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Sustainability News

ASU students partner with City of Tempe on sustainable purchasing

December 6, 2019

Led by Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor of public policy and management in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, students in SOS/PAF 545: Organizations, Sustainability and Public Policy have partnered with the City of Tempe to assist the city as it considers implementing a sustainable purchasing policy (SPP) to help it achieve its ambitious Climate Action Goals.

As part of the partnership, students from the class have spent the fall semester conducting research and working with the city’s procurement department staff and vendors to address four questions that would help the city think through its options as it considers how it might adopt an SPP:

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Two sustainability scientists awarded the honor of Regents Professor

November 22, 2019

Nancy GrimmTwo sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, out of five Arizona State University professors overall, were awarded the prestigious title of Regents Professor.

Nancy Grimm, a distinguished sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and Vijay Vittal, a senior sustainability scientist and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering professor are both internationally recognized experts at the apex of their fields. On Thursday, they joined an elite rank when their nominations were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

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Turning plastic waste into educational opportunity

November 20, 2019

Arizona State University students standing with $6,000 checkThree Arizona State University students have won $6,000 in startup funds through the Microsoft Community Impact Pitch-Off for their new circular economy project.

Brian Boyle, Matthew Burmeister and Andrew John De Los Santos — three master's students from the School of Sustainability — were awarded the funds for their project, "The Circular Classroom." The project aims to meet the needs of underserved high school students in the Phoenix metro area with the technology and support necessary to transform hard-to-recycle plastic waste (i.e., #5 Polypropylene plastic bottle caps) into low-cost 3D printed educational materials.

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Meet sustainability sophomore Jackson Schiefelbein

November 12, 2019

Jackson SchiefelbeinA native of Columbus, Ohio, Arizona State University sophomore Jackson Schiefelbein has always been driven to help others. So when he discovered the School of sustainability and ASU invited him to visit, he jumped at the chance and the rest is history.

"Upon learning of the School of Sustainability and the diversity of its offerings beyond environmental science, I knew this was the place for me," Schiefelbein said. "Thanks to ASU's generosity in inviting me to visit and providing significant support through scholarships and other resources, I was able to commit to making the move to ASU."

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Retired Air Force general describes how climate change impacts national security

ASU Now | November 8, 2019

highway bridge flooding after hurricane katrinaWhen we talk about climate change, we usually discuss its impact on the environment and our food supply. It is too often considered “just an environmental issue,” and so most people don’t realize it has other wide ranging effects — like the compromise of our national security.

In a lecture cosponsored by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the American Security Project and senior business leaders concerned about long-term planning of our national security interests, retired Air Force leader Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson shed light on the connection between these two seemingly unrelated concepts. Jameson, who previously served as deputy commander in chief and chief of U.S. Strategic Command and retired after more than three decades of active service, mentioned that the military sees two main threats in climate change: the fact that it is an “accelerant of instability” and the fact that it puts 500 installations (about 300,000 buildings) worldwide at risk.

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Rethinking corporate value with the Global KAITEKI Center

ASU Now | November 8, 2019

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi Chairman of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings CorporationYoshimitsu Kobayashi, Chairman of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, visited Arizona State University on Oct. 24 to kick off the Global KAITEKI Center's activities. This center is a partnership between ASU and the KAITEKI Institute, MCHC’s think tank and research institute. Kaiteki is “the sustainable well-being of people, society and planet Earth."

At the launch event, Kobayashi and ASU President Michael Crow shared their visions for a sustainable future, and the two organizations pledged to work together to advance these goals. In a new Q&A in ASU Now, Kobayashi explained how kaiteki became a driving principle for MCHC, how kaiteki can be applied in business management and why partnerships between industry and academia are essential to achieving this ambitious vision.

Jennifer Vanos awarded 2019 Climate and Health Champion Award

November 7, 2019

Dr. Jenni Vanos leading Tempe Heat Walk researchSchool of Sustainability assistant professor Jennifer Vanos was recently awarded Maricopa County's 2019 Climate and Health Champion award in the research category for her outstanding work in understanding the hazards and health outcomes associated with children's playspaces. Her work, which is supported by the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) initiative, evaluates how playspace design mediates exposure to heat, radiation and air pollution impacts.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Solutions student Kiana Mays

November 7, 2019

Kiana Mays“I’m passionate about the intersection of food and sustainability, as well as the beauty and fashion industries,” said Arizona State University student Kiana Mays. “The way we care for our bodies, on the inside and out, is truly a reflection of how we view and treat the outer world.”

