Virtual interaction: Dr Richard Hill of environmental and geographical science presents his paper to a conference in Berlin from the comfort of the GSB.
UCT's Graduate School of Business (GSB) recently served as one of the virtual conference centres for the 2012 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change.
The conference dealt with evidence for sustainable development. Thus it was fitting that instead of delegates flying out to Berlin for the conference they could choose to participate from the comfort of their home institutions.
The event was organised by the Freie Universität Berlin with the other virtual conference centre being hosted at the United Nations University in Tokyo.
Dr Richard Hill of UCT's Department of Environmental and Geographical Science organised the virtual event and presented a paper at this conference titled Evidence, Rationality and Power in Decision-Making for Sustainability. Dr Britta Rennkamp of the Energy Research Centre at UCT presented a paper on the watch points of over-strategising in sustainable development planning in South Africa.
According to Hill's calculations, the cost for each of the 10 conference participants in Cape Town amounted to about one-twentieth of the cost of personal attendance. He argues, "Our virtual participation resulted in much reduced financial costs, eliminating days of travel and a minimal carbon footprint.
"I'm not suggesting that academics should never attend events elsewhere, just that we can afford to participate in more conferences if we supplement travel with virtual video conferencing events."
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