October 30, 2013
School of Sustainability alumnus Cameron Childs (MA ‘12) has published her work in the September 2013 issue of Ecology and Society. Together with ASU Sustainability Scientists Abigail York, Dave White, and Michael Schoon, as well as Gitanjali Bodner of The Nature Conservancy in Tucson, Childs authored the article, Navigating a Murky Adaptive Comanagement Governance Network: Agua Fria Watershed, Arizona, USA.
The study analyzes perceptions about how multiple agencies work together to co-manage the Agua Fria Watershed in Arizona, using insight and personnel from the long-enduring co-management project, Las Cienegas. What they found was that general lessons and approaches from one project may be transferable, but particular institutions, management structures, or projects must be place-specific.
The study was part of a special feature on Exploring Opportunities for Advancing Collaborative Adaptive Management (CAM): Integrating Experience and Practice.
“Whether working in a desert watershed or the apparel and footwear industry,” says Childs, “collaboration is critical to addressing sustainability challenges. No one organization can do it alone.”
October 30, 2013
A study published October 27, 2013, in the journal Nature Climate Change says global warming will make water scarcer in some places. The implication for coal power plants, which require a lot of water to operate, is that they could become obsolete in water-scarce areas, overtaken by renewable energy like wind and solar.
School of Sustainability alumnus Chris Harto (MS ’09) was a contributing author on the report, which was the first to account for water availability as well as emission-reductions in calculating the most economical mix of energy technologies. Harto, now an environmental and energy analyst at the Argonne National Laboratory, was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article about the study.
“There’s a rate at which nature provides water,” Harto says. “When you start bumping up against that limit, you start running into some significant conflicts.”
October 29, 2013
Note: This month Tim Beatley’s Biophilic Cities Launch exhibit featured student photography and videos from Senior Sustainability Scientist David Pijawka’s Sustainable Cities course. The work explores local examples of biophilia in neighborhoods, public parks, and vacant lots.
When I describe myself as a “biophilic urbanist” as I sometimes do, reactions vary from quizzical looks to knowing smiles. But almost always my title serves to open a conversation about the quality of contemporary life and the important role of nature in our lives.
The concept of biophilia was popularized by Harvard biologist and entomologist E.O. Wilson. To Wilson, biophilia is “the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary and hence part of ultimate human nature.” We are carrying with us, so the argument goes, our ancient brains, and so no wonder that we are happier, more relaxed and productive in the presence of nature. Living a happy, meaningful life is certainly possible in the absence of nature, but much harder, as we increasingly understand that nature is not optional but essential.
Biophilic design has been well-articulated and convincingly adopted by architects, but relatively less attention has been given to understanding the implications of biophilia for the design and planning of urban neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan regions, otherwise known as biophilic cities.
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.
October 25, 2013
The 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.”
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.
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 leadersinsustainability.asu.edu.
October 23, 2013
At 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.
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.”
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.
October 21, 2013
Arizona 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/ for a list of upcoming events.
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.
October 15, 2013
Mariela 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.
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.
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.”
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.”