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Sustainability News

ASU researchers helping Tempe deal with extreme-heat events

ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 20, 2018

Golden sunset with birds flying in the foregroundIt’s predicted to be 116 degrees in Tempe on Tuesday. Scorching.

That kind of extreme heat is a dangerous annual stress on city resources. Last year, the Tempe Fire Department responded to 141 calls for heat-related emergencies. There have been 84 heat-emergency calls so far this year.

So, Arizona State University researchers are working with the city of Tempe on ways to mitigate the effects on the people who live here. A team from the Urban Climate Research Center has several projects happening now, which the city discussed in a press conference on Wednesday.

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ASU sustainability alumnus Andy Stein named to '36 Under 36' list

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 17, 2018

Andy Stein smilingArizona State University School of Sustainability alumnus Andy Stein was just named to the seventh annual “Double Chai in the Chi: 36 Under 36” list, selected by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Leadership Division (YLD). The list highlights the societal contributions of Chicago’s young Jewish population.

“To see so many people creating new opportunities that better our community is truly inspiring,” said Alex Entratter, current YLD campaign chair and former honoree. “This is just the beginning of a bright future for these individuals and the community they are impacting."

Stein graduated from ASU with a Master of Sustainability Solutions. While at ASU, Stein was concurrently a Project Manager for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. Now, Stein is a Sustainability Program Coordinator at Northwestern University, where he focuses on the university’s Built Environment Program. He has a particular interest in sustainable building practices and incorporating sustainability into business operations.

When asked by the “36 Under 36” list’s organizers to describe himself in 10 words or less, Stein responded: “Passionate about creating a healthy and sustainable future for everyone.”

Psyche mission aims to help scientists understand Earth’s core

ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 17, 2018

Artist's rendition of Psyche asteroid with spacecraft in backgroundThree times farther from the sun than Earth, a massive asteroid made of metal floats in space between Mars and Jupiter. Its name is Psyche, and it could be the core of an early planet that survived violent collisions when the solar system was forming. Psyche was the sixteenth asteroid ever discovered, in 1852, but only recently has a spacecraft mission been initiated by Arizona State University and NASA to study this asteroid in more depth.

Unlike most other known asteroids, which are primarily rocky, Psyche appears to be made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal — much like Earth’s own core. According to ASU’s Psyche website, “The asteroid Psyche may be able to tell us how Earth’s core and the cores of the other terrestrial (rocky) planets came to be.” Scientists can’t investigate Earth’s core directly, so studying an asteroid with a similar makeup may be the next best thing.

ASU leads the Psyche mission, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for its management, operations and spacecraft navigation. The spacecraft is slated to launch in 2022, and then it will spend nearly four years cruising through space, using the gravitational field of Mars to increase in speed, until it reaches Psyche in 2026. Upon arrival, the spacecraft will orbit Psyche for 21 months, mapping and studying the asteroid’s properties.

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Meet sustainability alumna Diane Trimble

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 12, 2018

Diane Trimble stands with Dean Chris Boone at the School of Sustainability convocation as she receives her master's degreeDiane Trimble now has two degrees from Arizona State University, but the journey to those achievements wasn’t easy. Trimble dropped out of college in Nevada in the mid-1990s, but in recent years, she wanted to become a better role model for her sons and community. Thus, she enrolled in online classes at Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan partnership and earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2016. But she didn’t stop there. This year, Trimble graduated from the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) program in the School of Sustainability.

We asked Diane questions about how her ASU education has changed her life for the better and what sustainability means to her.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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ASU Carbon Project launched to reach neutrality by 2025

ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 11, 2018

ASU students and utility volunteers plant trees as part of a carbon offset projectArizona State University means business when it comes to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The University Sustainability Practices (USP) team is leading the charge and recently launched the ASU Carbon Project, a program that “purchases and generates offsets for difficult to mitigate ASU carbon emissions at the rate of about 44,000 metric tons each year,” according to the project’s website.

Though the university is taking action to reduce carbon emissions by using energy-efficient lighting, upgrading HVAC systems, installing solar panels on campus and more, not all emissions can be eliminated entirely. The good news is these emissions can be canceled out by purchasing carbon offset credits and supporting local projects that mitigate carbon.

