August 26, 2013
Every scientist knows it’s hard to keep track of data, especially if it’s data taken from hard-to-reach wildlife subjects. That’s why Senior Sustainability Scientist Heather Bateman and her colleagues in the College of Technology and Innovation created a mobile phone app that allows researchers to enter data at any time at a more accurate and faster level.
Bateman studies lizards and came across the app idea when she was finding errors in data collection. The current field methods allowed for more human errors than scientists would like.
“We realized this was a problem for us, and probably a problem for anyone who collects data in the field,” Bateman says. “Not having a way to track electronically while on site meant we couldn’t immediately check for errors or duplications.”
August 23, 2013
Arizona State University joins Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for World-Class Universities top 100 universities in the world list. Shanghai Jiao Tong University just released its 11th edition of “2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities.”
According to the authors of the rankings, ASU is “perhaps the most advanced globally in terms of merging the boundaries between academic disciplines. President Michael Crow has led Arizona in a strategy of differentiation, whereby the university’s academic profile is focused upon intellectual fusion around major international challenges.”
Within the report, ASU ranked 46th among all universities in the United States and 25th among all public U.S. universities.
August 22, 2013
To investigate the demand and uses of graywater or effluent in Arizona, Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) turned to a social networking and digital mapping program called WaterMatch. In 2011, ASU partnered with Intel and CH2M HILL to develop the program that “plays matchmaker” for graywater producers and consumers. DCDC is using WaterMatch to investigate the incentives, roadblocks, and constraints for wastewater reuse.
“This is important because there are many different groups that are pointing to water reuse as an important part of the solution for water sustainability,” says Dave White, principal investigator, co-director of DCDC, and senior sustainability scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.
Two School of Sustainability students, Saad Ahmed and Rud Moe, were data collectors for WaterMatch, locating water treatment plants in Arizona and New Mexico.
August 21, 2013
College of Technology and Innovation professor and Senior Sustainability Scientist Heather Bateman is joining Northern Arizona University professor Matt Johnson to study how the tamarisk leaf beetle influences wildlife populations in Southwestern riparian ecosystems like the Virgin River that stretches through Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Known as a type of “biocontrol,” the beetle could naturally eliminate non-native vegetation like saltceder without causing harm to wildlife.
However, the endangered flycatcher often nests in saltceder, creating a controversial environment to test the beetle biocontrol.
“Some researchers have identified a potential dilemma that the biocontrol beetle could defoliate saltcedar where the flycatcher is nesting and cause nests to fail,” Bateman says. “However, defoliation can occur at different times of the summer, depending upon beetle movement and densities. Therefore, it is important to determine the timing of saltcedar defoliation and flycatcher nesting.”
August 18, 2013
In a recent article, GreenBiz senior writer Heather Clancy highlights the many sustainability achievements and goals for Arizona State University, a “driving force behind the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.”
ASU aims to become carbon-neutral by 2025, a goal already in the works with 72 solar systems, electric vehicles, recycling and composting efforts, and sustainable purchasing.
To guide ASU’s sustainable purchasing efforts, the business and purchasing team uses an automation and process management application developed by SciQuest. The program is all part of ASU’s ”principled practice” philosophy, writes Clancy.
August 15, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – August 15, 2013 – Recognizing a gap in sustainability leadership education and development, Arizona State University, the nation’s leader in sustainability education, is launching a new executive master’s program focusing on organizational leadership. This new program will equip professionals with the skills to effectively integrate sustainability throughout all facets of their organizations.
Developed by ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program of the Global Institute of Sustainability, and housed at the School of Sustainability, the new Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) is a 13-month program designed for mid-career professionals currently employed in or near sustainability roles with its first class commencing in January 2014.
August 14, 2013
Each year, the Sierra Club’s magazine, Sierra, analyzes and rates national universities based on particular sustainability categories like food, transportation, and curriculum. This year, Arizona State University ranks 55 out of 162 universities. ASU shines in the curriculum, purchasing, and transportation categories, beating University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.
To be part of the annual rankings, university administrators are responsible for submitting answers to the Sierra Club’s questionnaire, sharing accomplishments and methods on sustainability practices.
To date, ASU generates a total of 20.8 MW of solar energy on all campuses and is developing a zero waste program with Waste Management. University employees and students are always finding ways to purchase sustainable materials and reuse supplies.
August 14, 2013
ASU chemical engineering graduate student Jared Schoepf, co-founder of SafeSIPP, a student-led startup in ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, has been named a top five finalist in the “College Entrepreneur of the Year” competition run by Entrepreneur Magazine.
