As we near critical deadlines to address climate change and inequities, the Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE) will lead by example and embrace the benefits for people and planet offered by hosting virtual convenings.
The NCSE Drawdown 2021 Conference was the first large convening that GCSE held fully virtually. Beyond public health implications, the virtual format allowed us to avoid carbon emissions and increase conference accessibility across geographies and economic statuses. In the virtual format, participants from 86 countries joined, overall ticket prices could be greatly reduced, and over 1,100 students were able to attend completely free of charge.
The pandemic served as a tipping point that accelerated a transition our team has been considering for several years. Virtual meeting technology has advanced exponentially, allowing us to shape engaging and collaborative experiences for our community in digital spaces.
Moving forward, the GCSE Conference will primarily be held virtually, with opportunities for local and regional gatherings. Every third year, GCSE will organize a hybrid-style World Conference, co-hosted by a member of our global community. The GCSE team is proud of our decision to offer virtual and hybrid conferences beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.