In the afterglow of the first fully online, and highly successful, NIME conference it is worth taking a big-picture look at our habitual practices as academics, scholars, and artists.
In particular this year’s conference shed new light on the question of what we can do to mitigate the need for long distance travel for participation in the NIME community. Anna Xambó drew attention to an in-depth consideration of the question by musicologist Richard Parncutt, currently in press for publication in Computer Music Journal 43:4. Here is just one excerpt from Richard’s eloquent and powerfully stated plea to decarbonize our practices:
“… please let’s not descend into a long, sophisticated discussion about who deserves to fly and who does not. The simple truth is that nobody does. The only morally defensible kind of academic or musical conference in the year 2020 and beyond is a decarbonized one. I respectfully invite those readers who believe that they “must” fly to think for a moment about what they mean by “must.” What we “must” do is drastically reduce emissions. Not by 10% here and 5% there, but 90%.”
I can highly recommend reading the entire letter carefully for Richard’s valuable insights.
Alexander Jensenius then drew attention to a quantitatively reasoned analysis of academic conference travel, recently published in Nature magazine, also well worth careful reading and reflection:
Our current circumstances give us an excellent opportunity to think about how the adaptations we have made this year can be carried forward into more sustainable practices in both our personal and professional lives. I encourage everyone to share ideas about how to do that here.