Global Institute of Sustainability News

Sustainability alum takes the ‘hazard’ out of ‘hazardous waste’

June 4, 2013

Bradley Baker graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012. Now, he works as a hazardous waste compliance officer at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Waste Programs Division. He learned at a young age that our resources are finite, and taking care of them takes personal and group responsibility.

In his position, Baker inspects local businesses and facilities to make sure they are following hazardous waste regulations.  Baker says his real-world experience from internships helped him gain his position.

“Find an internship, whether it is paid or unpaid,” he tells fellow students. “I have well over a year’s worth of experience doing unpaid internships, and I would not have been able to apply for the jobs I did without them.”

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One Degree: Icing the Heat Island Effect

Thought Leader Series

May 29, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

mick-headshotBy Mick Dalrymple

Note: Mick Dalrymple is a LEED-accredited professional and co-founder of the Arizona Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. He is the ASU project manager of Energize Phoenix, an initiative that aims to save energy, create jobs, and improve local neighborhoods along a 10-mile stretch of Phoenix’s light rail. Recently, Dalrymple has been promoting the Global Institute of Sustainability’s 2013 Energy Efficiency Idea Guide for Arizona

Imagine what would happen if an array of stakeholders made a concerted effort to cool the overnight low temperature of downtown Phoenix by one degree. For starters, more people would spend their evenings outdoors, increased economic activity would boost local businesses and tourism dollars, and roughly 21 million kilowatt hours (nearly $2.1 million) of energy would be saved per year.

But most importantly, Phoenix would become a real example to the world that we all can work together to positively change our climate.

Such is the power of One Degree, a simple concept that describes a tremendously complex and ambitious (but doable) challenge to create concerted change that improves community sustainability.

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Employee program to recycle small things gets big results, campus award

May 24, 2013

RecyclingTo assist ASU’s 2015 zero waste goal, the ASU Materials Management team has organized a collection service for used and unwanted office supplies. Since it first started, the collection service has rounded up more than 400 pounds of CDs, DVDs, plastic jewel cases and more than 150 cell phones in addition to 17,200 toner cartridges and 2,500 writing utensils.

“It’s the little things that add up,” says Maureen King, manager of Materials Management. ”Each act does not have much impact by itself, but collectively all this work leads to the larger goal of creating a sustainable future.”

Mail Services reuses the rubber bands, while ink and toner cartridges and utensils are sent out for recycling.

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Panama canal watershed offers test bed for ASU reforestation study

May 24, 2013

fig_1In this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, two ASU scientists published their study on the Panama Canal watershed, an area under review for reforestation in order to compensate for increased cargo ship use and more channels. Charles Perrings, a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, is the co-author alongside Silvio Simonit from ASU’s Ecoservices Group.

The duo’s paper examines the interactions and outcomes of multiple ecosystem services provided by reforestation including water flows, carbon sequestration, and timber production.

“Our research provides an insight into the importance of understanding the spatial distribution of the costs and benefits of jointly produced services,” says Simonit.

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ASU awarded Think Green Grant, will expand composting program

May 23, 2013

Arizona State University is awarded a $4,000 Think Green Grant from Waste Management, Inc. and Keep America Beautiful. ASU proposes to expand its Green Bin program by having ASU Facilities Development Management Recycling program staff collaborating with the ASU School of Sustainability in a capstone class. The students will develop ideas to divert ASU’s waste from the landfill.

“This gives us the opportunity to connect academics with operations by asking School of Sustainability students to innovate solutions to Green Bin organics collection expansion,” said Alana Levine, ASU Recycling Program Manager. “Students will actually see their ideas realized at ASU and establish a collection model for other communities to use.”

ASU is aiming to be a zero waste university by 2015.

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Students, faculty ‘show’ sustainability at open house event

May 23, 2013

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability hosted its year-end open house and project showcase on April 24 where students and faculty got to show off their innovative course assignments and partnerships. For example, students in Professor David Manuel-Navarrete’s Sustainability Leadership and Social Change course introduced their video highlighting ASU’s transformation towards university-wide sustainability.

“Since the School was first established, we have put value on diverse learning and teaching strategies that simulate professional team settings, address real-world sustainability issues and involve community members as project partners,” says Katja Brundiers, the School’s university-community liaison and the event’s organizer.

The event created new collaborations as part of the School’s Project-and Problem-Based Learning. Students and faculty interacted together one-on-one as well as with members of the public. The event was part poster session, part mixer, part lecture, and part discussion.

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Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2013

May 23, 2013

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University has announced its list of top 10 new species discovered during 2012. More than 140 species were nominated and the international committee chose according to appropriate nomenclature and official 2012 naming.

