[Foundation-l] Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Gregory Kohs thekohser at gmail.com
Fri May 1 17:06:55 UTC 2009

The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our global
environment by holding this meeting in Berlin, which (by my estimation) is
quite a ways off from the point of "least cumulative distance" that could
have been achieved for at least the mandatory attendees.  All of that
additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor recycling
standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and floods
San Francisco one day, thanks to CO2-accelerated warming.  A shorter-haul
Boeing 737 flight burns about 200 pounds of fuel per passenger.  I can only
imagine that a trans-continental flight, plus a trans-Atlantic leg to
Berlin, is likely burning at least 400 pounds of fuel per passenger.  Return
trip makes that 800 pounds of fuel.  I hope each of the San Francisco-based
attendees feel comfortable that their burning of 800 pounds of jet fuel
(about 114 gallons) in order to attend the conference in Berlin (a
conference that, as far as I can tell, had zero "dial-in" conferencing
options offered) was justified?

I get the impression that there is a corporate culture afoot at the
Wikimedia Foundation that stifles any attempts to optimize meetings and
conferences in ways that might be more economical and environmentally
friendly, with innovations such as Skype and video-teleconferencing.  My
sense is that "interesting" and "exotic" places are chosen instead... San
Francisco, the Netherlands, Berlin, Taipei, Alexandria (Egypt, not
Virginia), Buenos Aires, etc.  I suspect it's part of the corporate culture
to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) out of
everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-speaking
locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.

I know that regarding a recent trade conference that was only 124 miles from
our headquarters, my Fortune 100 employer sent down an edict that only one
of the 3 people from our team of 14 personnel who were interested in going,
could actually attend.  Certainly, this was more of an economic decision
than a "green" decision, but frankly, the two are often hand-in-hand
outcomes.  Is the Wikimedia Foundation very "green" in its governance
practices?  I know that Wikia, Inc. touts its dedication to "Green", but
what about the WMF?

Here's a 100-gallon aquarium:

Imagine it full of jet fuel, then setting a match to it, sucking oxygen out
of the air, and replacing it with carbon-laden molecules.  That's what each
of the North American board members did to enable travel to Berlin to hold
their meeting which seems to have exhausted most of the attendees.

Gregory Kohs

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