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Wrigley Sustainability Institute News

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 http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/ 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.

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AZCentral.com: 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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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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