Corey Hawkey, the Assistant Director of USP, said that they are developing local projects that directly support ASU research efforts related to urban forestry, walkability, shade and urban heat islands. “We are going to be working with the Urban Climate Research Center to plant trees where they want to ‘test’ them,” he added, referring to efforts in the Valley to fight urban heat islands led by David Hondula, a Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

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Solar technology seeking a balance

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

July 11, 2018

Solar panels line the top of a building on ASU campus in TempeArizona. Where you don’t have to shovel sunshine, as the old tourism ads chortled. At Arizona State University, students and alumni are Sun Devils. The sun is in the university logo. Solar panels cover almost every structure.

It’s natural then that solar panels take the biggest slice of ASU’s energy research pie. Financial estimates for the next decade point to more than $1 trillion invested in renewable energy globally.

Read the full story on ASU Now to learn more about the evolution of solar energy technology happening at ASU, where researchers are look to find affordable, reliable solutions.

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Meet Senior Sustainability Scientist Christine Buzinde

ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 10, 2018

Christine-Buzinde-Navajo-Nation-Visit1This spring, Arizona State University surpassed 500 sustainability scientists and scholars at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The 500th member was Christine Buzinde, a professor at the School of Community Resources and Development, an academic director for youth leaders and a sustainable tourism researcher and advocate.

Buzinde answered several questions for us below about the significance of sustainability in tourism and the value of youth-centered social change.

Question: How would you describe your work?

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Meet sustainability master's student Anthony Contento

School of Sustainability News

July 10, 2018

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingAnthony Contento, an Arizona State University School of Sustainability student, wasn’t looking to get a master’s degree. But after he found out about the Master of Sustainability Leadership, he couldn’t help but enroll. It was the perfect opportunity to learn how to apply sustainable practices to his family's New York business in construction and demolition debris recycling.

On top of working on his master’s degree, Contento recently earned a LEED Green Associate certificate because, he said, “the area of green building is closely related to construction and demolition debris recycling.”

Contento answered a few questions for us about how he will use his sustainability degree to build a more sustainable future in New York State, where he lives.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

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ASU’s CAP LTER urban ecology program funded for another four years

ASU Wrigley Institute News CAP LTER News

July 9, 2018

Two researchers stand in mud and hold cameras at Tres Rios, ArizonaFor 20 years, Arizona State University’s Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program has been studying the Phoenix urban ecosystem from a holistic, interdisciplinary and social-ecological perspective. The National Science Foundation has funded CAP through grants since 1997 as part of its national network of 28 LTER sites. Recently, news broke that the fourth phase of CAP research will be fully funded through 2022.

“I was at a remote field camp in South Africa teaching my study abroad program when word came from the NSF that a decision had been made,” said Dan Childers, CAP’s director and School of Sustainability professor. “We didn’t even have cell service where we were, so I called our NSF program officer on a satellite phone. It was wonderful to get this very good news while in such a beautiful place!”

Much of the current CAP research is focused on urban ecological infrastructure, which is effectively everything except the built environment. The overarching goal of the program is to foster social-ecological research aimed at understanding complex urban ecosystems, using a holistic perspective while enhancing urban sustainability and resilience. The CAP research enterprise is organized around eight interdisciplinary research questions and includes nearly 60 ASU faculty from all four campuses, scientists from several other universities, and dozens of students and postdoctoral scholars.

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ASU on the forefront of a Great Transition

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

July 9, 2018

Aerial view of a city skyline with a river at sunsetThere is a Great Transition underway, a colossal shift from fossil fuels to wind, plants, natural processes and our sun. It’s born from technological innovation and necessity. If humanity continues to dispel the dark entirely with carbon fuels, we will eventually wipe ourselves out.

Renewable energy sources are no longer the sole province of Northern California hippies and hard-core Alaskan survivalists.

Are we skipping blithely toward a clean-air future, with solar panels on every roof and an electric car in every garage? Not at all. Experts agree your energy future will involve a mix of sources. It will also involve solving a massive problem that is composed of thousands of problems itself.

Read the full story on ASU Now to learn what Arizona State University researchers are doing to develop scalable, renewable energy solutions for the "wicked problem" of fossil fuel consumption.

