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UREx SRN Alumni: Beating the heat in Phoenix neighborhoods

December 30, 2019

Melissa GuardaroSchool of Sustainability PhD graduate, Melissa Guardaro has made an impact on heat action planning in Phoenix, Arizona. As part of the Nature’s Cooling System Project, Guardaro strove to address social and geographical equity concerns related to heat mitigation and adaptation strategies in under-served areas. She partnered with local groups including the Nature Conservancy, community based organizations, city officials, and the public health department to develop heat action plans for three low-income communities: Edison-Eastlake Community, Mesa Care Neighborhood, and Lindo Park-Roesley Park Neighborhood.

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Environmental communication and leadership

December 18, 2019

Snow owl standing on leafless tree branchAre you a graduate student who is passionate about conserving nature? Do you sometimes wonder about the most effective way to influence change? Are you ready to take your communication and leadership skills to the next level? If so, the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Communication and Leadership (ECL) may be for you.

The ECL graduate certificate is a compilation of key courses designed to train graduate students in honing their leadership skills and communicating environmental science to the general public, stakeholders and decision-makers.

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We can course correct and save the melting Arctic

Medium | December 18, 2019

Two polar bears walking across thin Arctic iceThe Arctic is experiencing climate change more dramatically than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, the Arctic Ocean is expected to be virtually ice-free in the late summer within 20 years. These rapid changes not only affect life in the Arctic, but also the entirety of the planet.

In the newest article from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Rapid Changes in the Arctic: This Story is Not Just about Polar Bears," thought leaders Peter Schlosser, Stephanie Pfirman, Clea Edwards, Nina Berman, Steven Beschloss, Rolf Halden and Manfred Laubichler discuss the changing Arctic and what needs to be done to course correct. "To be clear, this is not all doom and gloom. There is a path forward," they say.

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Second Nature recognizes ASU as a climate leader

ASU Now | December 10, 2019

Several ASU students and staff on bikes outside of Old Main at ASUSecond Nature, a nonprofit organization focused on accelerating climate action in higher education, has recognized Arizona State University for cutting its carbon emissions and awarded the university “Marks of Distinction" for its climate actions.

Between 2007 and 2018, ASU cut its net carbon emissions by 28%, reducing its net carbon emissions per 1,000 square feet of buildings by 49% and its net carbon emissions per on campus student by 45%. The university did this while experiencing an increase in on-campus population of 30.5% and expanding campus buildings by more than 40%.

“The reduction in carbon emissions was accomplished through energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation changes," said Mick Dalrymple, director of ASU University Sustainability Practices. "Our progress has been made possible through collaborative action across the university and beyond. Teams have designed and constructed new buildings to be highly energy efficient, as well as extensively retrofitted existing buildings. Students have led the charge on cutting commuting emissions by taking up biking, walking and light rail, and moving onto campus in new residence halls or nearby.”

Dalrymple said ASU plans to be carbon neutral by 2025 in regards to campus buildings and the ASU vehicle fleet, and carbon neutral by 2035 in regards to commuting and air travel.

"We are continuously exploring opportunities for new types of clean energy, more efficient technology, new modes of working, more efficient use of space and the planting of more trees in concert with Phoenix and Tempe,” Dalrymple said.

Nature in Crisis

December 9, 2019

Gray image of dried up treesOn December 5, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber shared her insight on identifying key priorities in biodiversity efforts through a high-level conversation on Politico.

This talk called “Nature in Crisis” was joined by Rep. Raúl Grijalva from The House Committee of Natural Resources, Linda Krueger from The Nature Conservancy, and Nick Juliano from Politico, moderating the talk.

Much of the conversation addressed the dire consequences from the findings of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services global assessment, stating 1 million species of the estimated 8 million species of plants and animals on Earth are threatened with extinction.

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Bin less, recycle more

December 5, 2019

Miscellaneous glass containers to be recycledOn December 5, 2019, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes hosted Lucas Mariacher, the Zero Waste coordinator in the City of Phoenix.

Zero waste is an educational outreach program aiming to achieve zero waste by 2050. To achieve this goal, Mariacher discussed the common misconceptions about recycling and how to recycle properly.

“Arizona landfills produce 47 million cubic feet [of waste] per day, with landfills being the third largest producer of methane in the United States,” Mariacher explained.

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Environmental leadership in action

December 5, 2019

ocean water horizon against clear skyOn December 5, 2019, students from the ASU Graduate Certificate in Environmental Communication and Leadership (ECL) presented their group projects to representatives of the SEEOP Argo Research Sailing Vessel and the City of Phoenix’s Zero Waste initiative.

The core course in the ECL curriculum is taught by Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director and School of Life Sciences Professor Leah Gerber. Some of the training conservation students receive as part of this certificate includes honing leadership skills and learning how to address non-scientific audiences and stakeholders for increased reach and impact.

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Biodiversity present, Homecoming 2019

November 25, 2019

Girl stands by table and participates in hands on activity while volunteers assist herOn Saturday, September 23, 2019, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes participated in the university’s annual Homecoming block party.

The block party had 14 acres of over 100 tents with fun games, food and hands-on educational activities. Conservation students at our booth interacted with families and engaged them in biodiversity conservation related activities to educate them on its importance.

