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.
December 8, 2011
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.
December 6, 2011
Research on urban heat island by CAP LTER researchers Darrel Jenerette, Sharon Harlan, Will Stefanov, and Chris Martin recently was featured in Wired Magazine’s article “Environmental Gap Widens in Phoenix.”
The Wired story focused on the researchers’ findings reported in the journal Ecological Applications.
Scientists from ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change and ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability examined the role of vegetation in urban cooling, particularly in low-income neighborhoods experiencing extreme heat. The study was funded by a National Science Foundation grant awarded to the School.
While an increase in vegetation would ameliorate heat conditions and provide multiple ecosystem services, the authors argue that “vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies.”
November 17, 2011
Complex computational modeling provides clues to Neanderthal extinction
Computational modeling that examines evidence of how hominin groups evolved culturally and biologically in response to climate change during the last Ice Age also bears new insights into the extinction of Neanderthals. Details of the complex modeling experiments conducted at Arizona State University and the University of Colorado Denver will be published in the December issue of the journal Human Ecology, available online Nov. 17.
ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist Michael Barton authored the article, “Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia.” The article was co-authored by ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist John Martin “Marty” Anderies, an associate professor of computational social science in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the School of Sustainability; as well as Julien Riel-Salvatore, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver; and Gabriel Popescu, an anthropology doctoral student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU.
November 15, 2011
In celebration of NBC Universal’s “Green Is Universal” week, The Weather Channel announced that it will air “Changing Planet: Adapting to Our Water Future” at 5 p.m. ( ET ), 3 p.m. ( Arizona Time ), Nov. 17. An encore presentation will air Saturday at 2 p.m. ( ET ), 12 p.m. ( Arizona Time ).
NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson moderated the event, which was hosted by Arizona State University. The town hall is the last in a three-part series produced under a partnership between NBC Learn ( the educational arm of NBC News ), the National Science Foundation ( NSF ) and Discover magazine.
“We face great challenges now, and in the years and decades ahead when it comes to water – including its scarcity and its purity,” said Thompson. “It is important that we have these kinds of discussions about how we can work together to protect and conserve one of our world’s most important resources.”
This edition of “Changing Planet” brings together over 400 students and features four leading experts from science, academia and politics: Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico; Grady Gammage Jr., senior sustainability scholar with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability and senior research fellow with the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; and Heidi Cullen, former climate expert for The Weather Channel and current research scientist and correspondent with “Climate Central.”
November 10, 2011
Can peer pressure help people live more sustainably? In this article from The Atlantic Cities, Susan Ledlow, ASU social psychologist; Mick Dalrymple, ASU Energize Phoenix project manager; and Dimitrios Laloudakis, Phoenix’s energy manager, weigh in on how creating social norms can be used to get people to live more sustainably.
The idea that people will change their beliefs and behavior through social norms could be a powerful tool for cities chasing sustainability in everything from water consumption to recycling programs to energy efficiency.
November 8, 2011
From The Atlantic, this article features a conversation with Kevin Dooley, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Professor of Supply Chain Management, W.P. Carey School of Business. Dooley also serves as Academic Director of the Sustainability Consortium. Dr. Dooley is a world-known expert in the application of complexity science to help organizations improve. He has published over 100 research articles and co-authored an award winning book, “Organizational Change and Innovation Processes.”
In this article, Dooley discusses how most people are largely unaware of the life cycle of products they purchase and how smart companies already know that the next competitive landscape is about being more sustainable.
November 3, 2011
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.
November 3, 2011
From The Atlantic, this article features a conversation with Bruce Rittmann, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist and Regents’ Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. As director of the Swette Center for Environmental Technology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Rittmann is searching for solutions to the challenges facing our world. Dr. Rittmann’s research is aimed at developing microbiological systems that capture renewable resources and also minimize environmental pollution.
In this article, Rittmann discusses a revolutionary innovation that directs photosynthesis to make fuel molecules as a potential substitute for petroleum—the ideal win-win situation—a partnership between microbial workers and human managers.
November 1, 2011
TEMPE, Ariz., – The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) took a major step forward today when they announced the completion of 10 Category Sustainability Profiles as part of research on 50 product categories, with a commitment to develop 50 additional product categories by the end of 2011. The profiles provide accessible and actionable information for a wide range of companies on supply chain impacts. This knowledge allows institutions to take actions that reduce production costs, use fewer resources, and communicate benefitsto consumers.
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.
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/
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.
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.
September 6, 2011
Arizona State University exceeds 10 megawatts (MW) of solar-energy capacity, making it the only higher education institution in the United States to have a solar capacity of this size. Ten MW is enough energy to power 2,500 Arizona homes and represents roughly 20 percent of ASU’s peak load, reducing the university’s carbon footprint between 5 to 10 percent. Pushing ASU past the 10 MW mark is its latest 700-panel, 168-kilowatt (kW), ground-mount photovoltaic installation on its Tempe campus.
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.
August 24, 2011
From KJZZ 91.5 FM, Phoenix, this report from Steve Goldstein features former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Richardson will be a panelist at tomorrow’s NBC Town Hall event, Changing Planet: Adapting to Our Water Future. A capacity audience is expected for the event, and reservations are no longer being accepted. The event will be streaming live on ASUtv.
Host Steve Goldstein talks to two environmental experts about solar projects and water usage in the desert…and which forms of energy are the best for Arizona’s climate. Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and author Robert Glennon give two perspectives on the issue.
August 22, 2011
From The New York Times, this post from Felicity Barringer highlights a study co-authored by Michail Fragkias, Executive Officer of the UGEC Project at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.
Urban areas are growing even faster than urban populations are, and by 2030 urbanized land around the globe will expand by 590,000 square miles — an amount almost equal to the land mass of Mongolia, according to a new study.
The study, which was just published in the journal PLoS One, analyzed 326 other studies that used remote-sensing images to track changes in land use. The authors were Karen C. Seto of Yale’s School of Forestry and Environment Studies; Michail Fragkias of Arizona State University’s Global Institute for Sustainability; Michael K. Reilly of Stanford’s Department of Environmental Earth System Science; and Burak Güneralp of Texas A&M.
August 16, 2011
Actions underscore consortium’s strategic plan to deliver a sustainability measurement and reporting system and become a global organization
TEMPE, Ariz., – Aug. 16, 2011 – The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) today announced the opening of its European office and theexpansion of its board of directors to include Non-Government Organization (NGO) members. Both moves strongly align with TSC’s focus of growth, incorporating global partners, and delivering on its mission to design and implement science-based measurement and reporting systems that are accessible to manufacturers and consumers.
TSC’s European office will operate in partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Wageningen UR (WUR) is the leading agricultural university in Europe with a strong commitment to sustainability. WUR has strong relationships with agricultural producers, food processors, and retailers in Europe, includingmany TSC members. In addition, Aalt Dijkhuizen, president and CEO at Wageningen UR, is the third Academic Director appointed to TSC’s board.
August 12, 2011
From KJZZ 91.5 FM, Phoenix, this report from Steve Goldstein features ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist Aaron Golub. Golub’s research relates to urban planning and public transportation.
Maryvale was once a highly desirable area to buy a family home. But changes in the area’s demographics – and changes in perception through the years – have altered the way many people look at Maryvale. We find out what community members think about the place they call home, and what they want from the city of Phoenix government. Steve Goldstein has this report.