Gerrit Altmeppen

PhD Student, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry - Goettingen, Germany
Goettingen, Germany
Gerrit Altmeppen

To be honest I did not really care about the problem of flying for quite some time, but not because I ignored this problem. It was rather that I was not aware of the immense impact of aviation on the climate of this planet. Of course, as a scientist and someone who has not been abroad for more than a couple of weeks I cannot promise to never enter a plane again, but this year I promised myself to avoid flying whenever it is possible.

I always loved taking trains (even though it can be quite a pain in Germany), so I think this is the best opportunity we have. I think we definitely should start to support train travel around the world, starting with those countries who have the highest emissions from plane travel. Especially in Germany, I see the situation of bad infrastructure for train traffic, and I think scientists and politicians have to become aware of this situation. Without financial support and the pressure of the public’s expectations and wishes, this cannot be achieved.

Of course, moving to another country or important international meetings cannot be done without the use of planes, but nobody should have the right to fly just for the sake of taking holidays. This is a luxury we cannot afford anymore. I think now is the time to make people realize this, and this is why I would like to join this community. The first step in changing people’s minds is to form a network, finding peers and fellows with the same motivation. This network can be used to spread the word, to find efficient ways of communication and to organize events and marketing strategies. I think this is not only the best, but the only possible way to achieve the goals of a plane-free (or at least reduced) planet before it’s too late.

I did my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Heidelberg, where I studied biochemistry and did my Bachelor’s thesis in the lab of Professor Hans-Reimer Rodewald. After moving to Goettingen to do my Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, I started working in the lab of Dr. Melina Schuh, where I am currently doing my PhD working on aneuploidy during meiosis in mammalian oocytes.