Virtual conference provides sustainable alternative

Marco JanssenDue to the international scope of sustainability science, sustainability scientists travel a lot — especially by plane — to conduct research and to meet with colleagues. An important component of academia is to attend conferences to present research findings and learning about new developments. Are there different ways to provide this knowledge exchange that is more inclusive and with a smaller carbon footprint? In an attempt to explore alternatives, School of Sustainability Professor Marco Janssen is chairing the first virtual conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) from November 12 to 30. The IASC is the leading professional organization dedicated to the study of governance of the commons. Instead of traveling to a conference, participants can login to the IASC website, watch the videos and chat with the presenters. In this first virtual conference of the IASC, 40 videos are available for participants to engage with. Although a virtual conference does not have the same engagement as an in-person conference, participants are not constrained by borders and can engage with a negligible carbon footprint. As a result, about half of the presentations are by speakers from the Global South. The presentations include research findings on urban commons, small scale fisheries, water governance, digital commons, commons as an inspiration for sustainable business and polycentric governance of natural resources. Photo: Sustainability scientist Marco Janssen