Global Institute of Sustainability News

ASU, National Academies publish science policy magazine

October 28, 2013

Senior Sustainability Scientist Daniel Sarewitz will assist the re-branding and editing of the U.S. National Academies’ quarterly magazine, Issues in Science and Technology. Sarewitz aims to address the current challenges of using science and technology to shape policy and how policy impacts our everyday lives.

“We will be publishing really interesting, well-written, provocative articles about questions of science, technology, society and policy, articles that will continue to expand the audience for Issues in Science and Technology,” Sarewitz says. “We want everyone who is concerned about the future to recognize why these questions should be at the forefront of their attention.”

Sarewitz, also the co-director of ASU’s Consortium for Science and Policy Outcomes, says the new partnership will bolster ASU’s presence in D.C. and expand the science-policy discussions outside Washington.

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Phoenix Business Journal: ASU wins $5M for solar

October 25, 2013

solar-decathlonThe U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative granted Arizona State University a total of $5 million to be used in solar research. The university will receive close to $3.5 million for solar cell devices and around $1.4 million to develop more reliable solar components. The SunShot Initiative is a national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive and more efficient.

“The tremendous growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is helping to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that protects our air and water and provides affordable clean energy to more and more Americans,” says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”

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Triple Pundit: Sustainability business leaders focus on ‘can do’

October 25, 2013

In a recent Triple Pundit article by Arizona State University Sustainability Scientist George Basile and consultant Bruno Sarda, the “can’t do” overshadows the positivity of change and innovation in today’s business world.

“The ‘can’t do’ conversation is, by its very nature, a discussion of inaction, of intention rather than execution,” writes the authors. “In order to bridge the gap between intention and execution, the world needs effective and determined leaders who know how to use tools such as strategy, global context, communication, and an emerging suite of new leadership skills to make the necessary change our planet and society needs to ‘thrive today and tomorrow.’”

ASU has answered the call for sustainability leaders by establishing the School of Sustainability and Global Institute of Sustainability. The Institute launched the new Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives in which one particular initiative starting this January, the Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership, targets current and future business professionals who want to incorporate sustainability into every sector of the workplace but don’t yet know how.

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ASU launches Walton sustainability scholarship program

October 24, 2013

To encourage and reward candidates for the Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program, the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University will offer scholarships of up to $15,000 per student. This dedicated financial assistance was made possible due to a $100,000 fund established through the institute’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.

The Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program is designed for mid-career professionals working to advance sustainability initiatives. Recipients of the Walton Sustainability Executive Scholarships will be selected based on their leadership potential and previous achievements.

Online applications are currently being accepted for the program’s inaugural class until Nov. 18. For more information about the Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership, the Walton Sustainability Executive Scholarship Program or how to apply, contact program adviser Jennifer Griffin at (480) 727-3097 or visit

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Student clubs offer sustainable outlets

October 23, 2013

Sustainability-Student-GroupsAt Arizona State University (ASU), sustainability is a core value – not just of university leadership, but also of many students across the university’s campuses. ASU has student groups related to virtually any interest. Here’s a list of groups related to sustainability. If you’re interested in living, learning about, or solving problems of sustainability, consider joining one or more of these organizations.

Clubs that bring sustainability to ASU campuses »

Clubs for sustainability education and networking »

Clubs for living sustainably »

Clubs for collective action and sustainability solutions »

Learn more about ASU student organizations at Think your group should be included on one of these lists? Contact us at

Sustainability students create documentary on transforming education

October 23, 2013

In School of Sustainability professor David Manuel-Navarrete’s SOS 494 course, Sustainability Leadership and Social Change, students created, edited, and filmed a documentary highlighting the transformations that Arizona State University and the Sustainability branch at CREST (the Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology) are undertaking to put sustainability at the center of education.

“By making the documentary, the balance of power within the class is altered; the instructor is no longer a purveyor of information and the students are not just the consumers,” Manuel-Navarrete says. “Instead, it becomes a process of co-production. The co-production allows the students to effectively absorb the course’s teachings.”

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School of Sustainability teaches impact of climate change to International Finance Corporation members

Institute Press Releases

October 22, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 22, 2013 — Tasked with determining how best to invest global money in developing countries, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) consulted Arizona State University (ASU) for expert sustainability advice, October 15-16 at ASU.

“Our scientists and faculty bring transdisciplinary expertise, applied research and solutions to global challenges, turning knowledge into action,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “We are honored to contribute that level of experience and applied science to support the exceptional work of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and to help the IFC.”

More than 40 IFC Climate Business Group members from around the world gathered in Tempe for the two-day “short course” about implications of climate change, presented by various experts from ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability.

