The number of people who have the means to attend these confluences are excruciatingly small compared to the number of educators in the world. It can sure look like a prestigious club. When you are not in it.
Sometimes conferences are something that is a part of the hustle.
Let me tell you what it’s like being self-employed. Just getting pay is a second full time job. Every small to medium sized contract I have comes with hours submitting paperwork, following up with HR departments, asking if they got the paperwork, and trying not too much to nag your client to check up on getting that payment. Or just shrugging and starting work in hopes of getting paid maybe within weeks of doing the work.
In the end, what is needed is to stop and consider the Academic Conference Industrial Complex as a whole, not just focus on global warming.
Personally speaking, this discussion of the wider impact and implication of conferences has me thinking about a piece I wrote a few years ago thinking about the hidden professional development made possible by conferences, especially as conferences go online because of things such as coronavirus:
Google Cloud Next conference transforming into a 100% online event, due to #Coronavirus risk.
— Ben Collins (@benlcollins) March 2, 2020