SafeSIPP was founded by Schoepf and his fellow ASU chemical engineering classmates Lindsay Fleming and Taylor Barker, to solve three critical problems facing rural communities in the developing world: transportation, purification and storage of drinking water.
“The statistics are staggering,” says Schoepf. “More than 3,000 children die each day in developing countries because they don’t have access to clean, safe-to-consume water. When the SafeSIPP team set out to create our water system, we knew we had to address this issue as well as the transportation issue. So we invented a purification unit that attaches within the system so that, as the barrel is being transported, the water is simultaneously being purified as it moves.”
August 13, 2013
In the August issue of Green Living Magazine, newly appointed professor of practice and documentarist Peter Byck shares his expectations for his new fall course, Sustainability Storytelling. In a teaching position jointly shared between ASU’s School of Sustainability and ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Byck will show students how to film their own short documentary on solar power in Arizona.
“The first place that we’re going to delve into is all the solar work that’s going on in Gila Bend,” he says. “The class starts in August and we’ll start shooting in September.”
Byck is also working on his most recent documentary, a follow-up to his 2010 film, Carbon Nation called Carbon Nation 2.0, under a partnership with ASU.
August 13, 2013
In a Pacific Standard article, reporter Cameron Walker explores how yards across America are starting to look the same. He compares the nation’s yards to a checkerboard, especially when you look from up above in an airplane. Why is this happening?
Several of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) location researchers, including those from ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, are finding that increasingly urban cities are planting species similar to other urban areas instead of local flora.
Sustainability Scientist and investigator Kelli Larson surveyed Phoenix homeowners who said homeowner associations specified what plants could grow in their lawns, sometimes preferring exotic species. Fortunately, many Phoenicians are happy to adopt the natural, water-saving xeriscaping method.
August 12, 2013
In an article by GreenBiz.com producer Joel Makower, Arizona State University’s recently developed Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program is said ”to fill a critical gap in sustainability education in business.” Meant for those already in the business world, but looking to advance their education and background, the new program takes only a year to complete and is based around four curriculum themes: leadership, strategy, communication, and global context.
“One of the things we’ve found is that there’s a real yearning for organizations to understand what sustainability is and [how] it can add value to organizations,” says Christopher Boone, professor and interim dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability. “Ultimately, [sustainability is] about finding solutions. When we’re thinking about solutions, we need to think about not just how things work in theory, but how we can apply that theory to find solutions to complex problems.”
The first cohort begins in January. On Aug. 20, Joel Makower will host a one-hour webcast, The Secrets of Sustainable Leadership in Business, sponsored by the ASU Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program. Register here.
August 8, 2013
The 2012 edition of “Higher Education Sustainability Review,” a publication of the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights some of Arizona State University’s sustainable construction achievements.
Additionally, the U.S. Green Building Council, developer of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, has recognized ASU as having the most LEED-certified structures in the state of Arizona and the most LEED gold-certified new buildings.
Since 2009, ASU instated a Sustainable Design Policy for new construction and renovation projects on all campuses.
August 7, 2013
Daniel Culotta, who graduated from ASU’s School of Sustainability last spring, is now the Environmental Program Manager for the City of Avondale. He is responsible for assisting companies, facilities, and organizations in achieving environmental regulation compliance, but also for creating the city’s first-ever municipal sustainability plan.
“We’re creating the sustainability plan using an up-to-date, participatory, and evidence-based approach,” Culotta says. “This plan will serve as the foundation for action going forward.”
Culotta attributes his career success to the organizational and solution-focused experiences he had while at the School of Sustainability. He hopes that his new position will show people that sustainability is a fact of life.
August 6, 2013
Mimi Kessler, a doctoral candidate in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, visited the Russian Altai Mountains as a linguistic and cultural liaison for the Wild Altai expedition when she spotted two little ears on top of a ridge during a hike.
“Once I was certain of what I was seeing, I told the rest, ‘You are not going to believe this, but there is a snow leopard on that ridge,’” Kessler says. “My companions grabbed their binoculars, took a look and started yelling with joy. The cat continued to look at us for a few moments, then slowly walked further up the ridge and out of sight.”
The Russian snow leopard is listed as threatened due to illegal poaching and predator-prey conflicts. There are only a reported 90 leopards in Russia. The Altai Project, the expedition’s organizer, aims to balance sustainable community development in the growing region and conservation of endangered species like the snow leopard.
