›AAS 2010 Splinter Meeting, Energy, the Environment and Astronomy: Education and Action
The specter of global climate change is arguably the most pressing scientific, social and ethical issue of our time. Although the relatively small field of astronomy represents only a fraction of the total human carbon emissions, astronomers have a great potential, and therefore perhaps a great responsibility, to educate themselves and the public on this issue. In addition, the average per capita carbon emissions of professional astronomers are not small, and our profession can do much to reduce its energy consumption and maximize the cost-benefit ratio of our work. At the January AAS meeting, we are organizing a half-day splinter meeting titled “Energy, the Environment and Astronomy: Education and Action". The focus will be on energy conservation and education as it relates to professional astronomy. Education focuses on informing ourselves, our students and the general public with which we interact, about the real issues, the necessary actions, and the likely consequences of various energy consumption and carbon emission scenarios. Action focuses on effective energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives within professional astronomy. Air travel, solar energy at ground-based observatories, and Gemini's “Green Initiative” are among the topics that will be discussed. The splinter meeting will be open to all and will include expert speakers from outside astronomy, contributed talks by astronomers, and a discussion session.