Sustainable travel decision aid
Deciding whether to travel
What do I want to achieve?
- Why am I attending this event and how will it benefit my work, the University, or society more broadly?
- What specific benefits will in-person attendance provide?
What are the benefits of not travelling?
- Could time/money for travel be better spent on other means of dissemination
- Can other ECR or PGR colleagues benefit more from attending?
- Can my decision support others to take more sustainable choices eg through leadership or improved logistics?
- Does high-carbon travel affect my reputation – especially if working in areas such as environment, health, social justice? [Example: 'Statements about climate researchers’ carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice']
What are the alternatives?
- How many people from my team really need to travel – could another colleague represent me, and how could we share learning from event?
- Is it feasible to attend remotely (tele/videoconference: Glasgow Anywhere)
- Can I request that these options are provided, if not already? (Flying Less in Academia - Resource Guide)
- Could I use alternative means of dissemination and networking? (Social media guidelines for research staff and Getting started on social media).
Alternatives to flights
Trains and ferries are a feasible alternative for many destinations, especially in the UK and Europe. They are often more suitable for working and go directly to city centres. Within the UK, travel times are often similar to flying once you account for travel to the airport, passing through security, etc. Seat61 is useful for planning train journeys worldwide.
Options to consider:
- Using sleeper trains.
- Combining with meetings in intermediate cities to break journey eg. London, Paris.
- Using travel as dedicated time for a suitable piece of work eg. others have used them for ‘writing retreats’ [Plan Your Writing Retreat on Amtrak] and pre-conference meetings [All aboard the CET conference train].
- Budget in grants for technology to support remote working eg. laptops, dongles, Bluetooth headsets.
Maximising the value of travel
Can I combine this trip with other meetings, fieldwork, or visits to another institution which would otherwise require additional travel?
What are my specific objectives for networking?
- What relationships do I want to create/build?
- What difference will they make to my work?
- Can I contact key individuals beforehand to arrange introductions or 1:1 meetings?