

> On May 13, 2019, at 3:54 PM, Franziska Elmer via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> Dear Maria and coral listers,
> I agree that communicating and connecting on a global scale as scientists is extremely important. However, in these changing times, it seems like we might be wasting our time (while emitting a huge amount of carbon) going to conferences to discuss our latest findings on how climate change and other antropogenic drivers affect coral reefs. We know very well how climate change affects nature and humans, we do not need to study it more to get every little detail discovered, instead we have to start focus our energy on actions that reduce emissions (a bit like "know when you have to stop reading and start writing"). I do not see how a traditional natural science focussed conference will help much in fighting climate change, as this is a problem to be solved through social science. Instead we should communicate and connect globally in finding solutions to lower our carbon emissions as scientists. How can we keep studying coral reefs  and  communcate our findings without destroying them through extensive travel for fieldwork and conferences.
> Do I have any thoughts, ideas or are there any developments in making conferences more sustainable?
> I asked the organizers of the ICRS the same question about a month ago and did not get a reply back, seems like they have no thoughts, ideas or developments, which is fine because I might was the first person asking them and why should they come up with solutions due to the concerns of a single person.
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list