Carbon neutral conferencing: A case study in poetics

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The author was co-convener of the Australian Capital Territory’s first government-certified, carbon-neutral conference, Out of the Ordinary: On Poetry and the World, 5– 7 December 2022. This paper centres upon a case study of that conference, intended to serve as a model for future such events. Bookending that case study are two discussions. The first addresses recent scholarship on the internationalisation of the university sector and the conflict it poses to concurrent policy drives towards environmentally sustainable operations. The literature on sustainable conferencing reveals the extent of that conflict, but also contains many practical measures for staging responsible events that involve genuine emissions reductions. Some of those measures feature within the poetry conference case study: vegetarian catering, eradication of printed materials, free registration for Indigenous delegates, compulsory travel offsetting, deliberate regionalisation. A final section considers problems with the very idea of carbon neutrality – as a concept based in “net” accounting practices that equate measures intended to affect the removal of emissions with no emissions – in the interest of driving further change in our conferencing practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalText (Australia)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023


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