WEG climate and environmental policy

As climate and environmental scientists, WEG researchers are acutely aware of the impact humans are having on the balance of Earth’s natural systems. We are also aware of the negative impact we can have as scientists whilst seeking to increase scientific understanding of Earth’s systems and humanity’s impact on the planet.

We as a collective are committed to reducing our environmental impact as well as to working to educate the public about these most pressing of issues. 

From 2019 onwards, we are committed to limiting our environmental impact, particularly through air travel and related carbon emissions. This is a major dilemma in academia, as we need to travel (and emit C) for data collection and to share knowledge with colleagues. However, these actions ultimately contribute to climate breakdown. Having the opportunity to travel at an early career stage is especially important for young scientists.

As such our policy for all WEG related air travel is:

  1. To travel as little as is feasible. This means we will not go on multiple international flights in a calendar year, instead using the opportunity of travelling to maximise benefits through conferencing, lab visits, fieldwork etc.
  2. We offset C emissions from our air travel, factoring this additional cost into our budgets.

There’s a New Zealand firm that allows for offsetting via planting of native forests. This increases native biodiversity and locks C away from the atmosphere. The credits are more expensive than the industry average ($30/t C), but importantly increase the ecological benefits in NZ. You can learn more about their work at:

https://ekos.org.nz/ 

While the ideal solution would be to not emit GHG’s at all, we need to accept that some travel is unavoidable in our profession.

Aside from this initiative, we are all committed to minimizing the impact of our research by consuming less material goods and by reusing and repurposing lab materials, and otherwise taking the greenest option possible. For example, by making good use of the University of Waikato’s electric vehicles for local travel.

For more information and motivation for minimising the impact of science please visit:

https://noflyclimatesci.org/