Emergent reflections

A space where I can digest some thinking through the writing process - liminal, emergent and reflective.

Conference planning: thoughts about 'going green'

Margaret.OCONNELL's picture

Had a wonderful discussion with Jeanette, Susan and Stephen today in preparation for the 2008 Australian conference! This will make up our conference planning team, together with the Events team here at CIT. We're working on a theme which concerns the 'Whole Person'. This from our submission:

"The whole person: sustainable futures in living, learning and working." The underpinning framework of the theme is the exploration of the encroachment of economic rationalist approaches to our work and life and its dominance in areas such as health and education particularly. This is often pursued at the expense of community development and wellbeing of individuals and families, no to mention workplaces and our educational institutions.

The central focus on sustainability concerns education (e.g. developing sustainable curricula), community development (e.g. designing and developing sustainable communities), and environmental impacts (e.g. sustainable futures and technoligies). This is not an exhaustive list, but outlines the intentions behind the theme, to develop the whole person. In this, the whole person requries attention to issues of health and wellbeing, work-life balance, ivestigation of the worker-learner, edcuation for lifelong learning, and tensions between the individual and community, and economics and community.

This just gives you a small window into how our discussion will progress, and we look forward to members contributing actively to engaging with this theme to breath life into it as we head into the conference in September.

Additonally, I've been scouting around for information and guidelines regarding carbon offsetting and neutrality so we can pursue a 'green conference' to celebrate efforts in sustainable practices for events such as this. Some of the best links I've found so far are listed below.

The myclimate foundation: http://www.myclimate.org/

is based on the concept of voluntary and innovative solutions for climate
protection and the promotion of renewable energies and energy efficient

The international initiative originated 2002 as an ETH spin-off in
Switzerland. myclimate is one of the leading providers of carbon
offsetting measures. Its clients include large firms, small and
medium-sized enterprises, public authorities as well as non-profit
organisations and event organizers.

Carbonfund.org: http://www.carbonfund.org/

Carbonfund.org is dedicated to fighting climate change, making it easy
and affordable for anyone to eliminate their climate impact and
hastening the transformation to a clean energy and technology future.
We promote cost-effective solutions to carbon reductions that include
saving energy and carbon offsets.

BP also have useful info on their website about their BP Global Choice program.

These are just a few. The Aussie government also has some info including those busiensses that are striving to be carbon neutral - perhaps we can look into using these businesses to make our conference arrangements, from paper and printing to flights to/from the conference?

All thoughts welcome, especially if you know of events that have gone carbon neutral - would love to hear how they did it! :o)


MacLaren's picture

Going Green for Conference

 I would welcome the opportunity to participate in a conference that considers the environmental cost of our "gathering together" great idea!


Margaret.OCONNELL's picture

Do participants want a preference?

thanks for your comment Michelle and great to hear from you!

as a potential participant, in what way/s would you like to see a 'green' option? some events add a small cost item to their tickets or registrations, for example. others budget for a carbon-neutral cost and pay this as a 'bulk fee' so to speak. these are options we can think of in addition to what we use/reuse/recycle/do without at the conference itself.

Cheers, Marg :o)

View my activities at
http://edge.edublogs.org/ OR http://www.alarpm.org.au/blog/133

Email: margoconnell@gmail.com

Susan.GOFF's picture

First steps into a carbon neutral conference

Hello Marg and Michelle

Thanks Marg for doing the research and Michelle for your support. Can you let us know how CIT has managed to off set carbon footprinting in past conferences? I have looked at both these links and they both look good. The Swiss one has the advantage of being well linked into many initiatives around the world, but I also like myclimate for its investment in renewable energy technologies. We need to consider costs of having our footprint measured and also the implications of a potentially long term relationship with whomever we go with - as this partnership will go on into the future.

This process has profound implications for our conferencing and for our sense of who we are as an organisation. I have joined into this conversation with the conference management team, but thought I should copy some of that here so we can open up the conversation to more members should they want to participate

"No matter where we are in the world, as ALARA members organising our national events, we need them to be a part of the global effort to drive our collective carbon footprint down. Here are some early thoughts about this:

  1. The ACT conference is the first ALARA event that is developing our carbon neutrality capacity as a core delivery capability
  2. Being the first we cannot do it all, but we are learning new policy and procedure to support future events and learning from CIT’s capabilities in this area
  3. Accordingly, for our Canberra conference, all conference registrations other than Virtual Participation Registrations, pay a “green ticket” carbon tax as organised by CIT
  4. We will also be encouraging a “distributed” engagement with this year’s conference: co-locating ALARA members coming together in other locations at the same time, looking at the same themes, the same ways, linking with each other and the national conference site with virtual connections
  5. To offset the loss of physical presence at the national conference site we also need to significantly increase (market) new participation in the location of the national conference site, as well as the collaborating hubs
  6. We are working through what a “Virtual Conference Registration” means and how to price it, for those people who participate from their work place or home office rather than a face to face in their local community

The question of carbon neutrality may have implications for membership values and fees, and require some support mechanisms such as member learning strategies to get into virtual and local participation.

So for example: if our national conferences lose revenue raising value as a result of the virtual solution to carbon reductions then we may need to build in the conference fee to al membership fees and organise a virtual conference with local hubs and free admission for members as a standard class of membership. 

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