Global Institute of Sustainability News

ASU researchers, Nobel laureate have stake in ‘Planet under Pressure’ forum

Institute Press Releases

March 22, 2012

The future of the oceans, poverty alleviation, global trade, biodiversity and food security are among research areas that will be at the core of the “Planet under Pressure” (PUP) conference this month with more than 2,500 participants, including several scientists from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

“The agenda for worldwide sustainability science will be set at this conference,” stressed Sander van der Leeuw, dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability and a PUP conference participant. “The whole of the research agenda for sustainability science for the next several years will be recast and the funding reorganized to take account of the discussions at this conference,” he said.

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What’s the Big Deal About “Resilience”?

March 19, 2012

sanderFrom Slate.com, this interview with Torie Bosch features Sustainability Scientist Sander van der Leeuw, dean of the School of Sustainability. Van der Leeuw will be a panelist at this weekend’s Future Tense event, Defining Resilience, where academics, policymakers, and other experts will discuss resilience in the environment, business, national security, even the Constitution. Bosch spoke to van der Leeuw about resilience in the Roman Empire, prehistoric Australia, modern ecology, and more.

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Fundamental steps needed now in global redesign of Earth system governance

Institute Press Releases

March 16, 2012

32 leading experts from around the world argue for immediate ambitious reforms

TEMPE, Ariz. – Some 32 social scientists and researchers from around the world, including a Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University, have concluded that fundamental reforms of global environmental governance are needed to avoid dangerous changes in the Earth system. The scientists argued in the March 16 edition of the journal Science that the time is now for a “constitutional moment” in world politics.

Research now indicates that the world is nearing critical tipping points in the Earth system, including on climate and biodiversity, which if not addressed through a new framework of governance could lead to rapid and irreversible change.

“Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth’s sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years,” wrote the authors in the opening of “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance.”

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Reach for the Stars fellows excel in research, interdisciplinary environment

March 14, 2012

Angela XiongSix Arizona State University masters students in diverse fields of study are participating in Diversity across the Curriculum (DAC), a class that equips them with the skills for transdisciplinary collaboration and effective communication of their research to the community. One of the students, Angela Xiong, is from the School of Sustainability.

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Higher ed presidents say teaching sustainability is good business

March 9, 2012

Achieving carbon neutrality on American college and university campuses is not a matter for science alone. It has to be taught. And, in dealing with budget reductions coupled with enrollment growth, college and university presidents have learned that sustainability is also a good business model.

“We’ve all faced one big dilemma in the past few years,” said David Schmidly, president of the University of New Mexico, noting that UNM experienced budget cuts of about 20-22 percent, while at the same time enrollment increases of 15 percent.

“What we found is sustainability can be useful for teaching not only a paradigm to be a better citizen; we have found that sustainability is good business. It’s a good way to contain cost and save money,” he said, adding that UNM’s energy conservation program saved more than $8 million over just a few years.

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Bonding out: Making companies pay up front for potential environmental disasters

February 15, 2012

Whether it’s building an oil pipeline, drilling for fuel in the ocean or “fracking” to flush natural gas out of the Earth, we’re often asked to believe the process is safe, when companies want to do something that could have big benefits. But that process also could be potentially disastrous for the environment.

Now, an economics professor at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business has a way for these companies to show the public that the risks will be managed – by requiring them to post the estimated costs of a spill or major environmental side effect ahead of time through the creation of refundable environmental bonds.

“If the risks are manageable, as proponents suggest, then raising the money for the bonds should not be a challenge,” explains V. Kerry Smith, an environmental economist, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “In each case, the requirement for an environmental bond shifts the responsibility for who assumes the risk of any catastrophic event of large-scale development to those arguing the risks are small. When enough others agree, we should have a robust market for those willing to assume the resulting environmental risks.”

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Students apply coursework to ASU's food systems

December 21, 2011

Students at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability get the opportunity to tackle real-life issues in their community as a part of their studies. For Dr. Hallie Eakin’s students in the Fall 2011 undergraduate course, “Sustainable Food and Farms,” this meant conducting research to analyze ASU’s food sourcing decisions and come up with suggestions for improvements.

Through the research for this class, the students concluded that ASU is moving in the right direction in identifying and supporting sustainable food supplies. The student researchers noted, however, that they had several concerns regarding aspects of waste management, ecological impact, education, and transparency in the food system, among other issues.

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Modernizing utility rates to aid energy efficiency plans

December 20, 2011

“You cannot run an economy, especially one poised for growth (like Arizona) without energy,” noted two Arizona State University energy experts in an op-ed that appeared in the Dec. 19 Arizona Republic.

