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Environmental sustainability and scientific publishing: EASE manifesto

Published: 19 October 2021

Abstract: Human impacts on the Earth have become so pervasive as to drive global scale changes leading some scientists to propose a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. A name which reflects the huge and sweeping changes human activities have caused to the Earth. Furthermore, these rapidly expanding and accelerating activities threaten to push aspects of the Earth system beyond  the relatively stable and safe space in which the entirety of human history occurred, the Holocene. This safe operating space is characterised by a set of nine planetary boundaries1 within which humanity should be able to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. These include: climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows and freshwater use. Crossing these boundaries risks generating large-scale, rapid or irreversible environmental changes. Reducing the environmental impact of our activities in order to keep within a safe operating space for humanity and the linked goal of providing a basic social foundation for everyone requires global actions. Every individual, company, institution and organisation, whether large or small, public or private, needs to contribute – ‘think global, act local’. Scientific publishing as a key player in discussing and disseminating research on climate heating and the biodiversity crisis has transformed from print to digital journals and e-books over recent decades but we must do more. The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an international community of individuals and associations engaged in science communication and editing. As such, EASE can help and support its members to engage in different ways to achieve and communicate efforts to reduce our environmental footprints for example by becoming carbon neutral (or even carbon negative) irrespective of the type of organisation they work in. Below are some suggestions for how editors can take steps to reduce their environmental footprint in their own particular circumstances and thereby contribute to the overall effort to reduce environmental damages. Not all suggestions will be relevant to everyone and structural or organisational change will have a greater impact than individual actions, but together we can make a difference.
Keywords: EASE / Scientific publishing / structural / organisation / impact / changes / reduce our environmental

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