discussion / Climate Change  / 7 June 2023

What are the smallest changes you can make right now to make your work more sustainable?

Hi Wildlabbers!

I hope you've all taken the chance to read our new series Sustained Effort - if you haven't yet, take some time to skim through it and find some case studies that relate to sustainability in your own conservation tech work!

A recurring theme throughout the series is the idea of challenging ourselves to make our work 10% more sustainable through little steps. So in this thread, let's brainstorm the small, practical changes we could make to be 10% better.

So wildlabbers, what are the SMALLEST things you could change or do differently in your own work right now that would make your projects more sustainable? If 10% seems intimidating, start even smaller - even if it just means switching to a different type of batteries or recycling one piece of old equipment. Every little bit counts!

Share your ideas here, and if you make real changes to your work, please post and let us see the results!!



Robin Sandfort
@capreolus  | he/him
Capreolus e.U.
wildlife biologist with capreolus.at
WILDLABS Event Speaker
Variety Hour Regular
Involvement level 2
Inventory Beta Tester
Reactor level 3

Hi Ellie,

thanks for this great series! 

This is so important and everybody has to face this challenges. I strongly agree with @Rob_Appleby 

reusing "old" stuff first. Not only old but damaged ones. Our community goes through lots of audiomoth every year. Water damage 

often means buying new audiomoth and dicarding the old ones. Trying to rescue the boards by cleaning them and 

also applying conformal coating will reduce the risk of future damage. We should ask @OpenAcousticDevices if it is possible 

to apply the conformal coating directly in factory. This would make the boards much more robust and our projects more sustainable.

Greetings from the Austrian forest,


Thomas Gray
Woods Hole Group
Argos satellite system manager for North America
WILDLABS Research Participant
Commenter level 2
Conversation starter level 1

Looking for ideas on how to approach this...

Like most businesses who attend and exhibit at conferences, we have literature we like to hand out. Most of the literature that I've taken to conferences over the last decade or two ends up right back in the office collecting dust in the corner, so not only are we wasting paper and resources printing the literature, but we're wasting effort and resources either lugging it along or it's adding weight to the shipping containers/cases/etc. 

Over the last few years (pre-COVID), I started to carry less and less because let's face it, no on likes to drag along papers/brochures/trifolds for the week. It's stupid and not sustainable. I am leaning towards converting printed paper to QR codes as it's more practical, more efficient, and I suspect well received. 

What I am wondering is - how to display this in a exhibitor setting? 

The "nice" thing of printed literature is that it not only looks 'pretty' but it also takes up space. When you have an 8ft x 8ft booth with one or two long tables, taking up space is also important. I also don't want the booth to look devoid of anything...gives off "fly by night salesman" vibes, lol, that I'd also like to avoid. 

Thoughts / Comments / Opinions / Suggestions are welcome :) 

Rob Appleby
@Rob_Appleby  | He/him
Wild Spy
Whilst I love everything about WILDLABS and the conservation tech community I am mostly here for the badges!!
WILDLABS Research Participant
Variety Hour Regular
Commenter level 4
Conversation starter level 3

Another interesting question @ThomasGray_Argos and a problem I've had also. I guess the obvious solution is to make everything digital, using screens at the booth and online links and QR codes etc. so people can access info via their phones. On the 'screens' front, it could also be a good use of older/second-hand iPads and tablets rather than them going to landfill. Some of the newer e-ink screens, which use a lot less power than conventional screens, are also getting really fancy, with multiple colours etc. It would mean carrying a bunch of screens around of course...If weight and screen size is an issue (e.g. travelling on planes etc.,) maybe one or two, ultra thin display panels would do the job, although cost might become an issue then. There are even rollable screens now that you might have seen. I'd be interested to have more discussion on this and hear what other people think too.



Something often overlooked (in the developed world, at least) is electrical devices being left on unnecessarily.  e.g. computers left on permanently, computer displays that aren't correctly configured to turn off after a period of inactivity, etc.  Not to mention lights.

In the field you can extend that to such simple things as vehicles being left on and idling.  Modern vehicles experience no meaningful wear from [re]starts, and it usually won't kill anyone to sit with the A/C off for a little while. 🙂