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.
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.
March 6, 2013
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).
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.”
March 4, 2013
SAN 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.”
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.
March 1, 2013
TEMPE, 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.
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.
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.
February 28, 2013
Experts from Arizona State University recently joined the national discussion about the 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, proposed to carry crude bitumen from Canadian tar sands to oil refineries on the U.S. gulf coast.
The national dialogue is often contentious. Opponents of the pipeline argue that the project would increase air and water pollution, affect conservation efforts, infringe on indigenous cultures, and stall America’s pursuit of clean energy. Proponents contend that a North American energy supply is more secure than oil coming from the Middle East.
The February 22 panel discussion at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability was moderated by Carbon Nation Director Peter Byck, and featured former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister, ASU sustainability scientist Mike Pasqualetti, and visiting sustainability scientist Wally Broecker, considered by many to be the “grandfather of climate science.”
February 27, 2013
Note: Kara Hurst is the CEO of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a joint initiative between Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas that is working to develop science-based tools for measuring and reporting consumer product sustainability.
By almost any measure, global consumption is growing rapidly. Yet many businesses still struggle to produce sustainable products, and most consumers don’t know how to identify and differentiate them. The result is: we continue to waste valuable natural resources, compromise ecosystems, and threaten human health.
Businesses and consumers desperately need a better system for assessing the sustainability of consumer products. To be viable, the system must be one that businesses can trust and consumers can easily apply to make informed decisions.
Such an assessment system must also be rigorously science-based, simple to understand, and fully transparent. And it must earn the buy-in of a vast cross-section of corporations, watchdog organizations, and governments.
February 27, 2013
A photographer captures a moment. An ecologist collects data over the course of many years. The work of each shapes our understanding.
How might our understanding change if the artist and the scientist studied the same subject together? Researchers with Arizona State University’s Central Arizona – Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, funded by the National Science Foundation, felt this was a collaboration worth pursuing.
The fruit of this collaboration – and 38 others like it – will be displayed at an upcoming exhibit, “Ecological Reflections,” opening Feb. 28, in Arlington, Va., at the National Science Foundation.
Featured in the exhibit is the work of artist Edgar Cardenas, a doctoral student in ASU’s School of Sustainability.
February 26, 2013
Colleges and communities looking to implement sustainability programs can find inspiration from case studies. Two Arizona State University programs were recently added to the National Wildlife Federation’s searchable Campus Ecology database, which includes case studies of exemplary sustainability programs from across the United States and Canada.
Programs featured in the database provide fresh ideas and best practices for campus sustainability. Among the best ideas for 2012 were ASU’s Farmers Market @ the ASU Tempe campus and its Sustainable Cities Network. The two programs join seven other ASU case studies featured over the past 10 years.
As a 2011-2012 selection in the Farming and Gardening category, the Farmers Market @ the ASU Tempe campus case study provides a shining example for other colleges and universities looking to implement campus farmers markets. The Sustainable Cities Network, an initiative started by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, is a 2011-2012 selection for Environmental Education or Outreach.
February 26, 2013
A team of researchers from ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development is examining strategies to support Burma in efforts to increase the involvement of local communities in the tourism value chain, contribute to the local economy and impact poverty reduction among local citizens.
Burmese democracy advocate Zin Mar Aung met with Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs, and faculty experts in sustainable tourism Feb. 15 to discuss ways in which university partnerships can build momentum toward eco-tourism in Burma.
“Strategic public-private partnerships that aid in addressing human rights issues and finding solutions for the aging infrastructure and shortage in hotels and guest rooms in the area could provide an important first step toward developing a sustainable and socially responsible tourism sector within the country,” said Kathleen Andereck, director of the School of Community Resources and Development and senior sustainability scientist.
February 26, 2013
John Sabo, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and director of Research Development at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, has been named a 2013 Leopold Leadership Fellow.
Sabo’s research is geared towards understanding the sustainable management of water resources for humans and biodiversity. Most of his work focuses on riparian and river ecology. Sabo also has projects that examine the effects of dams on energy flow through aquatic food webs.
“I’m hoping that the Leopold training will allow me to develop a new repertoire of research that has greater policy relevance including solutions-oriented analyses about how water shortage and scarcity can be alleviated in both developed and developing nations,” Sabo said.
February 25, 2013
The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Arizona State University’s newest research center, Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), with LEED certification at the Gold level – making it ASU’s largest LEED certified research building.
“The entire project team worked together throughout design and construction to make ISTB 4 a high-performance building that met its sustainability goals,” said sustainable designer Matthew Cunha-Rigby. “The building had a complex, energy intensive program; and to be able to reduce expected energy use by almost half is a testament to the work of everyone involved in the project. This reaffirms that we have the ability to make well-designed, energy efficient buildings without significant impacts to the project. ISTB 4 demonstrates ASU’s leadership in campus sustainability and its commitment to a better future.”
February 25, 2013
As part of a global cause to bolster solar power technologies, Arizona State University researchers are taking part in three new solar energy projects funded by the Australian and U.S. governments. The investment for these projects includes $68 million for two, eight-year research programs and $15.5 million for 11 collaborative projects.
“ASU is delighted to join Australian and U.S. researchers on the development of solar energy technologies and projects to spur innovation and identify solutions to global energy challenges,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “This collaborative initiative will accelerate renewable energy research and help reduce solar electricity costs by increasing the speed of development of related technologies.”
Senior Sustainability Scientists Christiana Honsberg and Ellen Stechel are lead investigators on two projects.
February 21, 2013
From germs in space, to supporting minorities in science and engineering, to communicating the importance of science to the public and developing effective science policy, Arizona State University faculty talked up science at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This year’s meeting took place Feb. 14-18 in Boston.
Researchers today more than ever focus their work on real-world problems, often times making their research relevant to the public locally, regionally and nationally. But engaging the public in their research can be a daunting task for researchers professionally and personally.
Leah Gerber, associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and a senior sustainability scientist in the School of Sustainability, has identified impediments to productive science communication and she shared her recommendations at AAAS.
“We must find a way to make engagement rise to the top of the pile,” Gerber said.
February 20, 2013
Yet this critical rock is increasingly scarce. It is commonly overused in agricultural fields, which leads to polluted streams and lakes. Without a change in attitudes of policy-makers, research ingenuity and sustainable strategies, this essential component to life on Earth may join oil on the “endangered species” list.
In an online article posted on ScienceNews Feb. 7, writer Roberta Kwok takes an in depth look at phosphorus – why we need it, how we waste it, and what we can do to reduce the demand for it, as well as find sustainable policies for our future.
In the article, James Elser, a professor in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences and a Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability, says it’s time to draw attention to the problem.
“I call it the biggest problem you’ve never heard of,” says Elser, an ecologist and co-organizer of the Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative at ASU.
February 19, 2013
Many have studied how the climate is changing—melting ice caps, rising sea levels, increased pollution, and higher temperatures. Countless researchers, scientists, and experts have dedicated their work to recording numbers, collecting samples, and writing reports that show evidence of climate change. But has anyone studied how humans are changing their commitment to the environment?
You may recycle because you care for the environment and would hate to see it littered, but did you also know you may do it because your neighbors or colleagues are doing it? In a recent BioScience article, an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Arizona State University’s Ann Kinzig explores the impacts of human behavior towards the environment and how policies can promote environmentally friendly behavior.
In the article, “Social Norms and Global Environmental Change: The Complex Interaction of Behaviors, Values, and Policy,” the researchers theorize that advancements in sustainability can come from policy changes that alter public behavior in the short-term, while simultaneously creating public pro-environmental values in the long-term.