The medium is the message: NCMR travel & community impact

[For the National Committee for Media Reform conference, the "editorial" aspects are my interpretation of their mission intended to inspire their attendees. This blog is intended to be submitted specifically for their site, but also as an example which other conferences can recreate personalized to their mission. If you're running a green conference, feel free to recreate this effort integrating your mission.]

Our conference is a medium, what is our message? What makes a conference democratic, alive and community focused; what makes it corporate?

Think about your travel. Where does it fall on the corporate-news to hand-printed-zine scale? Travel is likely 80% of your environmental impact, and a good chunk of the time you devote to the conference. Are you networking? Funding the oil industry? Would you be willing to ditch your car or flight and take Amtrak if you could join other NCMR attendees and start the conference early? Or get a ride with a carpool? NCMR makes it easy: find other attendees and travel as a community.

I used the Space Share site to find three people to carpool ... spent time together so I feel I made new friends this way. Thank you!!! -- Peggy

And your lodging, is it corporate? Can you share a room? If you're local, can you put low-budget student travelers on your floor? Or high luxury, like a couch? Hosting is a great way to support our community, to make the conference possible for young attendees and help them transform their education and career paths.

This worked extremely well for us - it allowed us to provide no cost housing for four individuals from around the country (Tucson AZ, Pittsburgh PA and Nashville TN). I'm sure it made it possible for some to attend the conference who could not have done so other wise. -- Gene & Linda, NCMR 2003

Once in Boston, there are many ways to support a greener, community-centric economy. Pack your reusable water bottle and then shop local businesses. Look for restaurants taking at least one of the three big green steps: local, organic and veg*n. Be sure to thank your hotel for any steps they take to be green -- speaking up and leaving comments costs you nothing and makes a huge difference; tips here. What do you want the impact of our conference to be on the host community?

Do you have tips for traveling green and supporting community in Boston? Add your tips in the comments.