Wrigley Sustainability Institute News

Environmentalist Sunita Narain to lecture at ASU March 27

March 22, 2013

Narain-hi-rez-cropped-for-webArizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability welcomes writer and environmentalist Sunita Narain, who will speak on “Environmentalism of the Poor vs. Environmentalism of the Rich” on Wednesday, March 27. The event, which is part of the Institute’s Wrigley Lecture Series, will take place from 5:00 until 6:30 p.m. at the Tempe campus in Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 170.

Narain was named one of the world’s 100 Public Intellectuals three times by the U.S. journal, Foreign Policy. She is currently the director general of India’s Centre for Science and Environment and publisher of Down to Earth magazine. Narain’s interests include equality, clean water, food safety, wildlife conservation, and climate change alleviation. Climate change, she says, is the world’s biggest issue today.

You can RSVP for Narain’s lecture here: http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/rsvp/sunita-narain.

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Celebrating female pioneers in sustainability

March 22, 2013

Rachel_CarsonTo honor female scientists for Women’s History Month, Arizona State University takes a look inside the lives of three female sustainability pioneers—Rachel Carson, Elinor Ostrom, and Nancy Selover.

Rachel Carson is most well-known for her book, Silent Spring. A fighter for the environment and people, she brought to light many environmental injustices such as pesticide use and ocean pollution. Carson was probably one of the first females to communicate the sustainability concept before “sustainability” was a word.

ASU’s own Elinor Ostrom was the first woman to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 2009. Trained in political science, Ostrom investigated how people organize and use natural resources without a government system. Later in her life, she focused her research on human impacts on climate change.

Nancy Selover, a professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, is Arizona’s first female state climatologist. Her main research focus and passion is water, a resource that is slowly disappearing in an urban desert oasis. As Arizona’s climatologist, Selover’s responsibility is to give public outreach and information on the local climate.

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Showcase to award $5K for top sustainability solutions proposals

March 22, 2013

ASU’s first Sustainability Solutions Showcase is reaching out to the community and students to find the next big idea that will help solve sustainability challenges and benefit the environment and society. Participants can share their idea with ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and win up to $3,500.

The Showcase is a project under the Walton Sustainability Solutions’ Sustainability Solutions Festival. In all, the Showcase plans to award $5,000 to winning ideas.

Through a partnership with Changemaker Central@ASU and 10,000 Solutions, the Sustainability Solutions Showcase is calling for financially viable solutions that would address multiple aspects of sustainability. Awards include $2,500 for first prize, $1,500 for second prize, and $1,000 for the People’s Choice Award.

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ASU goes paperless to manage curriculum; promote sustainability

March 21, 2013

Arizona State University just adopted, CurricUNET Meta, a program from Governet that manages curriculum changes online to eliminate excess paper use.

The new program will also allow ASU to save resources, streamline the curriculum management process, archive old curriculum more efficiently, and reinforce paperless practices throughout its six-campus system.

“Having demonstrated cutting-edge innovations in green technology, renewable energy, environmental conservation and climate science, ASU is among the most highly regarded research universities in the country,” says George Tamas, Governet’s CEO. “It is gratifying that CurricUNET Meta has been selected as the technology that will move the institution toward more sustainable curriculum practices.”

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Phoenix Business Journal: ASU student business in running for Coolest College Startup

March 21, 2013

Five ASU honors students saw the need to get unused food into the hands and mouths of hungry people and they did something about it.

The students from different majors – engineering, business and sustainability – harnessed their knowledge and passion to found FlashFood, a startup that uses a website, mobile application, and text messages to facilitate the delivery of excess food from restaurants, caterers, and conventions to community centers that serve the hungry.

Now FlashFood has been nominated for Inc. magazine’s 2013 America’s Coolest College Startup and is one of 12 finalists for the honor.

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Growing in the Context of Climate Change

Thought Leader Series

March 20, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

Narain-hi-rez-cropped-for-webBy Sunita Narain

Note: Sunita Narain is the director general of The Centre for Science and Environment. She will be speaking at the next Wrigley Lecture Series on March 27 at Arizona State University.

We all know the threat of climate change is urgent. We also know combating this threat will require deep and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This is when, already, the poor of the world—who are more vulnerable and less able to cope—are feeling the pain of a changing and more variable climate.

The question is: Why has the world been desperately seeking every excuse not to act, even as science has repeatedly confirmed that climate change is real? Climate change, though related to carbon dioxide and other emissions, is also related to economic growth and wealth in the world. Climate change is man-made. It can also devastate the world as we know it.

