Saturday, December 24, 2005

EcoFest - The true impact of International Environmental Confests

EcoFests - International Environment Conferences

Confest tourism is big business. Its huge worth trillions of dollars and growing at an alarming rate.

Why pay for your next international holiday when you can put in on the corportate tab - even better if the Government pays.

It seams that every one want to an all expenses paid for international business trip and what better way to have a holiday abroad then to attend a "work related" conference - and its not just the proffessional elite.

Conferences are happening all over the world, you name it and there is a conference you can attend. Just list your prefered destinations and jump on the internet and I am sure you will find one to suit you requirements.

Event organisers are carving out a pretty penny for themselves. Hotels, resteraunts, catering companies, advertising executives, corporate managers, travel agents, taxis and hire cars all beneficiarys of the economic activitiy generated. It seams every one is a winner from this economic self generating cash cow - that is except the environment.

I first got to thinking about it when I started to camoiagn for open dislosure of of the City of Melbourne's staff and cocunillors intertstae and overseas travel. The Council administration would go to extrordinary efforts to avoid disclosure and public scrutiny of the extent of travel undertaken by staff and Councillors. The Coucnil staff and Councillors spent over one million dollars in direct travel related activities.

Whats more that information and benefits gained in jet setting off around the world could have easily been achieved if they stay at home. Most of the time the conference goers don't even attend the schedualed conference events.

I was staying in Rome, as part of a stop over from a trip around the world and during my stay there I met a lot of foriegners on the tourist trail. When we got talking I found out that most of the tourists I had met were on a "government sponsored business trip attanding a Food and Agricultural Organsiation (FAO) meeting. Now for those that do not know FAO is connected with the United Nations and its head quarters are based in Rome.

Every one of these Confest tourists as I call them had taken time out from the organsied conference to look around Rome. Infact it is the normal modus operande for FAO delegates to register for a conference of some kind and spend most of the time sightseeing. At the end of the event everyone goes home full of praise and gratitude for FAO and the conference the just attended.

I souldn't single out FOA as such because I am sure they fullfill a very important job and contribute significantly to the worlds Argicultual development. But this sort of thing is going on all over the world with every concievable type of organisation from the Vatican to the weidest of international environment organisations that noboby has heard about.

Its big business - Millions opon Millions of dollars are spent every day. Whats more there are generouse tax deductions to help off-set the cost.

A part from generating economic activity what are the true cost benefits derived from international travel?

Who and how often should employees and government official attend overseas confest?

What are the pitfalls?

The City of Melbourne is a good example case of the sort of wasted resources and ideolgical bankrupt hippocrites.

Avoid air travel

Like cars, aeroplanes are major contributors to the greenhouse effect, and are one of the fastest growing source of greenhouse pollution. In particular, they emit high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and water vapour. NOx emissions from aircraft are responsible for ozone depletion in the stratosphere and also contribute to smog build-up in our cities.

So where possible, you should rethink your air travel needs. If a conference call is as good as a face-to-face meeting, take the phone call option. For your next vacation discover the secrets of your own state rather than taking an air-based holiday.

Avoiding one return Sydney to Melbourne air trip saves 256 kg of CO2. That's about three times more greenhouse gases than a train or a bus.

If you avoid a return flight from Melbourne to London you could save 2.49 tonnes of greenhouse emissions, the equivalent of 10 trees.

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