I am on my way to Tours by train for the 8th Symposium on Antimicrobial Resistance in Animals and the Environment in Tours, France. I am excited by this for a number of reasons.
1. I have resolved not to fly in the UK or in Europe but to travel by train or other means. We academics have very bad habits with regards international travel – frequently flying to conferences or collaborators. I try to keep my international travel to a minimum, and even then have had recent long-haul trips to China, South Africa and Canada. While it would be difficult cut out international travel altogether – it is an important part of our job – I think we do need to be more mindful of the impact of our behaviour on climate change. It is perfectly possible to travel within Europe by train – and not especially inconvenient. (This journey will involve four trains: Leicester->London, London->Paris, Gare du Nord->Gare Montparnasse; Paris->Tours) but not much more inconvenient than getting to/from airports and the trains are really very pleasant.
2. I have also made a conscious choice to attend a European rather than further afield conference. I had originally planned to attend EDAR5 in Hong Kong – having greatly enjoyed EDAR3 and EDAR4 – and knowing full well that Tong Zhang and his committee will have put on an amazing event. But ARAE8 has some advantages too – much nearer (no long haul flight = less carbon) and it is a group of people I mainly do not know – so I am really looking forward to meeting some new people and to hear new and different perspectives – even if it means that because they do not know me, I will be presenting a poster rather than talk.
3. First opportunity for my PhD student Henry Todman to present at an international conference. He too will be bringing a poster (for which he won second prize within the Division of Agriculture and Environmental Science at our Campus wide postgraduate conference last week).