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Girls-only cybersecurity event attracts hundreds

November 20, 2019

2 Girls at computersASU’s CybersecurityDay4Girls attracted hundreds of middle school students to Arizona State University's West campus. The event was hosted in partnership with IBM to introduce young girls to the field of cybersecurity. Middle school girls are the focus of this program because women are typically underrepresented in cybersecurity roles.

CybersecurityDay4Girls covers topics to help middle school students and their families stay safe online in an ever more connected world. The program also introduces more advanced concepts like cryptography and blockchain. This exposure provides students with a better understanding of cybersecurity as a career and encourages them to consider pursuing it further.

“It’s important to make a specific reach to girls because they don’t see themselves in these roles yet,” said Jamie Winterton, director of strategy for ASU's Global Security Initiative. Winterton moderated a panel discussion between students and female cybersecurity professionals.

The Natural Capital Commitment

November 5, 2019

Farmers working the land on green pasturesASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes’ partner The Natural Capital Coalition has recently released The Natural Capital Commitment, which asks businesses to commit to conservation and sustainable decision-making within their organization.

In the past, our partnership with them led to the development of The Natural Capital Protocol for the Ocean. This protocol is a decision-making framework that helps organizations identify their direct impacts and dependencies on natural capital.

This commitment aims to enable businesses to act on their impacts, which will sufficiently restore their relationship with nature.

For more information, click here.

Marine wildlife conservation in Galapagos

October 28, 2019

Dr. Cardenas Diaz delivering talk in front of room filled with students and facultyOn October 24, 2019, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes partnered with the School of Life Sciences to host a Hugh Hanson Seminar by Professor Susana Cárdenas Díaz from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.

Cárdenas Díaz directs the university’s Institute of Applied Ecology and is a professor in the College of Biology and Environmental Sciences.

During the presentation, which was attended by 25 people, Cárdenas Díaz discussed preference data from a survey of tourists in the Galapagos National Park and its Marine Reserve. Their research investigated tourists’ willingness to pay for the recovery of two marine endangered species—the hammerhead shark and green sea turtle—through visitor fees and donations.

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Valuation of marine wildlife in the Galapagos Islands

October 16, 2019

Susana Cardenas sitting on boat, wearing hat and sun glassesThe ASU School of Life Sciences and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes invite you to a Hugh Hanson Seminar to learn about marine wildlife conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

This presentation will take place on Thursday, October 24, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the School of Life Sciences, Wing-C, room 202, ASU Tempe campus.

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP is required.

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The myth of infinite growth on a finite planet

The New Republic | October 7, 2019

Graph of exponential growthOnce upon a time, economists believed that there was a limit to economic growth.

Many economists held this belief, including founding fathers such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. They based this conclusion on, among other things, the fact that there was a limited supply of land. And for hundreds of years, the theory of finite growth prevailed as economists acknowledged the interdependence of natural and economic systems.

That is, until recently.

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ASU researchers to address the question of how religion and science intersect

October 1, 2019

Translucent Anatomical 3d rendering of person facing away with multicolored lights emanating from their mindResearchers from Arizona State University have launched a new project to explore how we reconcile our search for spirituality in a secular age of technoscientific advancements.

Titled “Beyond Secularization: A New Approach to Religion, Science and Technology,” the interdisciplinary initiative has received a $1.7 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust and has the potential to revolutionize how we understand the intersection of religion, science and technology in public life. It will establish a collaboratory that will include graduate students, postdocs and faculty who will develop and advance new research methods and understandings over the next several years.

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This Youth Movement is more than a moment

Medium | September 27, 2019

Youth of a community rallying for climate actionSince September 20, more than 6 million people have marched worldwide as part of the Global Climate Strikes, spurred on by a youth movement laser focused on making climate policy a priority. In the latest article from Global Futures Laboratory thought leaders, "Why the Youth Movement Matters," Peter Schlosser, Steven Beschloss and Nina Berman look at the wave of young people who are organizing and rallying around the notion that the climate crisis is not a future problem - it is a now problem.

You can read the response on Medium. To ensure you don’t miss any Global Futures Laboratory Medium posts, follow our Medium channel directly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn where we announce all new posts.

Conservation Solutions Laboratory scientists pen new commentary

View Source | September 24, 2019

Aerial view of deforestationMichael Brown, Samantha Cheng and Jim Tolisano, along with dozens of conservation and development researchers and practitioners representing ASU's Conservation Solutions Lab, have penned a new opinion piece, released September 24, 2019, on Mongabay. The scientists call for a crucial change in the way conservation efforts are undertaken.

The scientists argue that conservation efforts must specifically engage frontline communities – those people intimately situated in and around landscapes targeted for conservation – and elevate their role such that they can take the lead in planning and directing nature conservation.

Co-developing solutions with frontline communities requires groups that fund, implement and research conservation to revise their role and approach. In addition, learning from community experiences and adapting solutions over time can improve conservation efforts globally.

Exploring the effectiveness of Blue Water MPAs

September 20, 2019

Surface view of blue ocean water with mild wavesASU-Conservation International Professor of Practice Jack Kittinger, along with a team of experts from The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and California Environmental Associates have built a research agenda on Blue Water Marine Protected Areas via a report titled "Developing a Shared Research Agenda for Blue Water MPAs."

Blue Water MPAs are open ocean areas designated to protect marine biodiversity and other cultural and natural resources. The efficacy of marine reserves varies greatly depending on where they are located and how they are managed.

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