Tech Conferences Are Destroying the World. But I Have A Solution.

Tech conferences aren’t about the content, it’s about the conversation. The conversations in the lobby, the hallways, over meals, across seats. The ability to connect with large numbers of people in an informal setting away from the office. In fact, the personal contact is so good that people travel long distances, mainly by airplane, to get a seat: San Francisco, New York, Austin, Paris, London, Hawaii and beyond. If you attend a few of these you’re sure to grow your network and influence. And you know what else? YOU’RE DESTROYING THE WORLD VIA INCREASED CARBON EMISSIONS.

One roundtrip flight from NYC to SF or Europe creates warming effects of roughly 3 tons of carbon emissions per person. Oh, that’s just the equivalent of 10,000 miles driven in a car. No biggie…

So all these folks tweeting about a greener planet and installing Nest thermostats, there’s one thing you could do that might really make a difference: stop flying as much. Seriously, I know that every event is so important  that in the moment it seems like a great idea to attend but you’re creating a shittier world for my daughter. Since I go to some of these myself i guess I’m part of the problem. Besides trying to cut down on unnecessary plane travel, here’s what I’d suggest:

Conference Organized Should Bake Carbon Offset Into the Ticket Price
Carbon offsets are a market-based solution where you can seek to reduce your carbon footprint not by changing your behavior, but by paying to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere. Most of the big tech conferences are pretty inelastic because many attendees are affluent or expensing their tickets. Toss another $100 in there. No one will care.

AllThingsD, TechCrunch, GigaOM, f.ounders, LeWeb, The Lobby, TED, and so on… you game?