Scientists who travel frequently for conferences or fieldwork are under pressure to justify their (large) carbon footprint. With the increased power of technology for both online streaming and remote observations, should the number of people attending conferences and going on fieldwork decrease? What are the benefits of attending a conference in person or going on fieldwork, and does that outweigh the negative of an enhanced carbon footprint?
During this Great Debate, we will discuss two activities that currently contribute greatly to our carbon footprint: 1) conference attendance and 2) data acquisition through fieldwork. For the first topic, we will focus on the question: what are the advantages and disadvantages of attending conferences in person, which often includes long-range travelling, instead of online streaming the conference? For the second topic we address the question: with the increasing number of remote observations, should scientists still be travelling long distances for fieldwork?