In her comment on my post (15 May, "Simply live simple") about climate change and the behavior change of people like me, working for international, Gillian quoted a climate expert from her organization. His position, in short, was that in bringing sustainable development closer, the footprint of those working towards the goal, should not be counted separately but seen collectively in the positive result of their work. But I did not agree.
I do not agree as it is an excuse not to do our best in thinking creatively of innovative sustainable solutions. No travel or ‘slow travel’ as they call it, is not a real answer in a globalized world. More selective travel is. Project design is one of the places where we can be much more creative. If I were to undertake today, some of the larger projects I did in the past, I would design them differently and save at least 20% of the international travel involved then. And also, when I look at my recent projects that were designed by people who mostly think that a workshop is the only effective means of communication, I think that I could save up to 50% of the travel and be as effective or more!
You do not always need a workshop. There are many good alternatives which, from the point of view of strategic communication are often much more effective! Think of telephonic interviews and conferences; web surveys and discussions; online cooperation on documents; e-learning and yes - blogging. The CEPA toolkit provides a range of effective communication means in section 2,3 and 4.
Unless thinking in terms of the impact of our footprints becomes second nature to us, we will conduct business as usual and design projects full of inception workshops, training workshops, evaluation workshops, international workshops, regional workshops… and keep on accumulating air miles, being part of the problem and not of the solution!