Web gatherings are good for the planet. When you think about it, it must be true.
A recent study looked at Direct Learn's 2005 'Supporting Deaf People' (SDP) online conference and concluded:
"Had the SDP conference taken place in London, England, instead of online, the per capita emissions would have been greater than the per capita emissions of Brazil for all of 2005. In fact, the per capita emissions for this one conference, taking place over three days, would have been greater than the per capita emissions of at least 86 different countries for the entire year of 2005".
Put simply, this means that each delegate would have generated as much carbon attending a conference in London as one person in Brazil generates in a whole year.
"Reducing the carbon footprint has become an international goal for most countries and a personal goal for many. Corporations, governments, professional organizations, and individuals all have a role to play. One highly effective means to achieving this goal is the reduction of unnecessary travel. Air travel has been shown to be a major contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, and most scientists believe that current estimations of the impact of air travel on our environment are gross underestimations. Despite these assertions, every year, professional associations organize conferences to which thousands of participants fly to attend; every year, corporations send their employees to central locations for training; and every year professionals choose to attend international conferences that require distant travel."
"As can be seen from the results above, the carbon footprint left by travel to these professional development events is considerable. One participant, travelling by air to a single conference, produces more CO2 emissions than many countries produce per capita in a year. Finally, direct costs were reduced by more than an order of magnitude - from over $2,000 to $69 USD. Today, interactive technologies have evolved to a point that travel to many conferences and training programs is unnecessary or could easily be substituted (at least part of the time) by the use of telecommunications technologies. Online conferences offer an environmentally friendly alternative that has been shown to be both effective and economical. Organizations trying to implement environmentally friendly travel policies are encouraged to utilize these technologies to replace or supplement face-to-face professional development events. Individuals looking to improve their skills through continuing education are urged to avoid air travel by choosing, whenever possible, professional development conferences offered online."
Lynn and Terry Anderson of Athabasca University carried out the study of the environmental (and other) benefits of an online conference compared with the equivalent physical conference. Their report calculated the huge savings in carbon emissions gained from holding the conference online with participants from all over the world.
Web Gathering Ltd
is a UK company no. 07761947.