#ei4s2015 It is not just about energy...

... but also about global environmental management, earth systems, human activities, sustainability, technology, feedback, ethics, networks, users, limits, and a lot more!

Today started the joint 29th International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection (EnviroInfo) & 3rd International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) in Copenhagen. Similar to the last year´s conferences there is a big variation in the presented topics and those contributions that will follow the next days. Indeed, this year, there were some nice interactions and activities that supported discussions and exchanges in a - in my opinion - really good way.

In fact, the conference started with a "Selfie Competition": Who of the participants twittered the first selfie of the conference using the corresponding hashtag. This gives an impression of the activities contributed by the conference moderator Peter. After winning a chocolate for our table (since we have been the first ones published a "Groupie") we could start the conference in a motivated but serious way.

The two keynotes in the beginning ("Moving from local to global environmental management" and "What is national ICT - politics for sustainable development") pointed more or less out the motivation for our research activities. On the one hand by comparing social economic trends with earth system trends. This talk invited us to "continue developing requirements that we become stewards of the earth systems". On the other hand by having a closer look onto the activities of Sweden. He came up with four ways to reduce environmental impacts through digitisation: substitute, improve efficiency, intensity and inform.

The last point fits to the paper we presented: In the context of my PhD studies and in collaboration with a project of the German federal environmental agency, I deal with the question how to inform especially end user about "green software aspects". One idea is to create a label for green and sustainable software products. To do so we have to deal with questions about a common definition, criteria to be laid on, a suitable form of representation, target groups as well as stakeholders. Find more about this in our conference paper.

Following, I joined three different ConverStations that all focused on the user but presenting different approaches: A project of the University of Siegen dealt with the question if energy campaigns make a difference in the energy consumption of working spaces. They come to the result: yes, they do but rebound effects also occur. Here we wondered if the rebound effect is a function of time or of feedback. Next to this, the Borderstep Institute had a look on the energy demand of workplace computer solutions. I found it interesting, that the number of ICT devices is increasing whereas the energy consumption is decreasing over the last years in Germany. The third station I joined today presented an approach how to bring students into the field of sustainability. Here, sustainability was seen out of the view of ethics - what was a completely new approach for me.

The conference ended with another keynote ("Priorities for ICT4S: What we can do for a future of descent") pointing out that we should not imagine that technology can solve all problems and a poster session. Before standing in front of their posters the "poster girls and boys" got 45 seconds to motivate the participants to come by. Here are some statements of the presenters:

  • Come to my poster, I´ll make you drunk! (Wine was offered during the poster mingle)
  • How we did it? I let you come to my poster to find out! 
  • I´m not the author, but I´m going to present it.
  • I have a course of nerds who should be interested in sustainable topics ... 

Tomorrow we will go on in "looking for the transformational change during this conference"! Hence, we do not wait for crisis, but attempt to preparedness - implementing one of the ICT contributions to that (presented by Bonnie Nardi): Select research projects that address the issues of sustainability and work out good ideas now.

Personal résumé of day 1 of EICT4S 2015: An interactive conference day with sympathetic participants, highly diverse topics and surprising activities. I like the ConverStation-format although it is exhausting for those who present (we all agreed on this), but it brings nice discussions - if you let the participants discuss :)