Own impact

It is a common discussion among environmental researchers that although our work is aiming to understand and mitigate human impact on the environment, the tools and methods that we use in our work are often anything but environmentally conscious. Thus, in the process of understanding how human activities impact the environment, we the researchers rarely think about our own part in it. One example that probably applies to all types of research and has a significant impact on the environment, is travelling. The academic world is very competitive, and time is often a luxury that researchers try to savor; so we usually make travel arrangements on the basis of time and cost. International collaborations, field studies, meetings, conferences, and seminars, are some of the most common reasons for scientists to travel. And scientists travel a lot!

The first step toward solving a problem is acknowledging that the problem exists. Having done that, we now need to identify ways to monitor and address it. In order to quantify the projects’ environmental impact, we used the climate footprint calculator developed by researchers, public bodies and tourism actors in Gothenburg and West Sweden (www.travelandclimate.org) to calculate our own carbon footprint when we are travelling for meetings, sampling, etc.

Here, we will publish the results of our analysis, along with insights on challenges that we faced and improvements that we made.