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Student helps expand bike share program, LEED certification in Phoenix neighborhood

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

July 9, 2018

During a 4 month internship, Ethan McCloskey, a Bachelor’s of Science student at the School of Sustainability, used his drive and work ethic to participate in the Stardust Affordable Housing Internship with the City of Phoenix. The department was so impressed with his work that now, after graduation, he is employed with his former supervisor expanding on the projects he worked on as an undergrad.

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Julie Ann Wrigley creates new sustainability scholarship

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 5, 2018

ASU student walks across the stage at School of Sustainability convocationJulie Ann Wrigley isn’t one just to talk about what needs to happen in society. She takes action. At Arizona State University alone, Wrigley has invested more than $50 million dollars in something she believes deeply in: sustainability.

Without Wrigley’s investments in ASU, the university wouldn’t be the leader in sustainability that it is today. Her philanthropy at the university started in 2004, when she joined ASU President Michael M. Crow at a pivotal retreat where many of the world’s sustainability leaders discussed challenges facing our planet and what a university could do to address them. At this retreat, the vision for an interdisciplinary sustainability institute was born.

Wrigley helped make this vision a reality with an initial gift of $15 million dollars. In doing so, she became the co-founder of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, a dynamic hub of research, education and solutions. After Wrigley invested another $25 million in the institute, it was renamed after her in 2014.

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Meet sustainability alumna Genevieve Pearthree

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 2, 2018

Genevieve Pearthree smilingArizona State University School of Sustainability alumna Genevieve Pearthree knew what she wanted to do in a career and forged her own educational path to get there. After creating her own bachelor’s degree in California, as she explained in the interview below, Pearthree graduated with concurrent ASU master’s degrees: a Master of Science in Sustainability in 2018 and a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning in 2017.

In April 2018, Pearthree attended the American Planning Association’s national conference in New Orleans and was awarded the American Institute of Certified Planners Student Project Award for Applied Research. She received this award for her grant-funded work discussing affordable housing in Ketchum, Idaho — a small city that relies heavily on tourism. Pearthree also serves on the School of Sustainability Alumni Board and is involved with the American Planning Association and the Arizona Planning Association.

Pearthree is now an Associate Planner with the City of Flagstaff’s Current Planning department, working with planners and developers to shape Flagstaff's urban form and meet long-term city goals around sustainability, walkability, public transit, open space preservation, affordable housing, historic preservation and more. She took a break from her busy schedule to talk sustainability and offer advice for current and future School of Sustainability students.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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ASU sustainability alumnus gears up for carbon-neutral road trip

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 29, 2018

John Martinson shows off his Tesla at Green Living AZ event in Scottsdale, ArizonaTo Arizona State University alumnus John Martinson, “range anxiety” — the fear of becoming stranded in an electric vehicle after the battery dies — is a state of mind, not an actual concern.

With a bit of planning, a cross-country road trip in an electric vehicle is possible. And Martinson should know: On July 1, he’s embarking on a monthlong father-son road trip from Arizona to Canada and back in his new Tesla, which advertises up to 310 miles of range.

Completing an ambitious road trip in an electric vehicle may worry some people, but for Martinson, it’s another way to live his values. Martinson is a recent graduate of the ASU School of Sustainability’s Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program, and he’s also the school’s alumni board president. Before he graduated from the school, Martinson co-owned the successful China Mist Tea Company for 34 years. He believes in natural capitalism, which is a business model that takes into account the value of earth’s natural resources and ecosystems.

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Graduate student rides the solar curve to a Master of Sustainability Solutions

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

June 27, 2018

Devon Rood completed her Solar Duck Curve and Sustainable Storage Options project in April 2018 as the culminating project for her Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) degree.

Working with Arizona Public Services (APS), Rood’s goal was to evaluate the most sustainable energy storage option out of the three potential options APS was considering. These included pumped hydro energy storage, compressed air energy storage, and Lithium-ion batteries.

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Real-World Learning Experiences site helps professors teach hands-on sustainability

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Sustainability Connect News

June 26, 2018

Four students stand on a hillside and look off to the horizonAs a professor, it can be hard to implement real-world projects and activities into lesson plans. That’s why a team of Arizona State University sustainability researchers, staff and students created a website, “Real-World Learning Experiences for Sustainability,” to help instructors design different kinds of applied projects and implement them into coursework.

