Utne Blogs > Environment

Professor, Teach Thyself

by Staff


Tags: environment, plane, air travel, academic, scholars, conferences, climate change, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mark Pedelty, carbon footprint,

Traveling by plane to academic conferences exacerbates climate change, Mark Pedelty writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, yet the topic is rarely broached by those in academia: “Perhaps that is because our most sacred privilege is at stake. We love to travel.”

Pedelty, an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota, doesn’t spare himself as he serves up an unflinching but humorous critique of scholars who “travel to meet, greet, and, in one of our more ironic roles, preach the gospel of sustainability.”

Inspired in part by an editorial in the British Medical Journal on the carbon footprint of medical conferences, Pedelty encourages his fellow academics to videoconference whenever possible and to start asking hard questions like, “Did I really need to fly to New York to hear that?”

Keith Goetzman