Want to be more inclusive? not everyone is like me and drinks beer

A few years ago, I would not have written these words. I was young and I did not realize that not everyone is like me and the people I know well.

I well remember my first time at AGU conference in San Francisco in 2006, it was like in this video. 

It was a few weeks after my PhD defense and I was looking for a post-doc, for me it was the norm.

Years go on, conferences too, and still the same (see the photograph of myself).

Olivier Pourret drinking a beer and having a discussion with a colleague at Davos Goldschmidt conference 2009 (photograph from EAG).

But life makes me realize that not everybody is lucky enough to be… in good health, included in a group… and that we are all different and we have to be different.

Last Autumn I joined both GS and EAG DEI committees, and started to realize at what point simple things like beer at conferences may exclude many of us.

In july 2020 the Geological Society of America (GSA) announced that alcohol is now prohibited at all poster and oral sessions during its meetings and events. Their announcement provides reasons for this change that are sensitive to the differing needs and cultures of all people (among delegates, encompassing students, and potential organizers) thereby demonstrating how this approach is advantageous to inclusion and assured respectful behaviours. Plus, the GSA acknowledges how this decision benefits the image of our professional / learning environments and cultures so as to widen the attractiveness of – at minimum – geochemistry and wider-geoscience. Given this move by GSA related to the society’s duty of care for all, what understanding and evidence should we raise to assist more societies move in this direction?

Yesterday, I tweeted on the 2-year old blog post form AGU, see the comments.

Things are changing, albeit slowly, but surely.

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