“The consequences of climate change are developing into a vast and unparalleled crisis, which is planetary in scale and yet very human in its causes and impacts.. […] We recommend that CASCA makes sustainability an explicit part of its code of ethics and values”
2020-2030 Canadian Astronomy Long Range Plan
Mandate and Terms of Reference
The Sustainability Committee (the “Committee”) was established by the CASCA Board to address concerns over the Society’s sustainability, specifically in relation to both the annual general meeting and our general professional practices. It will exist as an ad-hoc committee until the 2021 Annual General Meeting. The Sustainability Committee will:
- Create and suggest strategies to the CASCA Board that address issues in relation to sustainability.
- Make observations on general professional astronomy practices in relation to sustainability and suggest policies that will improve said practices.
- Review the operation and delivery of the Annual General Meeting of the Society with a view to improving its sustainability.
- Consider possible changes to Society By-Laws that may improve the Society’s sustainability;
- Be ready to respond to special requests from the CASCA Board;
- Report formally via the normal biannual process, with the Board reviewing these reports in their December and May Board meetings.
The Sustainability Committee (SC) was created in ad hoc form in January 2020, at the behest of the Board, in response to Astronomy in a Low-Carbon Future, a white paper for the 2020-2030 Long Range Plan. Its inaugural project was to create a virtual session within the 2020 Annual General Meeting, to demonstrate that remote participation can reduce travel-related greenhouse gas emissions while expanding access to the Society’s premier event. When the in-person AGM was cancelled on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, the SC’s plans were instrumental for its successful reincarnation as an online meeting, and SC members took roles in its Online Organizing Committee.
Since then, the Committte has :
- Sponsored “Canadian Astronomy in a Low-Carbon Future”, by SC member Sharon Morsink, at Astronomy for Future, a special session within European Astronomical Association conference EAS 2020 (29 June 2020)
- Hosted “How Astronomers Can Teach and Talk About Climate Change,” online presentation by AAS Sustainability Committee chair Travis Rector (8 October 2020)
- Introduced itself with the short article “CASCA’s New Sustainability Committee” (Matzner et al, Cassiopeia, Summer 2020).
- Engaged with the Equity & Inclusion Committee (EIC) to produce “I: An Introduction to Environmental Racism” (Lokken et al., Cassiopeia, Autumn 2020)
- Organized, with the EIC, a special session at the 2021 Online AGM (May 2021)