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Time to ‘get on the bus!’

As a very reluctant and very very occasional flyer for obvious carbon, climate change and environmental reasons I am still often invited to speak at conferences all over the world. It always seems a bit crazy to ping half way around the planet to give a twenty minute speech. So about ten years ago, rather than turn down invitations to speak at events, I began to offer something different. Rather than pay a speaker fee, travel and accommodation costs I’d suggest to conference organisers they could bundle these together, and using this as a budget I would prepare and shoot a high quality short film for them to show at the event of the material I would have presented in person. Simple.

I would then offer to Skype or teleconference in for ‘live’ Q&A or discussion following the showing of the film so we still had capacity for debate. This approach seems to benefit everyone. The conference organisers get everything they wanted – a provocative presentation, interactive discussion, plus a high-quality filmed asset, beyond a typically filmed conference presentation, that they can then use at other events or as a follow-up.

I get to avoid an unnecessary flight, thus saving a whole bunch of carbon in the process. And I don’t get exhausted hauling my over-tired ass around the world. Plus it sends a powerful message too I think about the ‘need’ to travel. The most recent of these films I’ve made was this month for a sustainable transport event in Norway. I politely pointed out to the organiser the irony of flying back and forth across Europe to give a quick talk at a conference on this theme, and fair play to them they instantly agreed. So instead we made the below film, beautifully shot on a 1967 vintage London Routemaster bus and hopefully a useful film for them too in the future?

Perhaps more environmentalists rather than just turning down conference invites, could offer to give keynotes and speeches this way?

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