Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

Remote work, why not remote conferences too?

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Climate change is reaching the media more and more, every day we hear more stories about the bad things caused by climate change and also the youth protests “Fridays for Future” are very popular (at least here in Germany and Europe). That is one side to it.

On the other hand, I read on Twitter almost every day about conferences and developers all over the world who fly there just to listen to some presentations or give some themselves. It’s understandable that you have to fly to get to the conference that takes place thousands of kilometers away, but even at conferences in Europe I always read some tweets about flights from people who live in Europe themselves. First question: Why don’t European conference participants take the train to attend conferences in Europe? The second question: Is it really necessary to attend so many (similar) conferences all over the world?

We live in a modern world and we have all possibilities to communicate with people on the other side of the world even in real time. Everyone can talk directly to everyone via video chat from almost anywhere, as if the other person were standing directly opposite. But there are still so many people flying around the world just to listen to someone on stage and watch them talk about topics that there will certainly be conferences on at a much closer distance.

Remote work is so popular, why aren’t there remote conferences?

I know conferences are more than just getting information on different topics (especially since most of the information would be available through blog articles anyway). They are also great to meet like-minded people or people from the same industry. But is it really necessary to create such a large ecological footprint for that?

Climate change is coming faster than we think and it will affect everyone. But to stop it, it’s not enough to buy climate certificates and rely on others to make up for your poor carbon footprint. Everyone must see for themselves how they can change their own lifestyle to reduce the impact of their own actions on the climate.

A first step would perhaps be to organize local conferences and have speakers join in live via video.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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