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Visit ASU’s Wrigley Hall on the 2013 Solar Tour

October 21, 2013

IMG_9756_0472Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has proclaimed October to be Arizona Solar and Renewable Energy month and to celebrate, the 2013 “Living with the Sun” Solar Tour kicks off this weekend Saturday-Sunday, October 26-27. ASU’s own Wrigley Hall, the headquarters of the School of Sustainability and Global Institute of Sustainability, is scheduled on the tour for both Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-4:30 p.m.

The tour is self-guided, but there will be building experts on hand at Wrigley Hall to talk about the building’s specific sustainability aspects including the solar and wind systems, recycled materials, and native vegetation. Wrigley Hall is located at 800 S. Cady Mall on ASU’s Tempe campus on the corner of College Ave. and University Dr.

Tour locations map

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Sustainability Scientists identify climate-friendly crops for AZ farmers

October 21, 2013

With water levels dipping in Lake Mead and population growth at an all-time high, policymakers, government agencies, and growers need to be equipped with proper water-saving agriculture and agro-ecosystem methods. To provide guidance on crop variations and water-conserving cropping patterns, Senior Sustainability Scientist Soe Myint and the Agri-Business Council of Arizona organized a workshop at ASU SkySong on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.

Local farmers, USDA, Maricopa County Farm Bureau, Arizona Department of Water Resources, and other stakeholders worked with scientists to compare crop types to alleviate growing season risk and potentially increase profit while saving water for farmers in Arizona. Senior Sustainability Scientists Libby Wentz and Rimjhim Aggarwal served as speakers and Senior Sustainability Scientist Nancy Selover offered her expertise as the AZ State Climatologist.

Myint is the principal investigator of the NOAA-funded project, “Evaluation of Drought Risks and its Impact on Agricultural Land and Water Use to Support Adaptive Decision-Making” with additional funds being supplied by ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research and Decision Center for a Desert City.

Call for Entries: The St. Andrews Prize for the Environment

October 18, 2013

Arizona State University scientists and student researchers are welcome to enter their environmental conservation projects in the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment.

Since 1998, the Prize has awarded works that address human/animal conflicts, water issues, air quality, solar power, food supply, and community regeneration. The top project will win $100,000. The second and third finalists will each win $25,000.

The St. Andrews Prize for the Environment is an international initiative by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the independent exploration and production company, Conocophillips.

Entries should be submitted online by October 31, 2013.

Peace conference cultivates sustainable agriculture

Institute Press Releases

October 15, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 15, 2013 — The annual Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability (EmPeace LABS) conference takes place October 19-26 in Maharashtra, India to connect global farmers in a network that will further sustainable farming methods and establish peaceful communities in developing countries.

The EmPeace LABS conference is coordinated by Arizona State University (ASU), Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd., and the Gandhi Research Foundation. Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful perspective is a core inspiration for the conference’s curriculum.

“When people are hungry, they fight for resources,” says Marek Wosinski, conference organizer, senior sustainability scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, and senior lecturer in ASU’s Department of Psychology. “If you want to create stability, you need to secure food.”

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Institute shares sustainability through events

October 15, 2013

Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and its School of Sustainability host many events throughout the year, both on campus and off. These events not only bring world-renowned thinkers and doers, many in our own backyard, from academia, business, and government to ASU; they also provide an outlet for ASU to present its own sustainability research to the public and engage the community in dialogues to address sustainability challenges.

Events are free and open to the public, up to room capacity, so RSVP early. Visit for a list of upcoming events.

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ASU’s Decision Center fosters future science, engineering careers

October 15, 2013

At the National Science Foundation’s “Change the World: Science and Engineering Careers Fair” in Virginia, representatives from ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) inspired young students to consider science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career paths.

“It is vital to expose students in STEM research at an early age to inspire their love of science, improve their confidence in their own ability to pursue education in STEM fields, and show them how research and modeling can help improve their lives and the lives of friends and family,” says Dave White, co-director of DCDC.

Program manager Liz Marquez and graduate research assistant Rashmi Krishnamurthy showcased DCDC’s WaterSim, a simulation model that predicts future water outcomes based on situational factors. The program is used by water managers and K-12 teachers.

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Sustainability a means of achieving change for alumnus

October 15, 2013

Mariela CastanedaMariela Castaneda is a water resource specialist at the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), a job she attained following an internship there during her senior year at Arizona State University (ASU). She graduated in 2013 from ASU’s School of Sustainability.

The Glendale, Ariz. native and graduate of Copper Canyon High School considered Northern Arizona University as well as the University of Arizona, but decided on ASU because of the financial support she received here.

