I have given up air travel completely. I made the decision in June 2015 as I was flying home (to Ottawa, Canada) from a workshop in Spain. I had been thinking about it for a couple of years though. I am very disturbed that climate change is literally wrecking the biosphere, and putting millions of peoples’ lives at risk. I found I was becoming increasingly unable to justify the huge carbon emissions associated with flying. I decided the benefit to me was not worth the cost to the climate.
I think we are quite lucky that just when we need to stop flying, the technology for remote meetings and conferences has really taken off, so to speak. I have given several presentations using videoconferencing, even keynote conference presentations. Of course I miss the social aspect of meetings and workshops but I don’t feel I can use that to justify the carbon emissions of a flight. And in any case I’m not missing out on meetings altogether. I have been attending meetings within rail or bus distance, and during my next sabbatical I intend to take a freighter ship to Europe and spend some time catching up with colleagues.
I am a Professor of Biology, and co-Director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory, at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I study the responses of wildlife, including plants, arthropods, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, to human-altered landscapes. My research combines simulation modelling with field data to evaluate the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation, road density, and the configuration of farmlands and cities, on species distribution, abundance and diversity. I have co-authored over 200 publications, with over 33,000 citations. I was awarded the US-IALE’s Distinguished Landscape Ecologist award, and I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.