25 May 2020, Φ Greening scientific conferences: ISEE statement

25.5.2020, Greening scientific conferences: ISEE statement

As mentioned in their May 2020 newsletter (www.iseepi.org/Public/About_Us/Newsletters_for_ISEE/May_2020_Newsletter.aspx), the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) has passed a statement on “greening” ISEE (www.youreventinfo.org/ISEE/Documents/Greening_ISEE_statement_approved_May_2020.pdf). The title of this (9-page) document is: “ISEE Statement – Greening the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology”, and the subheadings are:

  • Introduction: Why it is critical to fight climate change and other environmental disruptions
  • The need for individual AND collective actions
  • Values, knowledge, willingness to act and action
  • The environmental and social responsibility of ISEE: every gram of CO2 matters
  • Virtual conference versus physical conferences; which one is a real “loss of chance” for humanity?
  • Development of a long-term strategy to obtain carbon neutral ISEE conferences
  • Issues to consider when organizing a physical conference
  • Issues to consider when organizing a virtual conference
  • Future Considerations for ISEE
  • (15 references).

The last item (Future considerations…) includes this announcement: “… ISEE will also explore the following: … Network of simultaneous conferences set together at different venues easily accessible without planes, and connected together through the internet (+: less travel, possibility of contacts, -; limitations of the possible venues, lack of mixing between continents) …

Such network may be one of the most relevant approaches towards greening conferences without sacrificing major benefits of current conference practices. Discussions in the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) had produced similar ideas, as documented in the recent (March 2020) Report for the EUPHA Green Club (https://rfehr.eu/2020/03/12/12-mar-2020-%cf%86-greening-the-european-public-health-eph-conferences-report-for-the-eupha-green-club/): “simultaneous multicentric hybrid conferencing … regional hubs could be located all over Europe, based on 1-day train ride distances“.

As a co-benefit, due to smaller numbers of participants, the regional hubs should also be in a better position to comply with Corona standards.