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Sustainability student helps Sun Devil Athletics go green

March 19, 2013

University gymnast Kahoku Palafox recently graduated magna cum laude with a degree in sustainability from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. She submitted a case study to the Green Sports Alliance that outlined Sun Devil Athletics’ sustainability and conservation practices. Palafox explained the processes behind making ASU’s sports events sustainable, like zero-waste practices and energy conservation.

“Even having [the zero-waste] initiative has really started to open people’s eyes to [going Green],” Palafox said.

ASU’s Women’s Gymnastics recently hosted their first-ever zero-waste meet on Friday, March 15 that had only recycle and compost bins.

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ASU women honor role models in science, technology, engineering and math

March 19, 2013

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Arizona State University asked some prominent female university professors and scientists to share who inspires them. For the National Women’s History Project, this year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination.” In particular, ASU highlighted those female scientists in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Sustainability Scientist Alexandra Brewis Slade says her doctoral professor Jane Underwood, who passed away last year, inspires her to push boundaries and be a ‘force of nature’ like Underwood. Another Sustainability Scientist, Leah Gerber, cites National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco as a role model while Sustainability Scientist Jane Maienschein is fascinated by developmental biologist Beatrice Mintz.

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Dirks appointed director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability

March 15, 2013

Gary-Dirks-12-cropped2Arizona State University announced Gary Dirks as the new director for its Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) on Thursday, March 14.

Dirks, also director of ASU’s LightWorks, hopes to expand the Institute with global initiatives and partnerships for ASU.

“GIOS is an extraordinary place with people who understand sustainability at a very deep level and who know how to apply sustainability concepts to solve real-world problems,” said Dirks. “The challenge for me will be building on a very strong foundation to extend the reach and impact of the Institute.”

Dirks was previously the president of BP China and BP Pacific-Asia. While in China, BP’s employment went from 30 individuals to over 1,300, and revenues skyrocketed from zero to $4 billion between 1995 and 2008.

“Gary has demonstrated his ability to set a grand vision, align projects and people around that vision to create solutions to grand challenges that impact our society,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “He does all of this in a rapid time frame that is consistent with the spirit of the New American University.”

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Gary Dirks, director of Arizona State University’s LightWorks and former president of BP China, appointed director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability

Institute Press Releases

March 14, 2013

Gary-Dirks-12-cropped2TEMPE, Ariz. – March 14, 2013 – Gary Dirks, director of Arizona State University’s LightWorks Initiative and former president of BP China and BP Pacific-Asia, has been appointed director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), with the goal of expanding the global impact of ASU.

“GIOS’s charter is to advance research, education, business practices and global partnerships that aid in the transformation of today’s world into a more sustainable endeavor,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “With the appointment of Gary Dirks as director of GIOS, we look to increase the global impact of our work and surge ahead as a leader in sustainability.”

Dirks was chosen for this role to help GIOS solve global sustainability challenges. Dirks is a distinguished sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Chair of Sustainable Practices, and teaching faculty member in the School of Sustainability at ASU.

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Local First Arizona’s Kimber Lanning to speak at ASU

March 14, 2013

Lanning headshot (2)The Upside of a Down Economy: Buying Locally
Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Wrigley Hall, Room 481
Arizona State University, Tempe campus

Kimber Lanning’s lecture, “The Upside of a Down Economy: Buying Locally,” was so popular the last time, Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability decided to welcome her back for the second time in April.

As founder of Local First Arizona, Lanning’s passion for local economics stems from her upbringing and real-world education. Raised by a family of entrepreneurs, Lanning left ASU after her first semester and opened a record shop, Stinkweeds, in Phoenix.

Her entrepreneurship savvy and economic justice awareness led her to create Local First Arizona in 2003. Last year, Lanning established Fuerza Local, an education program for Spanish-preferred local businesses.

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As Brazil ramps up sugarcane production, researchers foresee regional climate effects

March 8, 2013

A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Institution for Science has found that future sugar cane plantations can help Brazil increase its ethanol production, while also decreasing regional temperature.

“When averaged over the entire year, there appears to be little effect on temperature,” said Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, a senior sustainability scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, and lead author of the paper. “However, the temperature fluctuation between the peak of the growing season, when cooling occurs relative to the prior landscape, and crop harvest, when warming occurs compared to the previous landscape, of about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considerable.”

Brazil is the second-largest producer and consumer of bioethanol, and based on new laws and trade agreements, the country’s sugar cane production will increase tenfold during the next ten years.

