Some suggested that I should underpin our campaign with facts. This would convince more academics to donate, they argued. For example, I should write about Serbian politics or Hungarian policies undermining people’s rights. Something on the Russian invasion and what it means to Ukrainian scholars. I could write about heat and climate change, about how much CO2 emissions we save when not flying.
Moreover, I could blog about the facts that make people donate, why it’s stupid to set too small goals and crazy to set too large ones. People are most likely to reach their goals, research suggests, when they set challenging but attainable goals. Some reference here. Another reference: You reach more people on Twitter when using negative or extreme language, and you get many more people when using extremely negative language. Finally, any movement (I doubt our project is a movement, except for what we do while cycling) needs to reach a tipping point, a critical mass, when dynamics do the job for you.
These are great ideas and I’m amazed but how much science will be cycling with us to Athens. If you ask scientists to give money, they give knowledge. However, there are two reasons why I will not discuss war, European politics, climate-friendly traveling or crowdfunding action during our trip.
First, I’ll be writing these posts from a tent. It will be 10pm at night, either too cold or too hot (i.e., a tent), little battery and even less personal energy. For any quick search on google scholar I could do, I will find three people on Twitter who either now better or have the capacities to dig deeper. Most of the people reading my Tweets and posts are smart enough to google about war, Europe, climate change, crowdfunding. You could even read a book! I’m happy learn more about your readings as soon as my phone is charged again.
Second, I believe that the experiences we can share are stronger than the facts I can cite. This is not a research project (at least not the type of research that I usually do) but an attempt to bring to our attention to what most of us already know: We know about the struggles Ukrainian (scholars) have right now, we know why it’s terrible to restrict minority rights even more, we know climate change, we know…
What we’re often lacking, I believe, is the strength to follow this knowledge and turn it into action: support colleagues and people in need, support and appreciate Europe, fly less, you name it. By sharing pictures of happy cyclists, amazing food, beautiful nature, I hope, we can inspire to bring our knowledge into action. Thus, I’ll discuss our experiences in this blog but please read as many facts as you can elsewhere. We’ll start in 2 days.