“On the cusp of its 100th birthday, Arizona is facing an aging energy infrastructure that is unprepared for a sustainable future,” wrote ASU’s Gary Dirks and Matthew Croucher. Dirks is director of LightWorks, an ASU initiative that capitalizes on the university’s strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. He is also a distinguished sustainability scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainably. Croucher, an economist, is an associate research professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business and a senior sustainability scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

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“Retrofitting Suburbs” is featured on National Public Radio

December 15, 2011

A November 29 broadcast on National Public radio features a project co-directed by planning professor Aaron Golub and Milagros Zingoni of the ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. Students involved include Benjamin Stanley, of the School of Sustainability and Christian Solorio; Hector Navarro; and Whitney Warman of the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.

In the project, called “Retrofitting Suburbs: Re-visioning the Cul-de-Sac,” Golub, Zingoni and their team are working with the city of Avondale to re-design one of its cul-de-sacs for the year 2030. The goal is for the re-designed cul-de-sac to fit the needs of future populations, in which there will be an increasing number of single- and two-person households. The re-designed cul-de-sac will use the existing structures to accommodate up to 3 times as many residents, in “manors” that blend small private units with shared space.

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City of Phoenix receives HUD grant, ASU a key partner

December 15, 2011

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the City of Phoenix a three-year $2.9 million Sustainable Communities grant, with ASU as a key partner.

The grant’s objective is to promote transit-oriented development (TOD) along the light rail line – with a focus on development that will provide all residents with safe, convenient access to quality, affordable housing, well-paying jobs, education and training programs, fresh food and healthcare services.

The project, named Reinvent Phoenix: Cultivating Equity, Engagement, Economic Development and Design Excellence with TOD, will foster development near the light rail that serves to:

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ASU to aid governor's energy policy team to spur solar installs

Institute Press Releases

December 15, 2011

Harvey Bryan, left, sustainability professor, takes his renewable energy systems students on a field trip to the rooftop of COOR Hall at ASU's Tempe campus.The Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) at Arizona State University is one of the players on the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy team tabbed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to identify and eliminate barriers to easy and affordable rooftop solar installation.

Gov. Jan Brewer announced this month that the Arizona team received a $710,000 grant from DOE, the first-year award in a three-year $2.8 million initiative, with the goal of developing processes to lower costs by identifying best practices in finance, permitting and zoning.

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'The Business of Sustainability' presents 'green' blueprint

Institute Press Releases

December 15, 2011

What does the future of business look like in a sustainability-minded world, and how do we get there are two among many questions addressed in the three-volume set, “The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices, and Stories of Success.”

A dozen chapter contributors from ASU essentially helped to develop the first integrated presentation of the business of sustainability. The books were published in November 2011 and bring together more than 70 experts who specialize in several industries. The volumes’ editors include Scott G. McNall, who joined forces with fellow editors who hail from ASU: George Basile, a professor in the School of Sustainability, and James C. Hershauer, an emeritus professor of management.

According to Hershauer, the editors teamed up to produce the books because they collectively saw fragmentations in the approaches businesspeople were making when engaging in sustainability discussions.

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Tesco and the Sustainable Consumption Institute Join The Sustainability Consortium

Institute Press Releases

December 12, 2011

ASU has announced that Tesco is joining The Sustainability Consortium, an independent group of global businesses, academics, governments and non-governmental organizations that work collaboratively to drive innovation in consumer product sustainability. The Tesco-funded Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at The University of Manchester will also become an academic member of the Consortium. Tesco joins 16 other European members that provide The Sustainability Consortium a strong foothold in the region.

Joining The Consortium is a further boost to Tesco’s work on sustainability and comes after its commendation as the top green UK retailer by the internationally recognized Carbon Disclosure Project. By focusing on environmental and social sustainability in the supply chain, The Consortium’s collaboration between Tesco and other global businesses will drive sustainable production and consumption in the consumer goods market. This partnership builds on The Consortium’s recent opening of a European branch at Wageningen University & Research Centre in The Netherlands.

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Near-death experience puts grad on activist path

December 8, 2011

bamartinA near-fatal illness when she was 16 led Beth Anne Martin to dream big dreams. She decided she wanted to make the world a better place.

Now 21, the ASU senior from Chandler has hiked through rainforests to study ecology in Costa Rica and has planted hundreds of trees as a farm intern in New Zealand. She has founded a student organization to fight slavery and trafficking, and has led volunteer efforts for a Tempe homeless program and an environmental action team.

Next year the young activist will head for Chile to study food security and community-based agriculture, having just won a $26,000 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

She is one of more than 400 university students from 40 countries selected by Rotary International to study abroad. They will participate in community service projects and speak to civic groups, acting as “goodwill ambassadors” for their home countries.

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Rating Phoenix Sustainability: What Matters Most?

Thought Leader Series

November 3, 2011

A Thought Leader Series Piece

ggammageBy Grady Gammage, Jr.

In early October, Andrew Ross issued the latest indictment of Phoenix: Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City. Ross’s book represents the latest, longest, and most articulate examination of Arizona’s capital – the nation’s sixth largest city – as a kind of colossal demographic mistake. But he’s not the first to go down this path.
 
