By The AASLH Climate and Sustainability Affinity Committee

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has a number of climate and sustainability related initiatives in place for the 2023 AASLH Annual Conference in Boise, Idaho next month.

Climate and Sustainability Affinity Breakfast
Everyone is invited and welcome to attend the Climate and Sustainability Affinity Breakfast on Friday, September 8 from 7 – 8:15 a.m.

Kathy Garrett-Cox, chair of the committee, and committee members Alison Bruesehoff, Marian Carpenter, and Kimberly Robinson will be in attendance, along with AASLH staff liaison Eric Morse and AASLH Council member Leo Landis.

Join us to learn about what the committee is doing and how you can access resources and get involved to promote environmental stewardship at your history organization.

Preregistration is required for this breakfast. You can add the breakfast even if you have already registered for the conference by following these instructions.

City of Boise
AASLH is committed to making its conference as environmentally friendly as possible. Our host city has an initiative to become carbon neutral by 2050. You can read more about this plan here.

Boise Centre
For many years, our host location, the Boise Centre, has placed a high level of importance on being an energy efficient and environmentally friendly organization. They strongly believe in sustainability programs that preserve Idaho’s resources and lessen their impact on the environment.

  • They recycle all forms of paper, cardboard, glass bottles, and metal materials.
  • They use washable plates versus paper when possible.
  • They provide filtered water stations in public areas and use water stations rather than individual pitchers of water in all meeting rooms.
  • They reduce paper waste by replacing traditional guest signage inside the facility with digital technology.

Additionally, Boise Centre uses a geothermal heating system and participates in various initiatives including energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation allowing the facility to join the ever-increasing ranks of environmentally responsible convention facilities.

Finally, to reduce food waste and to support members of the community in need, Boise Centre donates food left over from events to the Boise Rescue Mission who distributes it to one of their three shelters in the area.

Other Conference Sustainability Initiatives
AASLH is using a new type of name badge this year that is made from recycled stock and provides a central drop-off place near the Registration Desk to recycle them after the conference.

AASLH asks attendees to use the Conference App in place of the printed program. Information about how to download and use the app will be emailed to attendees. Using the app will reduce printing costs and carbon emissions.

AASLH has eliminated paper evaluation forms for conference sessions. Attendees are encouraged to share information about individual sessions in the post-conference survey emailed after the events.

Tracking and Reducing Travel Emissions
The Climate and Sustainability Affinity Committee encourages attendees to track and reduce their carbon emissions and offset what they cannot eliminate.

You can reduce emissions by sharing travel with others through carpooling, taking AMTRAK, or renting an electric or hybrid vehicle.

If you rent an electric vehicle, you can use ChargeHub or the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations map maintained by the City of Boise to find local charging stations.

Conservation International’s individual calculator can help you calculate emissions for a trip to Boise. You can buy the offset right there.

American Airlines has partnered with Cool Effect to help you offset the carbon emissions of your flight to Boise. Cool Effect is a nonprofit that funds carbon reduction projects around the world.

You can use FlyGRN to compare and book flights, and the website will offset your flight’s carbon emissions for free. Offset funds are used to plant trees or fund solar cooking projects.

While offsetting carbon emissions rather than eliminating them is controversial, these choices are amongst the most viable at present.

Thank you for considering our environmental impact when traveling to and participating in the Annual Conference. If you have additional suggestions to reduce the carbon footprint of the conference and make it more sustainable, please contact Eric Morse at

Editor’s Note: The pre-registration deadline for the conference is Friday, August 18. AASLH members receive the greatest discount. After this date, registration rates increase to full prices and registration will only be available in Boise.