As an assistant professor who is trying to keep valuable connections worldwide, I find it very difficult to say “no” to events that require air travel. These come in the form of conferences, committees, and my own group’s research projects, which are conducted at national facilities.
In spite of this, it has helped me tremendously to make a conscious effort to stop traveling so much. The gains have been in terms of lessening cognitive dissonance surrounding climate change (and my own inaction) but also in terms of spending more time with my family, as well as having enough time and mental focus to work on my research and even read outside my field.
The challenge I am facing now is that I am chairing a seminar series which I love, but I realize that it is creating even more air travel. I am pushing to change it to a teleconference style using up-to-date teleconferencing technology (for the talk, as well as one-on-one meetings with our faculty).
I work in experimental condensed matter physics. I use neutron scattering as a probe of quantum magnetic states of matter.