In a 2006 radio interview, author Simon Winchester said that Phoenix “should never have been built” because “there’s no water there.” In 2008, Sustainlane.com rated Phoenix among the least sustainable cities in the U.S. for water supply, primarily because of the distance water must travel to reach the city. In 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that Maricopa County, home to the Phoenix Metro area, was among the “most challenged” places in the U.S. for climate change – this conclusion based on the difference between rainfall and water use within the county. And in 2011, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) found current patterns of Arizona water use to be “unsustainable,” due to the large amount of water going to agriculture.
 
These views highlight the huge problems inherent in measuring urban sustainability. In large part, Phoenix seems to be everyone’s favorite whipping boy essentially because it’s hot in Arizona and doesn’t rain very much. This view is too simplistic. 
 

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Accelerated actions, transformative approaches, and laser focus make Arizona State University excel as a sustainable campus

Institute Press Releases

October 14, 2011

At Arizona State, the bar is sky-high when it comes to how the university runs its daily sustainable campus operations. It continues to be recognized as a model for sustainability; Arizona State University was recently named on The Princeton Review’s 2012 Honor Roll of the nation’s “greenest” universities. For the fourth consecutive year, The Princeton Review has recognized ASU for obtaining the highest possible score (99) in its Green Rating tallies. ASU was one of only 16 universities to achieve a perfect score.

ASU was also in the top 25 on Sierra magazine’s Coolest Schools list – a survey that ranks the greenest college campuses across the nation. A publication of The Sierra Club, Sierra magazine’s “Coolest Schools” ranking is an index that provides comparative information about the most important elements of campus sustainability.

In addition, ASU earned a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). ASU was one of only 22 institutions out of 117 to receive a gold rating. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-assessment framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability.

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Participate in the ASU Innovation Challenge!

October 6, 2011

The ASU Innovation Challenge, a funding competition open to Arizona State University undergraduate and graduate students of all majors. The Arizona State University Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students from across the university to make a difference in our local and global communities through innovation. Win up to $10,000 to make your ideas happen! Applications are due by 5:00 PM (MST) on the final day of Global Entrepreneurship Week: Friday, November 18, 2011. For more information go to http://innovationchallenge.asu.edu/



Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability Expands Through Partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey

Institute Press Releases

October 5, 2011

In an effort to further advance the transition to a sustainable economy in Mexico, Arizona State University (ASU) and Tecnológico de Monterrey have jointly launched the Latin America Office of the Global Institute of Sustainability. This extension of ASU’s Global Institute at Tecnológico de Monterrey will conduct applied transdisciplinary research, offer an innovative curriculum, and develop business solutions that accelerate the adoption of a sustainable culture.

The Latin America Office of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability will offer academic programs to educate future leaders in the transition to a green economy. It will conduct applied research to address Latin American issues, particularly the adoption of sustainable development. It will also leverage linkages with the Technology Park at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus, to promote clean technologies and entrepreneurial projects that will create green jobs and businesses, and promote public policies that preserve natural capital through active participation of all sectors of society.

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Regional Tree and Shade Summit receives Award of Merit at Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards

Institute Press Releases

September 26, 2011

TEMPE, Ariz. Shade – we all crave it during sun-scorched days, and the shade that trees provide creates an escape from the heat. So where are all the trees?

The Sustainable Cities Network at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability is aware of this need for more trees in our urban world. Partnering with the cities of Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix, the Network hosted the Valley’s first Regional Tree and Shade Summit on March 9, 2011, in Phoenix. The Summit brought together public officials, municipal staff, nonprofit organizations, and professional associations to identify strategies for increasing tree and shade and green infrastructure, and creating a healthier, more livable and prosperous Arizona.

On Sept. 17, the Regional Tree and Shade Summit received an Award of Merit at Valley Forward’s annual Environmental Excellence Awards program in the Environmental Education/Communication: Public Sector category. The awards recognize outstanding environmental achievement and projects that promote environmental initiatives. 

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Arizona State University’s Sustainability Achievements Rated GOLD by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

Institute Press Releases

August 25, 2011

TEMPE, Ariz. – In recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Arizona State University (ASU) has earned a STARS Gold rating. STARS®, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-assessment framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. Institutions report their achievements in three overall areas: Education and Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration and Engagement. ASU earned its highest points in Planning, Administration and Engagement.

ASU received STARS® credits for a number of innovative programs such as its Campus Metabolism website and its Minor in Sustainability that is available to undergraduate students who are majoring in any discipline. ASU also received credits for the completion of its Carbon Neutrality Action Plan and its Sustainability Plan. Both plans are being utilized to conduct day-to-day operations in ways that help maximize the university’s positive impacts and provide optimal living, working, and learning environments.

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