“We wanted this to be an open access tool to help facilitate real-world learning — not just at ASU, but anywhere in the world,” said Sydney Lines, Project Coordinator for Sustainability Connect, a platform for applied projects in sustainability problem solving at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Lines designed the RWLE website using content developed by Katja Brundiers, a School of Sustainability Assistant Research Professor; Aaron Redman, a School of Sustainability doctoral student; and Dorothy Trippel Broomall, a School of Sustainability alumnus and adjunct faculty member.

The RWLE are divided into four levels: beginner to advanced, or freshman to senior. Each level revolves around a different concept: bringing the world into the classroom, visiting the world, simulating the world and engaging the world. The website provides a toolkit for each level of learning, including activities connected to the School of Sustainability’s core competencies, downloadable resources, links to videos and other assets, and featured real-world examples.

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ASU participates in Women Political Leaders Summit

ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 26, 2018

Hundreds of women stand together in a large auditorium for the Women Political Leaders SummitEarlier this June, Amanda Ellis, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, attended the annual Women Political Leaders Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. This event brought together approximately 400 female politicians, including heads of state, parliamentarians, ministers and mayors. Ellis was invited to attend as the moderator of a panel called “A Woman’s Place is in Politics” and also as the Master of Ceremonies to present the 2018 awardees.

The Women Political Leaders Summit started in 2013 and is designed to address global challenges, create action, and help female politicians exchange knowledge and best practices of political decision making. In addition, the summit works toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Five: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. According to the United Nations, “Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”

“The number of women in politics remains disappointing,” Ellis said. In 2017, less than six percent of the world’s heads of government were women, according to a United Nations report. “Yet research bears out the point made by [summit] panel member Esther Mcheka Chilenje, Malawi’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament: ‘When women are in power, we can lift up our colleagues and use our influence to help others and advocate for the legislative rights of women and children.’”

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Meet sustainability master's student Danielle Leoni

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 25, 2018

Chef Danielle Leoni wearing a chef's coat and smilingArizona State University Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership student Danielle Leoni certainly has enough accomplishments under her belt without a master’s degree. She is the executive chef and co-owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix; she owns her own business, Leoni's Focaccia; and she was recently named as a 2018 James Beard Foundation Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership program fellow. Last summer, Leoni was awarded a “Seafood Sustainability Seal” by the James Beard Foundation after she participated in its Smart Catch sustainable seafood program.

Even having accomplished all of that, Leoni is driven to learn and do more in the realm of sustainability — thus, her enrollment in the EMSL program in the ASU School of Sustainability. Read on for why she chose the program, how she balances all of her responsibilities and how she hopes other restaurants will incorporate sustainability into their practices.

Question: Why did you decide to join the EMSL program?

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Meet sustainability alumna Haley Paul

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 22, 2018

Portrait of ASU sustainability alumna Haley PaulWhen we heard that Arizona State University School of Sustainability alumna Haley Paul became Audubon Arizona’s new policy manager, we knew we had to catch up with her. Paul graduated with a Master of Science in sustainability with a thesis examining the 1980 Groundwater Management Act and its impact on agriculture in south-central Arizona. After receiving her degree, she went on to work in fields related to water resources and water conservation before landing at Audubon Arizona in April 2018.

Paul answered several questions for us including how she became interested in sustainability and advice she has for current ASU sustainability students.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you received a degree in?

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Remembering ASU sustainability board member Bob Kates

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 20, 2018

Black-and-white portrait of Bob KatesRobert “Bob” Kates, an emeritus board member of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, passed away on April 21, 2018 at the age of 89. Kates’s family and friends remember him as collaborative, curious and creative — a man who asked big, complex questions and engaged others to help answer them. At the heart of everything Kates did was a question he often pondered with those closest to him: "How does one do good in the world?"

In addition to serving on the ASU Wrigley Institute’s board, Kates’s work was cited in the "Temozón Retreat Report," which was instrumental to the founding of the institute. His sustainability research — and much of his work — centered around another major question: “What is and ought to be the human use of the earth?” Kates described sustainability science as the most interdisciplinary field in his professional life.

With an academic and scientific mind, Kates’s impact spanned several universities and institutions. He was a geography professor at Clark University in Massachusetts; he helped create what is now the Institute of Resource Assessment in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; he directed the Feinstein World Hunger Program at Brown University; he was a senior research associate at Harvard University; he was the executive editor of Environment magazine; and he was the presidential professor of sustainability science at the University of Maine.

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