Green, greening, greener: launching German-speaking #GreeningDH at the DHd 2022 annual conference

(Dieser Blogpost wurde auf Englisch verfasst, um die Vernetzung mit anderen DH-Initiativen weltweit zu fördern, die Forschungspraktiken sowie Epistemologie des Faches unter Berücksichtigung der Klimakrisen zu reflektieren bestrebt sind)

A fully online conference with minimalist goodie bags sent home to the 1000 participants: while the DHd conference veterans (and probably the academically younger participants too) would certainly have preferred to meet in person, the DHd 2022 annual conference achieved the ambitious goal to keep its environmental footprint at an all-time low and still offer warmth, welcome and high-quality research to an exceptional number of people. New standards in conferencing have been set, not only due to the pandemic, but also because awareness for the impact of research activities – including conference travels – on the planet has been growing to a point that it can hardly be ignored.

Balancing impacts (environmental, social, economic, psychological) of the different ways you can envision scholarly communication is what incited me to look into questions connected to research and teaching activities in the context of climate crises at large. I wanted hard numbers, I wanted to be able to tell my colleagues that a 2 hour videoconference is definitely a better option than taking a plane to travel 500 km. But I also want to be able to discuss the more complicated cases: how do you decide who, from your institute, should be the one to travel to a conference? How do you ensure a sustainable logistical infrastructure for online attendances? How do you assess advantages and disadvantages of an in-person meeting vs. videoconference and make the decision process transparent?