Message from AAA’s President

Happy September everyone,

Autumn starts again this month, which seems shockingly fast, but considering the heatwaves, droughts, and energy shortages the world is facing, hopefully cooler weather will be a reprieve that allows everyone to catch their collective breath.

As Club President, my duty is to ensure that we fulfill our mission statement, which is to spread the knowledge of astronomy to the people of New York. But as times change, the mission, too, has become altered; there being no internet when AAA was founded nearly 100 years ago. While we are based in New York City, there are people from around the world who attend our lectures and classes. 

Astronomy used to consist of staring through a telescope and dreaming of other worlds. Yet now, those other worlds have either already been reached: the Moon, in the 60s and 70s through the Apollo Program, or soon will be reached in the not-too-distant future (Artemis I, which is attempting a second test launch Saturday, September 3rd). These explorations eventually paving our road to Mars.

Another change over the last 100 years would be the citizen scientists exploring the cosmos, public and private space exploration organizations, active satellites and space junk, and maybe even weapons (depending on what governments are willing to reveal) in space.

Meanwhile, here on Earth, temperatures have been hotter than at any other point in recorded history. Fires are raging. Rivers and lakes are running dry. A third of Pakistan is under water. And just this week in America, the people of Jackson have no access to clean running water because of an unprecedented storm.

Taking all the above into account, as the president of a science-based non-profit organization I believe that it behooves me to not simply mention what AAA has to offer in this monthly column, but to call people to action. And that is exactly what I am going to do, right here, right now:

  • To make it clear that all living species on this planet have a duty to care for this planet, as well as one another. 
  • To eat less meat, for your sake, and the planet’s. 
  • To choose peace over hostility. 
  • To engage in thoughtful conversation rather than to diminish and dismiss those who you may disagree with.
  • To emphasize the importance of science and facts over conjecture and mythology.
  • And perhaps most importantly, to respect those around you, be they animals of any type.

Like all of you, the negative news that I am bombarded with seems overwhelming, and quite simply, depressing. So, if there is one thing that we can all achieve as lovers of science and astronomy, it is to ensure that this community of which we are all a part, has open arms for all those who seek either an outlet or a shelter.

I ask that everyone who reads this does just that – reach out and let others know that our community awaits them.

I hope to see all of you on October 1 at Autumn Starfest, where we can continue this conversation of making the world, and universe, a better place.

Brian Berg, President