Q&A Stage 2 Buenos Aires
Questions to the BALOC from CC
- name of the questioner
- question 1
- question 2
- Jonathan Moules
- I didn't see anything about sustainability (of the eco-friendly variety) in there apart from the venue itself being sustainable. What are your sustainability aims? Thoughts:
The BALOC is committed to set up a Sustainability and Social Responsibility Plan for our conference based on the resources available in our country. On the following questions we will answer part of our currently planned strategy towards this.
- Will you be sourcing your "conference swag" sustainably (i.e., not from sources that exploit Indiginous People?)
One of our goals is to reduce the swag as much as possible as it generally ends up being waste. We are going to provide reusable water bottles to avoid the usage of one use plastic bottles during the conference and other possible useful objects to use during the conference. About explotation, see next question.
- Will you be sourcing your Tea/Coffee/Chocolate sustainably (i.e., not from sources that exploit Indiginous People & children?)
Of course as part of this sustainability effort we will check that we don’t buy goods or use services provided by an exploiting company.
- Will your caterers source food locally by preference?
Most food in the city already comes from horticulture producers in the near rural towns. Buenos Aires province is one of the largest meat and dairy producers in the country. We plan to have as many sources of local, small and family producers and organically produced food as possible.
- Does your travel grant prioritise sustainable travel over flying?
Whenever possible, we will try to use sustainable transport. But we understand that the Travel Grant should also apply to nearby countries, which may not be reachable unless by plane. See answer about regional travel.
- Will you be providing bottled water or some re-usable cups (FOSS4G UK did this for 2019 - worked well)?
We will provide each attendee with a reusable water bottle and there will be water fountains all over the venue, including hot water for those who want to drink tea or mate. We are aiming for local and regional products to minimize the carbon footprint of transport. We will also use as much recycled materials as possible. Non-expendable material used on the conference will be either sold after the conference or reused by the BALOC in future events.
- Will the food lean away from carbon-intensive foodstuffs?
We will balance the diet (unless special needs are required) with fresh non-processed food. The food that’s not eaten each day will be sent to a local organization that delivers to people living on the streets or community kitchens.
- How do you anticipate regional participants to travel there? (I'm guessing Local = public transit and International = flying).
Extending the question regarding sustainability of the TGP transport: For distances less than 400km, bus is the preferred transport near Buenos Aires. On some exceptional cases, we may even extend this distance if there is a direct road. On the regional context, considering Latin America, it is unlikely to use any other method of transport than by plane, since distances make it difficult to use other means of transport. Bear in mind that the rail network is not as extended in the rest of the world as it is in Europe.
- Will you default to opt-out for the t-shirt?
We want to reduce the amount of useless swag as possible to reduce waste. We are aware that t-shirts are very appreciated by a big part of our attendees, so we will offer them optionally to those who have a special interest, along with other optional swag. This also helps reducing the ticket price and allows us to operate on a lower budget.
- Will you provide any sort of carbon-credit offset as part of the conference fee for those who choose to fly?
On the proposal we focused on the things the BALOC could directly impact to reduce the carbon footprint and waste. We didn’t plan yet for what attendees can do to reduce their pollution. But it is in the schedule to contact in the future some association like Vida Silvestre (https://www.vidasilvestre.org.ar/) and add an optional donation to compensate for carbon footprint.
- Will you cater to various dietary requirements?
The catering will serve food for people with special requirements such as celiac disease, vegan diet, food allergies or intolerances. We will ask in advance to make sure all attendees have food adapted to their needs. The menu will be healthy and varied, covering nutritional needs.
- Travel Grant - Have you considered other potentially under-represented groups - those with disabilities for instance (about 18% of the UK population - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts-and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures - alas I couldn't quickly find the stats for Argentina). This is far more than the ~0.4% (UK again) who identify as Non-Binary ( http://www.allabouttrans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/non-binary-gender-factsheet.pdf )
As in FOSS4G 2018, there will be two rounds of Travel Grants. The first edition will cover under-represented groups in general, with no restrictions. The second round will focus on groups that are greatly under-represented (women and non-binary people as they represent half the population but are not as present on our events) and local under-represented groups (native americans). We care about people with limited mobility, that’s why, along with the help of the first Travel Grant, the venue is completely adapted and is located on a completely adapted neighbourhood with adapted access to the metro.
- GeoChicas - I'm not sure what a "geochica" is, but what's the logic to arbitrarily splitting it by gender? This seems the exact opposite of the stated "inclusive".
The GeoChicas event has taken place in FOSS4G 2018 and 2019 already. Although now it also includes Women in GeoSpatial (focused on geospatial technologies) and other Women in Tech associations besides GeoChicas (focused on OpenStreetMap), we decided to keep the name as an easy reference to attendees of previous FOSS4G. The concept of safe spaces is well known in communities that work to leverage gaps on under-represented communities. Those safe spaces help in the networking, empowering and reinforcing the presence of the targeted groups in conferences, thus making the event more inclusive. In the last two years we have already seen the effects of this safe space in our community and we want to continue on this line.
- You state in regards to local sourcing: "Buenos Aires province is one of the largest meat and dairy producers in the country." suggesting you plan to provision a fair amount of this. But then in response to carbon-intensive foodstuffs you say: ```"We will balance the diet (unless special needs are required) with fresh non-processed food." ``` Unfortunately these seem to be diametrically opposed notions. I think it's worth pointing out that beef and dairy are pretty much the most carbon intensive foodstuffs in their classes (beef = worst meat; dairy = worse than plant milks (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46654042) ). Will you be seeking to reduce use of these? (Suggestion: A few seconds googling for "Food emissions" will find plenty of articles with suggestions for what's good/bad.)
- My question regarding the travel grant's second round - I was wondering whether you would consider disability as being suitable for this. As noted in my question, there are *far* more disabled people than non-binary. Plus of course disabled people by the very nature of their disability may have physiological and/or logistical problems travelling, not something the other groups customarily face, so the disabled would proportionately benefit the most from the grant. Would you consider including disability in this second round?
- Geochicas - you call this a "safe space". I was under the impression these were spaces that are hostility free (i.e. https://equal.org/safe-space-program/ ), and they were open to all (a sound notion). To me at least it seems that by disallowing a certain group of people in you're saying that group of people are not safe, something that's definitely exclusionary. Plus it could be read that other minority groups (disabled, GBTQ, etc) aren't worth a safe space, only women and non-binary are. Would you consider making this more inclusive?