August 6, 2013
Arizona State University and the International Renewable Energy Agency are joining forces to bring solar power education to Pacific Island technicians and engineers. The partnership will bring a new solar training workshop led by ASU College of Technology and Innovation’s Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) and certification programs.
Solar power is especially important in island communities that greatly depend on hard-to-get fossil fuel imports. Solar power can also lead to more economic independence in the Pacific region.
“We are excited to partner with IRENA and for their support in advancing the future of sustainable energy and entrepreneurship in the Pacific Islands,” says Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation. “This is only the beginning of a collaborative partnership between ASU and IRENA, and we look forward to growing the relationship between the two like-minded institutions.”
August 6, 2013
In 2008, Arizona State University algae research turned into a real-life company with the establishment of Heliae. Existing and new investors recently gifted Heliae $28.4 million to expand its headquarters in Gilbert. The funds will go towards building Heliae’s first commercial algae manufacturing plant for personal care and nutrition supplement markets.
“The sustained support of existing investors, as well as the addition of new investors, demonstrates our momentum and continued success in scale-up,” says Dan Simon, president and CEO of Heliae.
Funding came from the Mars family, conglomerate Salim Group via Agri Investments Pte Ltd., Thomas J. Edelman, and others. Heliae is partnered with Arizona State University, Science Foundation Arizona, Algal Biomass Organization, and Wageningen University.
August 2, 2013
PHOENIX, Ariz. – July 31, 2013 – Local elected officials, business owners and advocates held a press conference today to highlight the impacts of climate change – including extreme heat, drought and air and water quality – on Arizona’s environment, economy and public health.
“The issue of climate change is big and daunting, it’s true,” said State Senator Katie Hobbs.
“But working together, we can create the change necessary to protect our home. It begins with simply caring for each other. When we care for each other, as fellow human beings, caring for our planet becomes a natural progression. I urge you to act with me today to move toward a healthier and brighter future.”
August 1, 2013
As part of Arizona State University’s health and wellness initiative, all university campuses are now officially tobacco-free. ASU joins about 800 national universities with the policy. Effective today, the new policy prohibits all manners of smoking, including smokeless tobacco products indoors and outdoors. The policy was initiated by students and is supported by the University Staff Council and the faculty Academic Senate.
In addition to making ASU a healthier, happier, more productive place to work and learn, the tobacco-free policy will reduce litter and maintenance expenses.
“Tobacco use is a documented public health hazard and the university is dedicated to providing a healthy, comfortable, and educationally productive learning environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors,” says Kevin Salcido, associate vice president of Human Resources and a member of the tobacco-free working group.
July 26, 2013
School of Sustainability Interim Dean Christopher Boone, together with Michail Fragkias, visiting professor at Boise State University and former executive director of the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change program based in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, edited a volume, Urbanization and sustainability: Linking urban ecology, environmental justice and global environmental change. The book was published in 2013.
Boone and Fragkias contributed a chapter to the volume examining the connection between environmental justice and sustainability. They suggest that vulnerability science could be a bridge between studies of local environmental justice and long-term, global sustainability studies.
Another chapter authored by a team of Arizona State University scholars – Bob Bolin, Juan Declet Barreto, Michelle Hegmon, Lisa Meierotto, and Abigail York – builds on previous CAP LTER research and examines shifting vulnerabilities, hazards, and risks in the Phoenix area.
Through case studies, analysis, and theory, the book brings together a range of scholars from urban ecology, environmental justice, and global environmental change research. In doing so, the editors have linked ideas, frameworks, and theories from the three fields to provide new, integrated insights on the pathways toward urban sustainability.
July 24, 2013
Note: Chris Spence is the director of the Institute at the Golden Gate, a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service that advances environmental stewardship and well-being through parks and public lands.
Do you ever feel like the news on climate change is stuck on repeat? Day after day and year after year, we seem to hear the same dire predictions from climate scientists and activists, the same calls to “act now before it’s too late!”
I first started working on climate policy in 1993, which coincidentally is the year the movie “Groundhog Day“ first screened. It’s about a selfish television weatherman doomed to repeat the same day time and again until he finally learns to change his ways.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve sometimes felt like I’m stuck in “Groundhog Day.” While the science is stronger than ever, working on climate policy can feel like being trapped in a time warp of inaction and paralysis. We all know the problem is real and growing, but serious action on a large scale sometimes seems beyond our grasp.