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A photo of the 2018 AAA Executive Board.
A photo of the 2018 AAA Executive Board.

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Greening the Meeting - What You Can Do

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A drawing of a lightbulb with a small sapling tree drawn inside it. The lightbulb is lit up against a green background with text “Go Green” underneath. Meetings and conferences may energize and renew our scholarship but they also leave a significant carbon footprint. Our travel choices, hotel use, and individual actions can all take part in reducing the environmental impact of our Association’s meetings. The Anthropology and the Environment section offered the following guidelines and tips to keep in mind:


  1. Flight offsets
    • Consider purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions produced during your travel to the AAA. Non-profit organizations, like, give you an opportunity to give back to the environment through reforestation efforts, energy efficiency education, and sustainability projects. Look closely, however, as not all carbon offset programs are created equally. As anthropologist Melissa Checker has recently observed, if poorly designed, these programs can potentially do more harm than good. Click here to read more about airline carbon offset programs available to travelers.

  2. Local transportation options/walking maps
    • The AAA Annual Meeting website will include information about local transportation, downloadable maps, and links to any city-based transportation options available. Sections are encouraged to post similar content for their own meetings. 

  3. Airport carpooling
    • The AAA website will provide a list of local shuttle services and links to public transportation to/from the airport.

Once you have arrived at the conference, consider these greening options:

  1. Linen services
    • Cancel daily hotel linen service whenever possible

  2. Cleaning Products
    • Bring your own toiletry products (shampoo, soap, etc.)
    • If you use hotel amenities, donate what you don’t use (soap, bottles, etc.) to charitable organizations or recycle them.

  3. Recycling
    • Look for the hotel's visible signage instructing delegates as to what is and is not recyclable (and if you don't see signage or receptacles, tell the hotel these resources are important to you).
    • Look for recycle bins on each floor near the elevators (again, if you don’t see them, request them from the hotel).
    • Carry your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug rather than using any of the plastic bottles or paper cups offered through the hotel.

  4. Utilize paperless check-in, checkout, and billing procedures to minimize use of paper.

  5. Reduce your electricity and water use in rooms.

Communication and publications:

  1. Communications regarding the meetings from AAA
    • Opt out of the print Anthropology News by checking off "save a tree" option when you renew your membership (or by emailing and requesting an opt-out of AN or AA).

  2. Printing
    • Share a print program with a friend and use the "Green Registration" category when registering for the AAA Meeting to opt out of receiving a paper copy of the conference program.
    • Browse one of the general use conference programs available at the registration desk.

  3. Bring fewer brochures
    • Use word of mouth, listserves, section columns in Anthropology News, and section email blast options to tell your sections about activities, instead of bringing paper announcements

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