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Boston 2011

AAS Sustainability Committee Special Session
Sustainability and Astronomy: "Green" Professional Action and Public Outreach

Tuesday, 24 May 2011, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA



Session Description

Astronomers use more energy than the average citizen, and have more potential educational influence than the average citizen as well. This session will serve as a presentation and discussion forum about why and how we should take steps to reduce our profession's environmental impact -- primarily but not exclusively greenhouse gas emissions -- as well as to enhance and increase our efforts to educate the public about the science of planetary atmospheres, global energy budgets, and climate change. The format will include informal presentations by astronomers showing what they're already doing to reduce energy usage in their work; discussion of public education strategies and priorities; and a panel discussion with climate experts and federal funding agency representatives. This session represents a continuing effort by the AAS to foster active discussion in the community regarding climate change and other environmental issues that touch on our profession.


Program and Presentations

Download the program, and slides from the presentations, in PDF, from the files section below.

4:00pm: Informal meet-and-greet, featuring (we hope) local, sustainably produced snacks 

4:30pm: James Lowenthal: brief summary of the CoS and its charge, activity, membership, and recommendations to Council 
4:40pm: Prof. Rob DeConto, Climate System Research Center, UMass Amherst: update from an expert on the latest climate modeling 
4:55pm: Jean Sideris, Outreach Coordinator, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists: Climate policy and outreach and how astronomers can affect them 
5:10pm: Dr. Kartik Sheth, National Radio Astronomy Observatory 
5:25pm: Open discussion, Q+A with audience and panelists 


Presentation material is available for responsible, educational and non-profit use, with proper credit to the author.

Meeting Report

More than 50 people attended this session, including AAS President Debra Elmegreen, NSF Director of AST Jim Ulvestad and NSF AST/EXC Program Director Tom Statler. The three mini-presentations were very lively and engaging, as was the Q&A session afterwards. The "green snacks" were provided by the hotel catering contractors, and consisted of a large bowl of fresh hummus -- claimed to be made from locally-grown ingredients -- and gourmet crackers. The hotel itself appears on the list of Boston "green" hotels as Energy Star, Green Key, and Green Seal. Obviously the convention industry has caught on to the importance of their business going green; now it's up to us to make sure we take advantage of green opportunities and lobby for more.

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Phil Marshall,
Sep 27, 2012, 2:10 AM
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Phil Marshall,
Sep 27, 2012, 2:06 AM
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