“Sustainable biodiversity means assuring the survival of as many and as diverse species as possible so that ecosystems are resilient to whatever stresses they face in the future. Scientists will need access to as much evidence of evolutionary history as possible,” said Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration at ASU and a sustainability scientist at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

The top species include a carnivorous sponge, a glow-in-the-dark cockroach, flowering bushes, a false coral snake, and a new monkey.

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Slate Magazine: Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is not enough

May 23, 2013

Last week, carbon dioxide amounts in the Earth’s atmosphere reached past 400 parts per million, according to Mauna Loa Observatory. This is the highest its been since humanity’s beginning. ASU’s Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss says mitigating climate change will need more than reducing emissions; we need to extract carbon that’s already in the atmosphere.

Krauss writes in a Slate Magazine Future Tense article:

“Though there could be huge advantages to directly extracting carbon dioxide from our atmosphere instead of from its source, there has been almost no R&D funding to explore making it a reality. Meanwhile, literally hundreds of billions of dollars have been put into subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production.”

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Student connects art, sustainability through experiential learning

May 14, 2013

Omaya Ahmad, a fellow with Arizona State University’s Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools program and a School of Sustainability doctoral student, integrates sustainability in Greenway Middle School’s curriculum and established courses.

Particularly, Ahmad teaches environmental sustainability to seventh-graders and societal sustainability to eight-graders. Through Greenway’s partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Ahmad was able to use local artwork to give her students real-life lessons outside the classroom.

“I wanted to do my fellowship in the Paradise Valley Unified School District because I graduated from a school in that district,” says Ahmad. “They matched me to Greenway, because of the opportunities with the honors core there. It was such a great match. It was gratifying to watch the students learn, and I learned a lot, too.”

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Scientists use crowd-sourcing to help map global CO2 emissions

May 13, 2013

To locate global power plants and record their greenhouse gas emissions, Arizona State University scientists are calling on citizens for help.

The researchers, including Sustainability Scientist Kevin Gurney, developed a website with a Google Earth interface that makes it easy for everyday people around the world to enter information. The website, “Ventus,” aims to create a complete list of global power plants, something that does not exist and is needed to fully comprehend the global carbon emissions cycle.

“Through Ventus, people around the world can play an active role in helping to solve the climate change problem,” Gurney said. “We hope to gather a global team of people who want to make a difference—and do so, right now. The information we gather from Ventus can ultimately help determine what we as a society can do locally and globally about climate change.”

Watch the video »

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ASU experts offer roadmap to Medicare sustainability

May 11, 2013

Three ASU researchers recently published the book, “A Roadmap to Medicare Sustainability,” in hopes of illuminating how current Medicare is chipping away at the security of future dependents. To make Medicare more sustainable in the long-run, Denis Cortese and colleagues Natalie Landman and Robert Smoldt suggest raising the eligibility age, develop a premium support model, establish true pay for medical providers, and work on tort reform.

Right now, Medicare is a major contributor to the U.S. federal debt due to the growing costs as Boomers begin to retire.

“Medicare must be fundamentally reformed and made sustainable in a manner that is fair to seniors, their children and their grandchildren who are or will be paying the taxes for the Medicare program,” said Smoldt, associate director of ASU’s Healthcare Delivery and Policy Program. “Bold action and consistent leadership on several fronts are required.”

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Study to look at how consumers perceive sustainable products

May 9, 2013

Carola Grebitus, assistant professor of food industry management at the Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management, is in charge of a study looking into public perceptions of sustainable products. Study participants look at packaging and marketing materials to provide feedback regarding which tactics would make them purchase more sustainable products.

Grebitus is coordinating the study at the request of Henkel, a German company known for Dial soap, Purex laundry detergent, and Renuzit air fresheners. Sustainability has been a core goal for the company that offers many eco-friendly products and lifestyle choices to everyday consumers.

“I want to help consumers understand what is sustainable by discovering what sustainability means to them,” Grebitus said. “In this study, we deal with perception which leads to uncovering what it means to be environmentally friendly as a consumer.”

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Dutch delegation visits ASU to strengthen partnerships for a more sustainable world

May 9, 2013

Community and business representatives from the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands visited ASU President Michael Crow and leaders of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS). The Dutch delegation met with partners from GIOS’ Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives (WSSI) to learn more about sustainability in Arizona and to share their sustainability knowledge from the Netherlands.

The Municipality of Haarlemmermeer aims to become one of the most sustainable sites for businesses, communities, and organizations in the Netherlands. ASU Sustainability Scientists brainstormed with the Dutch representatives who included aldermen Arthur van Dijk and John Nederstigt, sustainability programs manager Debby de Rijk, and higher education programs manager Wendy van Vliet.

“The visit helped them better understand the ways in which ASU can contribute to Haarlemmermeer’s vision of becoming a regional model for sustainability,” WSSI program manager Marta Hulley Friedman said.

