For 10+ years I have turned down most offers to travel and present at conferences. As scientists generating the data or at least being very informed about the anthropogenic causes of climate change, we should be seen to act on what we know. Academic institutions should ensure expectations (particularly for promotion) are commensurate with the harm caused to the environment by air travel.
While taking a personal stance has made me less ‘palatable’ to some peers and ‘cost’ me networking opportunities, others have responded admirably and influenced those associated with them. We cannot conduct business as usual, and breaking the addiction to flying is an exemplary ‘nut to crack’.
My research area is environmental microbiology. I study Antarctic microorganisms, discovering which types live in and around Antarctica, learning how they evolve and grow in the cold, and assessing how they are likely to respond to ecosystem changes, including climate change.
Recently, I led the publication of the ‘Microbiologists’ Warning’ – a Consensus Statement warning that microorganisms are so critical to achieving an environmentally sustainable future that ignoring them risks the fate of Humanity.