AAS Sustainability Committee Carbon Offset Program Update
By Robert Blum
The AAS Sustainability Committee is pleased to provide the following update on the status of the new AAS initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of the Society associated with travel to its annual meetings. In advance of the January 2017 meeting in Grapevine, Texas, the committee recommended that the Society adopt a program where meeting attendees could volunteer to contribute a small fee to offset their personal carbon footprint associated with travel to the meeting, and the Society agreed.
Forty members generously chose the carbon offset credit option during registration and $1,350 was collected. This is a great start and the committee sincerely thanks those that contributed. We believe their leadership will encourage more members to contribute in the months and years ahead as this program is developed.
The committee is currently studying the best long term options for investment in carbon impact reduction. After several meeting cycles, we expect to contribute to a verified carbon offset program or programs and/or contribute directly to green energy infrastructure or conservation (e.g., solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources, building energy efficiency, etc.) in/for institutions connected directly to the AAS and its members. If you have an idea for such an energy infrastructure project that AAS sustainability contributions could help leverage, please contact the Sustainability Committee. Suggestions should be restricted to projects for institutions with direct links to the AAS community (e.g., federal and non-federal observatories or astronomy research centers). Suggestions for projects that would leverage the AAS contribution to do more (e.g., matched or multiplied contributions) are especially encouraged.