Both Southern Cross University and the School of Law and Justice recognise the mounting climate crisis and its wide-ranging, dire implications for all of humanity, all non-human species and all parts of the living environment, as clearly set out in the 2018 IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of global warming. As a result, the conference organisers have decided to undertake all efforts to ensure that the conferences are as carbon neutral as possible. Below is a summary of all initiatives undertaken, as well as options for participants to complement those efforts.
The University is currently transitioning its energy sources in order to decrease the current reliance on fossil fuels. The conferences, therefore, rely on the University’s efforts to produce more carbon neutral electricity. Participants are invited to reflect (and, hopefully, reduce) unnecessary energy consumption throughout the conferences.
In accordance with the recommendation of the latest IPCC report in regard to a significantly reduced consumption of meat and animal products and a primarily plant-based diet, the conference organisers have decided to provide an exclusively vegan menu throughout the conference. Furthermore, food is sourced from local providers, who are committed to source the primary ingredients as locally as possible, as well as reducing all packaging to a plastic-free minimum.
Furthermore, participants are provided with a personalised bio-cup as part of the conference welcome package. Participants are invited to use their cup throughout the conference. While additional cup can be lent to participants who have forgotten their own, the conference organisers would like to emphasise the importance of individual responsibility in decreasing unnecessary consumptions, and thus would really appreciate if participants could wash, maintain, and carry their cup throughout the conference.
Materials, handouts and objects
In order to reduce the proliferation and duplication of unnecessary conference materials, all conference information, including a detailed schedule of all presentations, is provided on the conference website. Participants are invited to use the website to plan and register their attendance to any of the conference sessions. Large printed conference programs will also be available for easy viewing in multiple places.
As a result of the desire to reduce consumption, conference welcome packages are primarily limited to a personalised keep-cup. No printed programs, pens or notepads are given to participants as part of their welcome package. However, pens and notepads are available to participants upon request.
While it is certainly possible to organise public events that rely on digital connectivity, the conference organisers equally recognise the importance of direct communication and engagement among fellow scholars. The somewhat transactional nature of digital communication is, indeed, inherently incapable of replacing the nuances, the depth, and the benefits of personal exchanges within a shared physical space. While recognising the tension between the importance of attending scholarly events and forms of travel that rely on still heavily polluting fossil fuels, the conference organisers would like to invite participants to reflect on ways to mitigate such impact.
It is common for airline providers to offer carbon offset schemes, which some participants may have indeed purchased as part of their travel organisation. However, the conference organisers also recognise that a host of different mitigation and adaptation projects are readily available to those interested in donating to them. While a comprehensive list is, certainly, impossible, the conference organisers would like to offer three options as a way of example:
Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund
An Australian program focused on planting projects to offset a range of transport-generated emissions.
A range of Australian native reforestation projects also designed to offset a range of transport-generated emissions.
In April 2019, the Intrepid Foundation and the Climate Foundation partnered to fund research through the University of Tasmania for Australia’s first marine permaculture platform.