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ASU releases its first Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund annual report

March 7, 2013

The Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF) annual report highlights a dozen energy-reduction projects at ASU that were supported by SIRF funds during FY2012.

Introduced in 2010, SIRF was created to provide university departments and individuals incentives and resources to create campus sustainability initiatives and practices. Led by a committee, SIRF funds are given based on three tiers that describe the sustainability initiative and its cost. Money that is saved on the sustainable projects are reinvested into SIRF.

You can view all projects supported by SIRF in the 2012 report.

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Student Spotlight: Mindy Kimball

March 6, 2013

Mindy_headshotSustainability student travels to Antarctica; experience to benefit military professorship career

Mindy Kimball is the type of person who lives and breathes what she loves. When she was little, it was rocks. That same passion turned into a career in geology. As an undergraduate student she studied environmental science, and her master’s thesis was on locating earthquake faults.

“I was always interested in rocks and always thought rocks were cool,” Kimball says. “I just never grew out of them.”

Her geology background came in handy as a Space Operations Officer for the U.S. Army. She paid attention to any intergalactic happenings (like solar flares and satellite malfunctions) that could interfere with the Army’s communications or military plans. If a commander wanted to move a satellite, it was Kimball who had to tell them to wait until Earth rotated enough so the satellite could be in the right position.

Kimball’s military service entitles her to education benefits. The Army is supporting her doctoral education in sustainability at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. Due to her flexible graduate student schedule, she was able to join an expedition to Antarctica with the Geological Society of America (GSA).

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ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network earns EPA’s Green Government award

March 5, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network and its efforts in educating and promoting sustainability throughout the state.

On March 4, Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Region 9 administrator and former director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, presented the Network’s program manager Anne Reichman with the Pacific Southwest Region’s 2012 Green Government award at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

Reichman says the past four years have been busy for the Network, and collaborations outside of Phoenix have increased.

“The Network shows what can happen when organizations and individuals come together and focus on the positives and the things they share in common,” says Reichman. “Sustainability is a very broad topic so it’s exciting to convene the cities on some very specific areas such as solar and energy efficiency.”

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U.S. EPA honors Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network

Institute Press Releases

March 4, 2013

SCN-EPA-Award-20130304-029-RT croppedSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 4, 2013 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today recognized Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network in a short ceremony.  The Pacific Southwest Region’s 2012 Green Government Award was presented to Anne Reichman, program manager for the Sustainable Cities Network at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. 

“EPA applauds the Sustainable Cities Network and its work to bridge the gap between ASU’s sustainability research and the front-line communities facing sustainability challenges,” Blumenfeld said.  “The dialogue and actions fostered by the Network are crucial to the development of green and sustainable future for Arizona.”

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EPA to honor ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network with ‘Green Government’ award

March 1, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013
3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
Wrigley Hall, Room 481
Arizona State University, Tempe campus

Please join Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld presents ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network with the EPA’s Environmental Award for Green Government.

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Social norms, behavior influence environmental policy and vice versa

Institute Press Releases

March 1, 2013

Ann KinzigTEMPE, Ariz. – A research team led by Arizona State University (ASU) senior sustainability scientist Dr. Ann Kinzig argues for a new approach to climate change alleviation: target public values and behavior.

Kinzig, chief research strategist for ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and a professor at ASU’s School of Life Sciences, urges policymakers to alter laws and regulations based on social values and the associated behaviors.

In a recent BioScience article, the team shares findings that just as pro-environmental behaviors (i.e., recycling and water conservation) can influence pro-environmental values, the interaction can work vice versa.

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Biodiesel now powers select ASU vehicles

February 28, 2013

Arizona State University continues making strides in sustainability with the implementation of biodiesel use in select vehicles of its facilities truck fleet.

The public and media are invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the arrival of biodiesel at ASU slated for 10 a.m., Feb. 28, at the Material Services Building, 1711 S. Rural Road in Tempe.

Previous diesel consumption for ASU trucks and equipment averaged 10,000 gallons per year. It is estimated that ASU will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory by 75 metric tons annually by switching to biodiesel fuel for its fleet.

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ASU presents Sustainability Operations Annual Review 2012

February 28, 2013

Arizona State University released its Sustainability Operations Annual Review 2012 this February. The four-panel pamphlet includes highlights about ASU’s progress in operational sustainability as well as relevant facts for each of the university’s overarching sustainability goals:

• Climate neutrality
• Zero waste
• Active engagement
• Principled practice

Please visit sustainability.asu.edu/practice to learn more about the university’s sustainability goals and how individual ASU community members can help ASU achieve climate neutrality.

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