Wrigley Sustainability Institute News

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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Forum on water to link students, international experts

October 12, 2013

Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science are bringing together experts, students, and the public for the one-day forum “Adapting to a water-stressed West” on Nov. 4.

The West is a long-standing, drought-stricken part of the U.S. where population growth and consumption are increasing water needs, but little to no water is coming in. The forum hopes to promote a useful discussion on sustainable water methods and development challenges.

The forum also includes a student poster session and a demonstration of the Decision Theater – Water Simulation program developed by Decision Center for a Desert City. The deadline for submission of a poster abstract is Monday, Oct. 21. To register for the event or the poster competition, visit https://clas.asu.edu/aaas-swarm.

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Lincoln Ethics Symposium weighs sustainability, human rights questions

October 11, 2013

Arizona State University will host the 4th Annual Lincoln Ethics Symposium where students and community members will discuss and ponder current human rights and sustainability issues. The free Symposium is scheduled for November 12, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on the Tempe campus.

Several Sustainability Scientists will provide keynote lectures on the Symposium’s theme, “Are We Smart Enough to Save Ourselves? Are We Kind Enough to Save Each Other?” LaDawn Haglund, also an associate professor of justice and social inquiry, will examine our current consumption patterns and how they relate to our treatment of the planet and people.

Amy Landis, an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, will challenge the notion of greenwashing and sustainable product responsibility.

Also in attendance will be Braden Allenby, director of the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management. He will reflect on conflict’s role in civilization and question whether all conflicts are destructive or perhaps constructive.

The symposium also will be broadcast online; details are pending.

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Time to apply for the ASU President’s Award for Sustainability

October 10, 2013

sustainable-cities-networkTeams of ASU faculty and staff are encouraged to complete an application for the ASU President’s Award for Sustainability when they have successfully developed, implemented, and promoted sustainability principles, solutions, programs or services in the areas of teaching, learning, research, community outreach, or campus operations.

The application form is online. The submission deadline is Jan. 9, 2014. Teams that receive this award will be recognized by President Michael Crow at a reception and award ceremony in April 2014.

For more information, contact Linda Uhley in the Office of Human Resources at linda.uhley@asu.edu or visit www.asu.edu/recognition.



Peace linked to sustainable agriculture

October 8, 2013

It is estimated that the world’s population will reach 9.5 billion by 2050, pushing an already-stressed food system to the brink of exhaustion. Unfortunately, young generations are becoming less and less interested in agriculture. To inspire future farmers, Sustainability Scientists Rimjhim Aggarwal and Marek Wosinski organized this year’s “Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability” workshop taking place in India on Oct. 19-26.

The workshop will focus on in-field sustainable agriculture training for young community leaders from 18 developing countries.

“We want to show that this is not completely impossible; it will take time,” says Aggarwal.
“Sometimes you think a project won’t be successful, but then you meet someone who had similar difficulties and then see that yes, it is a huge task, but it has been done. And that is a tremendous source of inspiration.”

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Farmers market opens Oct. 8 at ASU Tempe campus

October 8, 2013

Just in time for the fall weather, the Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe is open for business starting today. This year, a new Sustainability Speakers Corner event series attracts local sustainability and gardening experts to share their knowledge and provide conversational lectures on anything from worm composting to chicken raising.

“The new event series is another great way to promote health and wellness on campus, as well as to build relationships and community ties,” says Betty Lombardo, University Sustainability Practices program manager. “By interacting with attendees, the food and gardening experts will help people connect with their food so that they can develop sustainable living practices.”

Students, faculty and staff are welcome to get involved with the Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe by contacting Betty Lombardo.

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ASU, Ameresco, RMI partner on climate

October 7, 2013

Arizona State University will further develop its strategic roadmap to climate neutrality by 2025 with Ameresco, the largest independent energy services-solutions provider in the U.S., and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit that aims to improve global energy consumption.

“Arizona State University, Ameresco, and RMI serve as living laboratories for ideas and experiments that are transforming the world in varied and meaningful ways,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. “We hope this effort creates a ripple of similar commitments from other institutions of higher learning, communities, and future generations of environmentally aware citizens across the globe.”