Continue Reading » Should we demolish Glen Canyon Dam?

October 15, 2013

Environmental Reporter Brandon Loomis investigates the wicked problem of keeping or destroying Glen Canyon Dam, a decision that seems to have no positive outcomes. Water managers, some scientists, and activists would like to see the dam removed in order to drain Lake Powell and feed a drought-stricken Lake Mead, a water source for major cities including Las Vegas and Phoenix. Draining Lake Powell would also return Glen Canyon to its former, natural glory.

However, some suggest negative consequences if the dam is to be removed. ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City co-director and senior sustainability scientist Dave White says removing Glen Canyon Dam would rid thirsty cities of a captured and stored water supply.

“(Dam removal) would be fairly catastrophic,” says White, also an associate professor in the School of Community Resources and Development. “We have too much demand on an annual basis to be met by the natural in-flow of the river.”

He says if anything, Glen Canyon Dam would be re-designed, improved, and repaired.

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Welcome new Dean Christopher Boone

October 14, 2013

Christopher Boone, a noted scholar on sustainable urbanism, environmental health, and environmental justice, has been serving as interim dean since July 2013. Boone is also a professor in the School of Sustainability and School of Human Evolution and Social Change and co-principal investigator of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project.

“Professor Boone’s extensive work in sustainable urban infrastructure, public health, and environmental justice gives him a unique insight into assembling the environmental, economic, social, and cultural pieces of the global sustainability puzzle,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “His holistic approach to finding answers to pressing challenges and passion for transforming sustainability education into use-inspired research and practice will train a new generation of students and practitioners to do the same.”

Boone has co-authored two books on urban sustainability, “City and Environment” and “Urbanization and Sustainability.” He currently serves on the editorial boards of journals such as International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development and Environmental Justice. He is also the associate editor of the journal Current Research on Cities and co-editor of a new book series, called “New Directions in Sustainability and Society.”

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Sustainability scientist, biodesign expert wins 2013 Innovation Award

October 14, 2013

Nongjian (NJ) Tao, a senior sustainability scientist and director of The Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors in the Biodesign Institute, is a winner of the Fourth Annual Innovation Award from Microscopy Today. Tao developed the technique he calls Plasmonic-Based Electrochemical Microscopy, or P-ECM, that identifies local chemical reactions of individual nanoparticles.

The method increases speed of imaging, is non-invasive, and could be used in drug and vaccine development.

“While many people are pushing the spatial resolution of microscopy, we are interested in creating new capabilities to image local chemical reactions at extremely fast time scales,” Tao says. “I am glad this effort has been recognized.”

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Triple Pundit: Patricia Reiter on corporate social responsibility

October 14, 2013

In Triple Pundit’s series, “Women in CSR,” ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives’ (WSSI) Director Patricia Reiter describes her role as a female director of a social enterprise within a working university. As the director of WSSI, Reiter leads a team that delivers sustainability solutions, education, and methods to corporations, NGOs, and municipalities.

“Through a generous investment of $27.5 million of seed funding by Rob and Melani Walton, the eight Initiatives [of WSSI] focus on leadership, innovation, and action to co-develop and deliver sustainability solutions, accelerate global impact, and inspire future leaders,” Reiter says.

Reiter says she loves to continue to learn about sustainability and global issues from the many scientists in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and students in the School of Sustainability.

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Sustainability student gains experience for the future

October 14, 2013

Sustainability Student Kevin KeleherKevin Keleher transferred to ASU from Mesa Community College in 2011. He enrolled in Barrett, the Honors College, double-majoring in supply chain management and sustainability. He is set to graduate in Spring 2014.

One thing Keleher has learned from the School of Sustainability is that it’s not enough to have a theoretical understanding of sustainability. To succeed in landing the sustainability-related job of one’s dreams, experience is needed.

Keleher and four other ASU students co-founded a student sustainability consulting service that enables ASU students to gain experience applying their knowledge and enables organizations to begin embracing sustainability. He also interned at PepsiCo, helping the company’s Tolleson facility divert over 400,000 pounds of waste per year from the landfill.

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Sustainability Scientists make bacteria create electricity

October 12, 2013

César Torres and Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, both senior sustainability scientists, partnered with the Biodesign Institute’s Jonathan Badalamenti to study the relationship of light-sensitive green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium and anode-respiring bacterium Geobacter and how the two generate electricity. These bacterium may help create clean energy from waste sources.

“When you put these two organisms together, you get both a light response and the ability to generate current,” says Badalamenti.

The researchers hope their work will lead to more studies on microbial fuel cells like bacteria in order to create a more sustainably fueled future.

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