Re: Question to candidates: eco-friendliness

Hi Philip!

Philip Withnall <philip tecnocode co uk> wrote:
What steps do you think the Foundation could take to reduce its
environmental impact, and the environmental impact of the project as a

I composed this in my head before seeing the other responses to your
mail, so you'll have to forgive me if I repeat any of the points that
have already been made

First, thank you for raising this issue - we haven't seriously looked
at the Foundation's environmental impact, and given the climate crisis
we ought to look at this. Maybe the Foundation could even take a lead
on this issue, which other free/open source projects could follow.

I suspect that the biggest environmental impact that the Foundation
has is through travel. The one concrete idea I've had for this in the
past would be to amend the travel policy, to allow people to take
ground transportation rather than flying, even if it comes at
additional cost (within certain limits, of course). This would have to
be discussed with the Travel Committee but it seems like a fairly
straightforward, practical step.

Outside of this, it gets a bit trickier. One of the Foundation's goals
has actually been to facilitate *more* travel: we want more hackfests,
greater attendance at our conferences, and so on. The other factor
that makes it tricky is that the Foundation can only influence
behaviour to a certain degree: we can encourage the community to hold
certain types of events, and we can decide whether to support plans
that are brought to us or not, but we can't independently decide which
events will be held or where they will be held.

That said, I think we should investigate all the options for both our
travel policy and our events strategy. This might include some of the

  - Have hackfest organisers consider the carbon footprint of their
event, particularly when it comes to picking a location
  - Encourage regional (ie. continental) events rather than global
ones, and take steps to reduce the amount of intercontinental travel
to these events - this might mean things like flying fewer people from
Europe to GNOME.Asia and to our North American events (self-sustaining
regional events are something that the Foundation should push to
support anyway, I think)
  - Work to increase the number of local keynote speakers at our
conferences, rather than those from other continents
  - Come up with innovative ways to avoid or limit travel. Ideas for this:
    - Remote "sprints" could replace hackfests in some cases.
    - Have linked events happen simultaneously in multiple-locations;
for example, you could have a hackfest happen in one location in
Europe and another in South America, and link them using video
conferencing, or organise the work into location-specific streams.
  - Work to provide a reliable video conferencing solution for all
Foundation members

This is just a preliminary list of ideas and I think that we should
ask the community to provide their own suggestions. The board should
then consider the ideas we have, and ensure that any agreed changes
are implemented. This is something that I'd be enthusiastic about and
would certainly support, if I were re-elected.

Thanks again,


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