SIGGreen Statement on Environmental Change

August 3, 2012 Version

At the June 2012 Pre-ECIS Workshop, participants discussed how to improve the SIGGreen
Statement on Environmental Change.
Following those suggestions, the statement has been condensed to fit on one page.
The language has been modified to provide
specific detail as to how IS professionals can contribute to environmental sustainability.

SIGGreen Statement Archives

The SIGGreen Executive now presents the Statement from SIGGreen

Dec. 2011 vote results:
motion passes
36 yes (90%), 3 no (8%), 1 abstain (2%)

Posted 12/5/11, to be voted on by SIGGreen members:

Some Suggestions

From the ECIS2012 Workshop:

Put a positive message at the beginning and shorten to one page

Some comments on the Statement from Bill Hefley:

In concept, I support the Statement. As written, I found several flaws that led me not to support it. They are not conceptual, but in the writing. However, these put our draft into areas where I do not feel it could be supported by the Society, or espouse specific biases. I saw many of these kinds of issues arise through the years we worked on reviewing and commenting on ISO 26000, as I was a member of the US TAG on this important standard.

Examples of these issues include:

1) Take an active role to support formulation of national and international policy on environmental change;
As a not-for-profit association, there may be limits on what the society can do to lobby and set policy. Additionally, while I applaud sound environmental policy, if we take any role about policy, our first emphasis should be on informatics (IS).

2) Provide leadership in creating environmentally sensitive academic societies;

From Chadi Aoun:

1) I thought that the opening statement is too categorical, and somewhat overstates the climate science certainty. While the warming of climatic systems is unequivocal, the proposition that the interrelation between human and earth systems is triggering anthropogenic drivers leading to global warming is 'very likely' - with over 90% confidence according to the IPCC 4AR. Given the complexity of climatic systems and their drivers a categorical scientific assertion is yet to be achieved. This does not mean that no action is required but rather presents a very strong impetus for action on both adaptation and mitigation measures. Consequently, I think it would be more prudent to restate the opening statement to such effect: "The Association for Information Systems (AIS) accepts the consensus scientific opinion that <<warming of climatic systems is unequivocal>> leading to harmful and detrimental <<consequences>>, and that <<climatic>> change is <<very likely>> caused by human activity."

2) The use of the term 'environmental change' throughout the document is probably too generic. One of the poor arguments that skeptics often propose relates to weather systems which are volatile (you may have heard this one before "it does make you wonder sometimes, doesn’t it, how theoretical statisticians in the middle of the largest snowstorm in New York City’s history could stand there and say, ‘I don’t care what it’s doing. It’s going to get very hot soon.’"), but the main problem is with the relatively more consistent climate systems, which also leads to an increased volatility in weather systems. I think changing references from 'environmental change' to 'climate change' would be more specific in identifying the problem and bypassing such arguments.

From Steve Elliot: revisions here


Generally, the editing replaces ‘problems requiring resolution’ with ‘challenges needing to be addressed’ since the problems may be global and resolution may take generations so our expectations should be achievable. National and international policy is unlikely to be formulated by AIS although we can and should support those processes. AIS members should be encouraged to take action as encouragement is more likely to produce positive outcomes. Transdisciplinary is suggested rather than multidisciplinary (more than one) or interdisciplinary (several integrated), in that it is across and beyond academic disciplines, ie has elements of policy, practice and society.

Earlier drafts

A significant aim of this group is to operate in ways that are environmentally responsible and in doing so build up a body of knowledge and expertise on how Information Systems can further this aim. To this end SIGGreen is drafting a statement to the AIS on the importance of Green IS. Here are a draft and a revised version of this statement for discsussion.

The statement reflects the mission of SIGGreen which is to bring together Information Systems researchers, educators, journal editors, and association leaders to create initiatives that demonstrate ways to leverage the transformative power of information technology to create an ecologically sustainable society.