Re: Question to candidates: eco-friendliness

Hi Philip and thank you for the question, 

I currently have little insight into how environmental impact factors into the cost-benefit analyses that the Foundation carries out in relation to meetings, events and general expenditure so my answer will be fairly broad and a bit open-ended perhaps.

Open-ended in so far that perhaps the upcoming BoD should, if no such work has been carried out already, assess what measures the organisation does and could take to limit environmental impact without harming the future governance of the project and without making the threshold for contributing and becoming part of the community higher. Ideally such an assessment would result in a proposed policy document to govern the way in which the organisation makes the decisions while also taking the environment into account.

More specifically, albeit broad due to the lack of insight into any such current or previous activities, I would say that there are several smaller steps we can take;
- Ensuring that we make responsible decisions when it comes to our supply chain for swag, event materials, etc., (and packaging of same) aiming to strike a balance where we look at using suppliers that use recycled materials without this being offset by innumerable travel miles or other costs that it would be difficult for a non-profit of our size to cover. 
- Ensuring that we encourage event organisers (whether local bid winners for the larger events such as GUADEC and GNOME.ASIA or those arranging smaller hackfests, etc.) to consider the materials they use for event signage, etc., discouraging the use of plastic and, as appropriate, encouraging the printing of reusable materials for recurring events (provided the reduction in waste does not result in a steep financial outlay and a greater carbon footprint due to subsequent storage and shipping).
- Discouraging unnecessary travel/meetings while also being mindful of the benefits face-to-face events and meetings have and the positive impact those improved interpersonal dynamics may have on collaborative projects in general and aiming to strike a balance that looks after both the health of the community, interests of the organisation and the planet alike.
- We could even take tiny steps such as ensuring that when we remind those attending GUADEC in Thessaloniki to stay hydrated in the Greek heat, we also encourage seasoned GUADEC attendees to bring their GNOME water bottles and to refill to refuel rather than buying a new single-use bottle each time thirst sets in!
- Encourage the use of virtual events/meetings/hackfests/whatever to reduce travel while also encouraging broader participation from those community members who are prevented from travelling due to cost and personal/professional commitments that otherwise make it difficult for them to attend an in-person event.
- Continuing to ensure that we minimise our reliance on hardcopies when it comes to paperwork, aiming to receive and send electronically where possible.

I am sure there are a number of other things we could look at too, but those are the things that pop into mind without having a greater understanding of the current situation when it comes to leaving our GNOME footprint on planet earth!


On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:11 PM Philip Withnall <philip tecnocode co uk> wrote:
Hi all,

Thanks for running for the board!

What steps do you think the Foundation could take to reduce its
environmental impact, and the environmental impact of the project as a

I’m asking in more of an organisational sense than a technical sense.
It’s up to individual maintainers to ensure their software is not
resource-hungry, etc.

I imagine this is the kind of question where it’s easy to just say
“yes, I care about environmental friendliness”, so I suggest you might
want to reply with your ideas about things the board could do to reduce
environmental impact — whether those things are big, small, incremental
steps to reduce our physical resource usage, or fundamental changes to
how we organise the project to reduce the impact of travel. It would be
interesting to hear them all, and how feasible/practical you think any
improvements are.

Obviously, those who have already served on the board will have some
insight to share about what the board already does, and concrete ways
it could improve; hopefully this doesn’t disadvantage those who haven’t
already served on the board.

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Christel Dahlskjaer
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