If you are ever booking a conference for work or know the person who is… then here are some that are more environmentally friendly (there are probably).
Pines Calyx, St. Margaret’s Bay, Kent
Sustainability Features: In 6 acres of organic grounds, organic and seasonal food wherever possible, natural daylight and ventilation systems, built with many local and sustainable materials, designed by company specialising in carbon-free design.
Cotswold Conference Centre, Broadway, Worcestershire
Sustainability Features: Tree planting, ecover, free taxi services for clients, recycling, bottling of own on-site water, etc.
Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre, Lambourn, Berkshire
Sustainability Features: Organic food, natural ventilation and light, built from sustainable materials, recycled CD sinks, environmentally friendly energy.
The barn@Lakewood, Blagdon, North Somerset
Sustainability Features: The electricity is powered completely “off grid” by solar panels, rain water collection, state of the art bio-fuel central-heating, recycling, organic produce, transport sharing encouraged.
Folly Farm Centre, Bristol
Sustainability Features: Biomass central heating, willow-bed grey-water treatment, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water, green electricity, organic and fair-trade refreshments, restored historic buildings, surrounded by 250-acre nature reserve, all profits go to charity.
If you’re looking at booking a conference, why not hold it virtually, in the virtual world of Second Life?
Flying across the Atlantic creates three and a half times the amount of carbon emissions we should be limiting ourselves to in a year.
Any conference that involves flying is VERY BAD NEWS for the planet.
Second Life is the most successful virtual world to date with over 15 million registered inhabitants, 80,000 or more of whom are “in-world” at any one time.
It’s having great successes in distance learning, with libraries and for artistic development as well as corporate training.
People from all over the world are represented in SL by “avatars” who can walk, talk, meet, discuss, watch video and listen to presentations, and even fly. Conferences can meet in specially-built virtual buildings with all the facilities you’d expect from a top-flight real-world venue – but with virtually none of the carbon emissions (it’s your computer, which you are using anyway, and the SL server farms which are negligible compared to the same group flying to a conference across the Atlantic).
Conference organisers say they have got the induction time for attendees to a mere 30 minutes from scratch; for exhibitors and presenters it’s about an hour, even if you’ve never seen a virtual world in your life.
Virtual conferencing in SL beats conventional video conferencing and “webinars” hands-down, because none of those techniques – which tend to be small-group-presentation-centric, clunky and often require special and expensive equipment – offer the kind of personal interaction and networking that is an essential part of a conference alongside the presentations and exhibitions.