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Practice What You Preach

July 28, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 30

The American Chemical Society publishes policy statements promoting sustainability and encouraging reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. C&EN Acting Editor-in-Chief Rudy Baum has written persuasively and repeatedly on these topics. If ACS is truly committed to these principles, why does it continue to publish print-format journals and other publications?

Moving to an exclusively digital format would preserve natural resources and significantly reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, why does ACS not better facilitate virtual attendance at its regional and national meetings? I suspect the response to these questions would be that many ACS members prefer printed publications and going to meetings in person.

Forcing a digital format might result in fewer journal subscriptions. Such changes may contribute to a reduction in society membership. Jobs would be lost. Such justifications, which are largely financial, are not so different from those given by government officials who resist tighter control of greenhouse gas emissions. They also are concerned about adverse economic effects, loss of jobs, and the future prominence of their organizations.

Perhaps Baum and others representing ACS should moderate their criticism of politicians for inaction until ACS is ready to act on, rather than just talk about, these issues.

Chris Erickson
Willard, Utah


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