by Ed Gillespie
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?
Communications to Inspire Change