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Documenting the climate crisis in Norfolk, Virginia

January 27, 2020

With Hurricane Dorian threatening in late August 2019, staff from Arizona State University traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to investigate and film flooding due to the climate crisis. Norfolk is the site of the largest Naval base in the world and vital to U.S. national security. The city is also the first location in the U.S. where the threats and complications from sea level rise began in earnest.

This nine-minute documentary was produced by Steven Beschloss for the Global Futures Laboratory and co-produced, shot and edited by Kirk Davis for Knowledge Enterprise.

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Marchant is named AAAS fellow

ASU Now | January 23, 2020

Distinguished Sustainability Scientist Gary Marchant was recently elected by his peers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – one of eight fellows named in the Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering sector, for distinguished contributions to research, teaching and outreach at the intersections of law, science and biotechnology, including important work with legislative, executive and judicial groups.

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National Academy of Sciences honors Elkins-Tanton

ASU Now | January 22, 2020

The National Academy of Sciences has announced that Sustainability Scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton has been awarded the 2020 Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship. The Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship is awarded to a scientist making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth and whose lectures will provide solid, timely, and useful additions to the knowledge and literature in the field.

The prize was awarded to Elkins-Tanton for her lasting contributions to the study of the physics of Earth and for illuminating the early evolution of rocky planets and planetesimals. She will be awarded a $50,000 prize and funds to present a series of Day Lectures, which are provided by the Arthur L. Day Bequest. The award will be presented on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C., at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting and will be available via live webcast.

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ASU center makes global impact on ecology, conservation science

ASU Now | January 22, 2020

From working to save Hawaiian coral reefs during the 2019 Pacific Ocean warming event to empowering hundreds of students and researchers with data from the largest constellation of satellites currently in orbit, Arizona State University’s recently launched Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science is already making waves.

Established in January 2019, the center expands upon on a vision that Greg Asner, director of the center and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, began 18 years ago at the Carnegie Institution for Science on the campus of Stanford University. It’s based on Asner’s lab work of global coral reef mapping, measuring plant biodiversity in tropical forests and hiring and supporting new faculty with a similar vision of discovery and conservation impact.

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Creating a sustainable fashion industry

ASU Now | January 17, 2020

According to the United Nations Environment Program, 20% of the global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions can be traced back to one source: the fashion industry. The UNEP estimates that these statistics are “more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.” Alarmed by these numbers, Arizona State University students, staff and alumni, including the Business of Fashion group at ASU, are working to change it.

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Project Cities puts student talent on the map

ASU Now | January 14, 2020

The city of Apache Junction, Arizona has a complicated relationship with the 125 mobile home and RV parks within its city limits. Some of the parks are well managed and provide an attractive, affordable option for low income residents. But many are deteriorating, unsightly and do not conform to contemporary city codes, presenting a detriment to Apache Junction’s image as it works to attract visitors and boost economic growth.

In an effort to address this, the city partnered with the new-at-the-time Arizona State University program Project Cities, a program launched in 2017 to “connect higher education with local communities, creating a powerful combination of knowledge and know-how.” Apache Junction was the inaugural community partner during the 2017–18 academic year and renewed its partnership through the spring 2019 semester.

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ASU conservation scientist on a mission to save sea turtles

ASU Now | January 8, 2020

Ever since the magical experience of riding on a turtle while on a snorkeling tour at 12 years old, Jesse Senko has been obsessed with sea turtles. It’s an obsession that continues to fuel him as he works as a marine biologist and conservation scientist at Arizona State University to save the creatures.

“Fishing gear is the greatest threat to sea turtles worldwide,” Senko said. “Sea turtles are vital for the health of the world’s oceans. They perform fundamental roles in ocean ecosystems, many of which are not fulfilled by other species. And humans need healthy oceans to survive and thrive.”

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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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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.

Wu and Westerhoff are among world's most influential researchers

November 26, 2019

Sustainability Scientists Jianguo Wu and Paul Westerhoff joined nine other ASU colleagues in being named Highly Cited Researchers by the Web of Science Group for the year 2019. Globally, only about 6,200 academics have received this award, including 11 (one retired) from Arizona State University. Researchers who receive this honor are ranked in the top 1 percent of the most cited works in the last decade.

“Being cited by ones’ peers is a hallmark of highly respected work, and is demonstrative of the caliber of professionals dedicated to advancing impactful, cutting-edge research here at ASU,” said Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise and ASU’s chief research and innovation officer.

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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 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.

ASU professors named 2019 American Geophysical Union Fellows

August 30, 2019

Osvaldo SalaArizona State University professors Osvaldo Sala, a drylands researcher and Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences, and Meenakshi Wadhwa, a cosmochemistry expert and the new director of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, have been elected to the 2019 class of the American Geophysical Union Fellows. The election is an honor just 0.1% of AGU members in any given year enjoy. To be elected is a recognition of “attaining scientific eminence through achievements in research, as demonstrated by a breakthrough or discovery, innovation in science or the development of methods and instruments, or sustained impact," according to the AGU.

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ASU, CI and Potsdam researchers explore future of Alto Mayo, Peru

August 29, 2019

People sitting around table talking and brainstormingWhat is the future of coffee in a changing climate? How can we enhance the livelihoods of farmers while protecting the nature that surrounds them?

Conservation International and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research partnered with Arizona State University to help answer these questions.

“Farmers and government planners are making decisions today based on their past experience,” ASU-CI Professor of Practice and CI Peru's Director of Science and Development Percy Summers said. “This works in a [short-term, predictable] world, but increasingly change has become the new norm.”

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Sala elected president of the Ecological Society of America

August 17, 2019

Osvaldo SalaOsvaldo Sala, a Regents and Foundation Professor at Arizona State University and a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, was elected on August 16 as president of the Ecological Society of America. Elected by ESA members during the society’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Sala will be president for a one-year term that ends in 2020. He is the first Hispanic person to serve as president in the organization's century-long history.

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ASU professor predicts future shortages in state rivers

ASU Now | August 16, 2019

Heather BatemanExtreme weather changes and a boom in population growth will result in a declining of the rivers in Arizona, according to an Arizona State University professor. Heather Bateman, a field ecologist and an associate professor in ASU’s College of Integrative Arts and Sciences predicts that the steady rise of Phoenix’s population will increase the consumption of water which will in turn reduce the amount of water in streams. Bateman has conducted research that shows that in highly modified rivers, there is also a “lower diversity of lizards, amphibians and small mammals.”

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ASU alumni incorporate sustainability into diverse fields

ASU Now | August 15, 2019

hand holding tiny globeAs three Arizona State University alumni — Debbie Namugayi, Katherine Palmer and Patrick Ware — show, sustainability practices can be implemented into any career.

As a sustainability manager at Eastern Kentucky University, School of Sustainability alumna Debbie Namugayi works to implement broad policy sustainability initiatives across the entire campus. She also works on engaging students who aren’t necessarily concerned about sustainability, taking a different approach by incentivizing them with fun activities rather than asking them to make sacrifices. She previously worked at the University of Maryland where she promoted a “green chapter” program for Greek life and recently implemented a bike sharing project at the 16,000-strong Eastern Kentucky University.

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