A.A.R. Setting Aside a Scholarly Get-Together, for the Planet’s Sake

If the bioethicist Laurie Zoloth, the president of the American Academy of Religion, has her way, she’ll be remembered as the woman who canceled her organization’s conference, which every year attracts a city’s worth of religion scholars.

Two weeks ago, at her organization’s gathering, which is held jointly with the Society for Biblical Literature and this year drew 9,900 scholars, Dr. Zoloth used her presidential address to call on her colleagues to plan a sabbatical year, a year in which they would cancel their conference. In her vision, they would all refrain from flying across the country, saving money and carbon. It could be a year, Dr. Zoloth argued, in which they would sacrifice each other’s company for the sake of the environment, and instead would turn toward their neighborhoods and hometowns.

“We could create an A.A.R. Sabbatical Year,” she told the crowd in a ballroom at the San Diego Convention Center. “We could choose to not meet at a huge annual meeting in which we take over a city. Every year, each participant going to the meeting uses a quantum of carbon that is more than considerable. Air travel, staying in hotels, all of this creates a way of living on the earth that is carbon intensive. It could be otherwise.”

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One comment on “A.A.R. Setting Aside a Scholarly Get-Together, for the Planet’s Sake

  1. David Keller says:

    This reminds me of the time I was on the board of a local soup kitchen and our leftie members insisted that our yearly banquet serve soup at the kitchen rather than having a meeting at a meeting room with a caterer. It sounds really good, maybe even compassionate, but it was a total waste and ended reducing our fund raising because the room couldn’t accommodate the normal number of people who came. Our “compassion” actually hurt the recipients of our compassion. Not to mention the fact that we ate soup instaed of hotel rubber chicken accomplished nothing.