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Doctoral graduate develops toolkit for culturally sustainable design

May 9, 2013

Tejas Dhadphale is receiving his doctoral degree in Design, Environment and the Arts from Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and did his dissertation in India studying local retailers. While many businesses are focusing on sustainable product development and looking into the economic, environmental, and social aspects of a product, Dhadphale says many overlook the cultural aspect.

“Modern retailers fail to resonate with the cultural practices of daily shopping, specifically among Indian women,” says Dhadphale. “India consumers equally value personal relationships, trust, and informal communication with retailers.”

Dhadphale’s goal is to create a toolkit that will allow product developers to create culturally appropriate businesses and services. To make the toolkit, Dhadphale drew on his education on sustainability, anthropology, and design.

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ASU algae researchers partner to create health products

May 9, 2013

The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at Arizona State University and the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) are working with Health Enhancement Products, Inc (HEPI). to advance the science behind algae-based health and wellness products like vitamins and food chemicals.

Algae substances from HEPI’s test facility in Scottsdale were transferred to AzCATI and ATPpartners for further studying and preservation.

“These partnerships give us access to world-class algae experts and facilities,” said HEPI CEO Andrew Dahl. “Moving the cultures to the AzCATI/ ATP3 site and to the NCMA labs opens up a vastly broader range of  scientific  capabilities and expertise and provides access to a  tremendous network of development and production partners all while realizing substantial cost savings.”

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‘Carbon Nation’ director Peter Byck teaches sustainable storytelling

May 9, 2013

Peter filmingFor his new professor of practice position at ASU’s School of Sustainability and ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Peter Byck will be teaching a new “Sustainability Storytelling” course this fall.

Students from the two schools will learn how to produce and direct their own five-minute documentaries about issues surrounding clean energy and climate change. Byck is a seasoned documentarist; his first film, “Garbage,” won the South by Southwest Film Festival and his second documentary, “Carbon Nation,” is gaining worldwide attention.

“Working with a large university like ASU will allow us to amplify stories out into the world because we need to educate the American people on clean energy,” says Byck.

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Can 7 billion people have clean water and plentiful food, ASU scientists ask

May 8, 2013

The Phosphorus Sustainability Research Coordination Network (RCN), a global gathering of researchers and stakeholders, will meet in Washington, D.C. May 14-16 to discuss a dwindling nutrient we all count on for food and clean drinking water: phosphorus.

The Phosphorus Sustainability RCN is led by Arizona State University Sustainability Scientists James Elser and Rimjhim Aggarwal, along with University of Arizona scientist Tauhidur Rahman. The goal of the five-year RCN is to find ways to recycle and efficiently produce phosphorus for a global demand. Phosphorus is a main ingredient in crop fertilizers, and the world’s supplies are running out. Phosphorus runoff from farms is also the main culprit of ecological dead zones, massive fish die-offs, and contaminated drinking water.

“If you drink water and eat food, you should care about phosphorus,” Elser says.

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Sustainability alumna turns food waste into a career

May 8, 2013

Grad PicNatalie Fleming graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 and a month later, she obtained a position at a Utah startup called EcoScraps. The company collects food waste from grocery stores, food banks, and farms and turns it into eco-friendly and sustainable gardening products. Working remotely in San Francisco, Fleming is the district sales manager responsible for training EcoScrap employees and representatives.

She gives some advice to graduating sustainability students on how to enter the job market:

“Tell everyone you meet how excited you are to graduate and how much you love sustainability,” Fleming says. “Let them know you’re on a job hunt. Share your interest with people and you never know where that connection is going to come from. It will help you get your foot in the door.”

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ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability co-founder, Julie Wrigley, talks investing

May 8, 2013

julie2-croppedIn Green Living Magazine’s May issue, Julie Ann Wrigley, CEO of Wrigley Investments, LLC, discusses investing for a better, more sustainable tomorrow.

“Where can our investments, both for profit and in the not for profit sector, help to look for solutions to real world problems?” she asks.

Wrigley is an advocate for sustainable communities and businesses. She has tailored her investments to include the health, environmental, and education sectors. In 2004, Wrigley helped co-found Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

“All of us can make choices that can impact the future by very small steps and that is becoming an impactful investor.”

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The Green Register: College Move-Out Eco-Friendly Tips

May 7, 2013

SHAB_students_46Move-out topics like packing, cleaning, and textbooks are covered in The Green Register’s “The Green Minute.”

For instance, you can collect recycled boxes from local companies instead of buying brand-new boxes. Be sure to sell back your old textbooks, too, or donate them to local schools. And have leftover furniture? Sell it online or host a garage sale.

For more tips, learn about Arizona State University’s Ditch the Dumpster program.

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