AIBS and Our Sustainable Future
For over 65 years, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has been fostering and incubating scientific ideas about how society can meet its current needs without limiting opportunity and quality of life for future generations. AIBS's leadership, past and present, have been at the forefront of conversations that engage scientific community in exploring ways in which biological research can identify environmental challenges and inform responsible solutions that consider economic and societal needs.
A sustainable future requires a workforce able to create and implement practices and processes that optimize natural resource use and management, as well as a society informed about the ethics and impacts of human activity. AIBS serves as a forum for the development of the science of sustainability and is engaged in increasing its awareness and understanding among students, scientists, and the general public.
SCIENTIFIC PEER ADVISORY AND REVIEW SERVICES
AIBS is always exploring innovative applications of technology that can help to reduce the environmental footprint associated with conducting science. AIBS's Scientific Peer and Advisory Review Services (SPARS), recognizing the financial and environmental benefits of virtual meetings, works with its clients to determine when holding virtual peer review is beneficial. In fact, AIBS staff members are among the first to actively evaluate how virtual meetings may impact peer-review of grant applications and published the results of their research in August 2013: Teleconference versus Face-to-Face Scientific Peer Review of Grant Application: Effects on Review Outcomes.
AIBS's print and online publications provide a venue for advancing integrated biological knowledge to inform decisions about topics related to sustainability for both the scientific community and the general public.
BioScience, AIBS's monthly peer-reviewed journal, welcomes submissions that share viewpoints, provide overviews of the research, and highlight professional concerns of those engaged in discovering scientific answers to sustainability questions. Some of the seminal articles that AIBS has published over the years include the following:
- The Natural Flow Regime, N. LeRoy Poff, J. David Allan, Mark B. Bain, James R. Karr, Karen L. Prestegaard, Brian D. Richter, Richard E. Sparks, Julie C. Stromberg. BioScience, Vol. 47, No. 11 (Dec., 1997), pp. 769-78
- Quantifying Threats to Imperiled Species in the United States, David S. Wilcove, David Rothstein, Jason Dubow, Ali Phillips, Elizabeth Losos. BioScience, Vol. 48, No. 8 (Aug., 1998), pp. 607-615
- How Ecosystems Respond to Stress, David J. Rapport, Walter G. Whitford. BioScience, Vol. 49, No. 3 (March 1999), pp. 193-203
- Environmental and Economic Costs of Nonindigenous Species in the United States, David Pimentel, Lori Lach, Rodolfo Zuniga, Doug Morrison. BioScience, Vol. 50, No. 1 (January 2000), pp. 53-65
- Acidic Deposition in the Northeastern United States: Sources and Inputs, Ecosystem Effects, and Management Strategies, Charles T. Driscoll, Gregory B. Lawrence, Arthur J. Bulger, Thomas J. Butler, Christopher S. Cronan, Christopher Eagar, Kathleen F. Lambert, Gene E. Likens, John L. Stoddard, Kathleen C. Weathers. BioScience, Vol. 51, No. 3 (March 2001), pp. 180-198
- Proximate Causes and Underlying Driving Forces of Tropical Deforestation, Helmut J. Geist, Eric F. Lambin. BioScience, Vol. 52, No. 2 (February 2002), pp. 143-150
- The Nitrogen Cascade, James N. Galloway, John D. Aber, Jan Willen Erisman, Sybil P. Seitzinger, Robert W. Howarth, Ellis B. Cowling, B. Jack Cosby. BioScience, Vol. 53, No. 4 (April 2003), pp. 341-356
- Progressive Nitrogen Limitation of Ecosystem Responses to Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, Yiqi Luo, Bo Su, William S. Currie, Jeffrey S. Dukes, Adrien Finzi, Ueli Hartwig, Bruce Hungate, Ross E. McMurtrie, Ram Oren, William J. Parton, Diane E. Pataki, M. Rebecca Shaw, Donald R. Zak, Christopher B. Field. BioScience, Vol. 54, No. 8 (August 2004), pp. 731-739
- Environmental, Energetic, and Economic Comparisons of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems, David Pimentel, Paul Hepperly, James Hanson, David Douds, Rita Seidel. BioScience, Vol. 55, No. 7 (July 2005), pp. 573-582
- Linking Ecology and Economics for Ecosystem Management, Stephen Farber, Robert Costanza, Daniel L. Childers, Jon Erickson, Katherine Gross, Morgan Grove, Charles S. Hopkinson, James Kahn, Stephanie Pincetl, Austin Troy, Paige Warren, Matthew Wilson. BioScience, Vol. 56, No. 2 (February 2006), pp. 121-133
- Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity, Daniel B. Botkin, Henrik Saxe, Miguel B. Araujo, Richard Betts, Richard H. W. Bradshaw, Tomas Cedhagen, Peter Chesson, Terry P. Dawson, Julie R. Etterson, Daniel P. Faith, Simon Ferrier, Antoine Guisan, Anja Skjoldborg Hansen, David W. Hilbert, Craig Loehle, Chris Margules, Mark New, Matthew J. Sobel, David R. B. Stockwell. BioScience, Vol. 57, No. 3 (March 2007), pp. 227-236
ActionBioscience.org is AIBS's non-commercial, educational web site created to promote bioscience literacy by examining issues that will:
- motivate the public to play an active role in bioscience education
- show how developments in bioscience research can affect everyone
- promote an understanding of biogeography and the biodiversity of life
- engage the public to reflect on the relationship between human activity and the natural course of evolution
- promote global ecological awareness
- advance formal and informal bioscience education
- encourage students to pursue studies in the biosciences
AIBS's public policy, education and public programs provide policymakers, the public and educators with authoritative, vetted information from the professional community about sustainability science.
Through our Public Policy Office, we advocate for science policy that will provide funding that contributes to sustainability science and education. We also conduct science briefings that provide policymakers with timely information about sustainability related science issues.
We support the public understanding of biology through COPUS, a grassroots network of individuals committed to improving science understanding and appreciation.
We work through our Education Programs to improve undergraduate biology teaching and learning. We collaborate through those projects to implement national-level recommendations identified by experts in the field and which seek to increase students' understanding of the relationship between science and society (e.g. Vision and Change, A New Biology for the 21st Century, and Sustainability Improves Student Learning).
AIBS continually seeks ways to minimize its impact on the environment while maintaining program quality.
- Encouraging teleworking: AIBS has a strong telework policy and received grants from Telework!VA to increase the number of staff who work from home rather than commute to our offices. This reduces the carbon footprint of our offices, the number of people on an overburdened transit system, and the number of vehicles on crowded roadways in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
- Utilizing recycled products: Our hardcopies of BioScience are printed on 50# Flo gloss paper. Flo sheets feature FSC® and SFI® Chain of Custody certifications, is Lacey Act compliant, and 100% of the electricity used to manufacture Flo sheets is generated with Green-e® certified renewable energy. As an eco-paper, 10% of the fiber in Flo sheets is derived from Post Consumer Waste (PCW). Flo web features SFI® Chain of Custody certification ensuring that the fiber is sourced from responsibly managed forests and is Lacey Act compliant. For other printed materials, AIBS is committed to using eco-friendly materials.
- Virtual meetings: Although AIBS values face-to-face interactions, in recent years it has been able to conduct more of its business virtually. Remote participation options are available for meetings of staff, Board of Directors, and members of the AIBS Council of Representatives.