To achieve climate neutrality—or no greenhouse gas or carbon outputs—Ameresco and RMI will first draft a plan then identify additional funding sources for implementation. The two partners will also complete technical assessments across ASU’s four campuses.

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School of Sustainability students sort through waste for solutions

October 6, 2013

Students from ASU’s School of Sustainability, coordinators from ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, and managers from SRP and City of Phoenix conducted a waste audit of two SRP buildings at a City of Phoenix waste transfer station. Participants wanted to see the difference between the buildings’ waste streams, one from an administrative building and the other from a fieldwork building. The students and project leaders sifted through 2,000 pounds of trash to decipher waste and recyclable items.

“We’re learning that waste is actually a very valuable resource that we can utilize which is why I am involved in this; I want to see what we’re throwing away and how we can divert a lot from landfills,” says Tony Perez, an undergraduate in the School of Sustainability.

Many students observed the hidden intricacies behind our trash while sorting through food waste, soft plastics, colored glass, and paper products.

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Join us at ASU Homecoming 2013

October 5, 2013

PrintArizona State University’s 2013 Homecoming theme is “All that Glitters is Gold,” and the Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability want to celebrate everything gold and green!

Keep your eyes out for some “sustainable bees” at the Homecoming Parade starting at 11:00 a.m. Then join the Institute and School at the Homecoming Block Party that begins at 12:00 p.m.

At the Block Party, visit the School of Sustainability tent in Zone H, tent 155 (map) to receive sustainable swag, make your mark on the giant thumbprint tree, get your very own “bee sustainable” temporary tattoo, and test your knowledge on the giant crossword puzzle. Also learn how you can travel to Botswana with Senior Sustainability Scientist and ecologist Dan Childers to study African wildlife, a spring 2014 trip organized by the Arizona State University Alumni Association.

Come by the Institute’s tent in Zone H, tent 154 (map) to taste and purchase some locally grown dates, create your own newspaper seed planter with the ASU Arboretum team, learn how to compost, relax in the Zen garden, take a sustainability themed photo with your friends, play fun ecology games, and enjoy a bee-themed craft station.

Then stick around for some Sun Devil Football at 3:00 p.m.!

Saturday, October 19, 2013
11:00 a.m. Homecoming Parade
12:00 p.m. Homecoming Block Party
3:00 p.m. Football Kickoff
University Dr. and College Ave.
Arizona State University, Tempe campus



The Arizona Republic: The Valley as ASU’s lab

October 3, 2013

panch-az-republicIn his monthly Arizona Republic column, Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED), discusses the many sustainability initiatives and research undergoing in Phoenix that find solutions to issues like the urban heat island effect, transportation, housing, and health. Programs include ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research, the Global Institute of Sustainability’s Sustainable Cities Network, and ASU’s sustainability goals.

“At Arizona State University, we launched the Global Institute of Sustainability as a hub for concentrating expertise, training future leaders and conducting collaborative research,” Panchanathan writes. “We work closely with local governments and the private sector to develop policies and practices that help our communities and the world.”

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Boardroom Journal: Exploring sustainability’s impact on the global food supply chain

October 2, 2013

In the October 2013 issue of Boardroom Journal by Food Product Design, Senior Sustainability Scientist George Basile and The Sustainability Consortium’s CEO Kara Hurst comment on sustainability’s role in the global food supply chain.

In his article on pages 4-6, Basile writes that when people think about food, they don’t necessarily recognize the complex system behind their favorite sandwich. To correct this, he suggests a new sustainability lens in which to look at food. Food impacts many sustainability issues we have today: economic, social, and environmental. He writes, “Without secure food supply and access, sustainability is no more possible than the running of a machine is without fuel.”

In her piece on pages 11-12, Hurst asks how sustainable your business is. She writes, “Sustainable businesses care about what they do with the money that they make…They care more, however, about how that money was made in the first place.” The Sustainability Consortium is working on a sustainability index to measure product and service sustainability.

