Growing a Greener Conference

Kermit the Frog was right: It's not easy being green! Just when you pat yourself on the back for making a change that seems to help the environment, you find out your choice has an unseen impact that seems to cancel it out. Planning a greener conference is a bit like that, too balancing human needs with carbon counts, juggling convenience and cost. We are thinking creatively about how we can all take on this challenge together, and we've developed a few guiding principles (with the assistance of our Green Chairman, Brad Kik of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design) to help with our decision-making: focus on enjoyment over sacrifice (isn't it nicer to eat off a real plate?), celebrate the local, and encourage participation.

We are honored to have your partnership with Acorns of Hope and always feel truly blessed to find fellow environmentalist whose enthusiasm and similar desires are to actively become more eco-friendly, especially in regards to Louisiana’s desperate coastal conditions. Acorns of Hope
How You Can Help

Carbon Offsets
While we are making efforts to reduce the impact of the conference, we can also offset its impact by supporting organizations that work for a cleaner environment. The Alliance is partnering with Acorns of Hope, a New Orleans-based nonprofit dedicated to reforesting the south-central and coastal lands of Louisiana. We estimate conference travel and hotels will produce about 100 tons of carbon emissions, which can be offset by the planting of 100 trees
equal to a $2,500 donation ($25 per tree) to Acorns of Hope (read more about Acorns of Hope at left and below). We'll be selling reusable water bottles at the conference, with the sales going toward this donation goal, and will collect additional contributions at the conference. Want to calculate your own carbon footprint? Check out and enter your conference flight/car and hotel information.

You'll see much less food packaging at this year's conference, and one thing you won't find are individual water bottles. Instead we will provide water coolers which you can use to fill your reusable bottles. Bring your own bottle from home (a multi-purpose travel mug will be great for water and coffee!), or buy one at the conference for $5
the money will go toward Acorns of Hope.

We will provide recycling and compost containers, and hope you'll help us by sorting your items before they go in the trash.


I grew up in New Orleans and when I came home after the storm, the thing that struck me hardest was the amount of materials everywhere, on lawns, piled up on neutral grounds, any empty lot became a dump site, as well as people's front lawns turning into a 12' tall trash site. I created this piece to use some of these beautiful, old pieces of wood, wood that was in some cases over a hundred years old. It housed many generations of New Orleanians, its vibrant color became a benchmark of New Orleans architecture, and I wanted to preserve that history as well as engage the community to rethink what we were doing with our 'garbage' materials. Eric Dallimore Untitled #6209
Our Green Wish List

We've developed our green wish list for the conference, and hope you'll join us in making these efforts a success. Some of these items may cost a little more (though we won't pass the costs on to attendees), and some will require more work on the part of staff and volunteers. But we think it's worth it!

Offset Our Carbon Emissions
With an estimated 100 tons of carbon emissions from conference travel and hotels, our goal is to raise $2,500 for Acorns of Hope, in order to plant 100 trees.
Bob Thibodeaux began Acorns of Hope in 2007 after the devastation of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, to reforest the south-central and coastal lands of Louisiana. Acorns of Hope has committed to planting 10,000 live oaks, which are propagated in harsh prairie soils, allowing the trees to experience the movement of the wind without irrigation or fertilization which better prepares them for transplanting to similarly harsh conditions. The Live Oak corridor will line the inland prairie lands and ridges along the coast.

Offer Ways to Connect with the Local Environment
Whether walking through the Arts & Warehouse District around the hotel and Louisiana ArtWorks, observing the changing ecology during the wetlands tour, hearing from local chefs about finding solace in the earth's bounty, or talking with artists who have reconnected to the New Orleans landscape, we hope to build rich connections to the city and its sense of place.

Provide Local Food and Drink
New Orleans cuisine offers a dazzling array of local flavors, and we'll be working with caterers that buy organic ingredients from local farmers and fishers, to offer conference attendees fresh food that truly celebrates New Orleans.

Reduce Packaging
We will offer alternatives to traditional food packaging: reusable water bottles, large containers of juice and tea rather than individual bottles and cans, buffet-style meals rather than individual box lunches. We are also exploring options for reusable, non-disposable plates, cups, and flatware. Not only will these changes reduce our conference waste, they will also offer some of the homey comforts that foster community, like wrapping your hands around a hot mug of coffee, passing hearty salads around the table, and toasting to new and old friends with an actual glass!

Better Management of Conference Materials
You may have already seen our conference brochure, printed with soy inks on 100% recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. We will also be using green alternatives to traditional name tags and binders. Some conference materials will be emailed in advance and posted online, rather than printed as handouts. And we'll ask conference attendees to limit brochures and other promotional materials, many of which end up being recycled at the end of the conference, and instead offer other ways to promote our organizations to each other through video, web links, and more. Our hope is to continue to provide the materials that are most helpful on-site, and to offer others electronically (which also makes it easier for you to share research reports, panel outlines, and workshop details with your colleagues!).

Reduce Waste
With abundant recycling and composting options, we can minimize our land-fill waste. We'll provide containers and signage, so you know what goes where, and we'll collect reusable materials (like nametags) at the end of the conference.

The Conference

General Information
Events + Tours
Hotel + Travel
Explore New Orleans

I just wanted to thank you for making a newcomer to your conference feel so welcome. I also wanted to congratulate you on such an organized, content- and experience-filled conference … with sessions and conversations that left me truly inspired and energized!
–2008 Conference attendee

The Alliance's 19th Annual Conference is supported in part by grants from The Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Copyright 2009 Alliance of Artists Communities
Contact: 255 S Main Street | Providence RI 02903 | tel 401-351-4320 | fax 401-351-4507 |

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