There has been no escaping it over the past couple of days. Twitter was full of it. I so much wanted to be there. Yet, writing this safely from home, I’m so glad that I’m not there now. This year’s annual British Ecological Society meeting. I love them. Don’t get me wrong. I just don’t understand how organizing events of that size, in the current tsunami of covid cases – including a variant that seems to omit immunization in double-vaccinated people, while most of the population is not triple-immunized – is responsible. Still, it’s the people’s free choice to be there. Fine. I chose not to.
I seriously considered submitting an abstract for a talk, and going there, when the submissions opened earlier this year. Everything seemed a bit better then, but I already had the feeling that this winter wasn’t going to be friendly on us. I considered it, albeit it was of short duration. What I disliked about the conference organization this year was that even though I could pay to watch talks online, there was no way to present a talk online. It was clear that there would not be a game plan if local travel advice would change. If you are from the UK and could live with the risk posed by high case numbers, you were probably going to be fine. If you were from elsewhere, and wished to avoid the risk, I guess you were just unlucky. I personally was not willing to risk spending the Christmas holidays in Liverpool quarantine, although it must be great fun. I decided early that I would spend my time on other things. Maybe next year.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy seeing all the tweets pass by with short summaries of the in-presence talks. I do envy all of you. I miss conferences. Tweets… It’s not the same as being there, but it’s at least something. It gives me a bit of a conference vibe. So thanks, I guess, to all of you that decided to go this year, and share the experience with the rest of us via Twitter. There’s no escaping EAB2021 this week, but I guess there are worse things in the world.
I just hope for the sake of everyone present that there will not be a #EAB2021omicron next week… Stay healthy!