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Leadership through a sustainability lens: The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives to host Twitter chat

Institute Press Releases

October 2, 2013

Walton-GIOS-logo-vertJoin us for the #sustleadership chat w/ @bruno68 @WSSIatASU @triplepundit & @CSRwire on Oct 15 at 3:30pm EST! http://bit.ly/asu_csr #csr

TEMPE, Ariz. – October 1, 2013 – The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will convene a Twitter Chat on Leadership Through a Sustainability Lens. The chat will be co-hosted by professors George Basile, Senior Sustainability Scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability and Professor of Practice at ASU’s School of Sustainability, and Bruno Sarda, Director of Global Sustainability Operations at Dell and professor and consultant for ASU.

Sustainability enables a more complete understanding of the world around us. What kind of leadership is needed not only for individuals to succeed, but for organizations, communities and societies to thrive well into the future? Traditional MBA programs have taught future leaders to externalize problems, how to account for some things and not for others, and how to maximize profit and push risk off on society. Now, in order to address sustainability and the need to make businesses and organizations thrive into the future we need a new kind of exec/Master’s model.

In partnership with TriplePundit and CSRwire, experts from the nation’s leader in sustainability education will share their perspectives and seek feedback from the sustainability community.

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ASU, SRP research renewable energy

September 27, 2013

Salt River Project (SRP) and the Conservation and Renewable Energy Collaboratory (CREC) at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) has selected four projects to be funded to research renewable energy and conservation. Senior Sustainability Scientist Milt Sommerfeld’s work on algae and water quality will be allocated funds from the $170,000 grant.

“Industry partners like SRP are the foundation of the college and provide an important component of our project-based learning and applied research model,” says Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI.

Sommerfeld hopes to use algae to capture water contaminants and then use the resulting algae to produce biomass for fuel, feed, or fertilizer. The research will be conducted at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation where Sommerfeld serves as co-director.

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Transitioning to a Sustainable Urban Future

Thought Leader Series

September 25, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

Chris-Boone-croppedBy Christopher Boone

Note: Christopher Boone became the Interim Dean of Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability in July. He continues to teach in the School of Sustainability and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He recently co-edited the book, “Urbanization and Sustainability: Linking urban ecology, environmental justice and global environmental change.”

History shows that significant transitions are possible, and these radical changes can have far-reaching impacts on human beings and the environment. In a span of just three human lifespans—roughly 200 years—we have experienced demographic, energy, and economic transitions that have altered the human condition and our relationship with the planet. In the United States in 1800, birth rates were high, but life could be miserably short; people depended on animals, falling water, and wood for energy; and the economy was based on agriculture and resource extraction.

Today in the U.S., families are not large enough to replace the current generation, but people can expect to enjoy long lives; we are utterly dependent on fossil fuels for energy; and the economy is based mainly on services. The implications of these transitions are multi-faceted and complex, but they have contributed to, among other concerns, rising energy and material demands, global climate change, biodiversity loss, and increasing disparities of human well-being.

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School of Sustainability student examines climate change impacts on Nepali farmers

September 23, 2013

This past summer, School of Sustainability junior Tayler Jenkins traveled to the south Asian sovereign state of Nepal to assist Sustainability Scientist Netra Chhetri on his research investigating climate change impacts on farmer livelihoods. Jenkins collected fodder, turned buffalo excrement into fuel, and learned conservation farming methods.

“Living on the farm was cool because the Nepalis have such a slow pace, but they still get things done,” Jenkins says. “They are always in the present and their time is based on the sun.”

Jenkins also received a Neely Foundation Food and Agriculture Sustainability Research Grant for her self-proposed thesis topic on the community-based Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative.

See Jenkins’ photos from the trip »

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Sustainability Scientist co-leads Responsible Innovation institution

September 23, 2013

David Guston, a senior sustainability scientist and director of ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society, is set to bring a more social and ethical outlook to ASU’s research through the university’s new Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Virtual Institute will bring together an international team of concerned scientists, researchers, and students to instill more responsibility into emerging technologies.

“We are thrilled that NSF has chosen to advance responsible innovation through this unique, international collaboration,” Guston says. “It will give ASU the opportunity to help focus the field and ensure that people start thinking about the broader implications of knowledge-based innovation.”

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