Mays has manifested her interests in social responsibility, restaurants, food waste and wellness in a number of ways during her tenure at ASU, including a stint as a report writing assistant for the Project Cities program in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. As a former restaurant employee, she became aware of numerous social, environmental and economic issues that the industry faces on a daily basis.

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School of Sustainability launches new course in the spring

October 28, 2019

United States of America Department of Defense sealThe Arizona State University School of Sustainability is introducing a new course in the Spring 2020 semester. View course flier (PDF).

“Lean Startup Problem Solving for Sustainability” (SOS 594) will present students with complex problems critical to the government and challenge them to generate solutions to fit real time U.S. Department of Defense needs. The issues in particular will revolve around cyber security, AI, national security and energy networks. Students will also be offered the opportunity to invent new technologies with a team of their colleagues.

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ASU researchers working to extract clean fuel from sunlight

ASU Now | October 24, 2019

sunrise over a mountain ridgeOne of the most consequential questions of our time is: How do we generate enough energy to meet our needs?

The question is particularly important as previously reliable sources of energy, such as oil and coal, have been proven to pollute our planet with consequences ranging from a degrading air quality to a tilt in the fragile balance of the global climate. In an effort to address the question, researchers from the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery at Arizona State University are exploring new technologies that could generate alternate methods of energy to satisfy global demand.

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New ASU lab will address the social challenges of climate change

ASU Now | October 24, 2019

Power plant on the Navajo NationAs more locations across the country begin to transition to utilizing renewable energy sources, officials in such locations face a daunting task: How do they compensate the workers and communities that financially relied on those nonrenewable sources of energy?

While the question may be hypothetical, scenarios like that are not. One recently played out in Page, Arizona when the Navajo Generating Station closed down. The coal-fired power plant had operated for 40 years, serving as a financial support for the community of Hopi and Navajo tribes. Now that it’s closed, workers are at a loss as to how to meet their needs.

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Meet sustainability alumna Lizzy Noble

October 23, 2019

Lizzy NoblePhoenix local Lizzy Noble had always wanted to be an architect growing up. Ironically, it was in the pursuit of this goal that she developed a love for sustainability.

“My freshman year of high school, I enrolled in the EPICS/engineering program of my school," Noble said. "The director of this program was one of the first sustainability gurus I met and would always assign us 'green projects.'"

These projects in tandem with a field trip to Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability motivated Noble to head down the career path of sustainability. Noble is a recent graduate from ASU who studied business sustainability and supply chain management. In this Q&A, she takes us through her history and what she's doing now, as well as what sustainability means to her.

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Meet sustainability master's student Matthew Burmeister

October 23, 2019

Matthew BurmeisterArizona State University student Matthew Burmeister has been doing incredible work in sustainability with "Sustainable Sound: Festival Guide," a guide to making music festivals more sustainable, which originated from a Sustainability Connect project.

Based on his experiences, Burmeister has some "sound" advice for students who are inexperienced in sustainability projects: “Don’t give up — when I first came up with the idea for 'Sustainable Sound' I had zero connections with anyone in the festival industry or even any experience in event planning. Regardless of my unfamiliarity with the field, I wanted to do this project so badly that I took the time to reach out to industry professionals and dug into the existing research and frameworks. After countless phone calls, emails, pitches and rejections, I am now working with some of my favorite festival organizations to help them transform their events.”

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ASU researchers find mung bean supplement improves strength in vegetarians

ASU Now | October 23, 2019

vegetables arranged into the shape of a heart
Heart symbol. Vegetables diet concept. Food photography of heart made from different vegetables on white wooden table. High resolution product.
If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of years, chances are you’ve heard of a plant-based diet. According to Forbes, plant-based dieting remains one of the most influential trends impacting the food and beverage industry. People adopt plant-based diets for a variety of different reasons, from a concern about the environment and animals to a simple desire to eat healthier. However, experts say there’s a good reason to hesitate before adopting such diets: the possibility of becoming nutrient deficient.

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Meet sustainability junior Andrew Kennedy

October 14, 2019

Andrew KennedyA quest to merge his passions for social justice and environmentalism led Andrew Kennedy to Arizona State University's School of Sustainability.

"I initially wanted to study conservation biology in high school because I absolutely loved learning about ecosystems, animal biology and how to protect valuable species," Kennedy said. "However, I was also very passionate about politics and justice."

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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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Transnational corporations must shift toward biosphere stewardship, says sustainability professor

October 1, 2019

Marty AnderiesMarty Anderies, a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and a professor in the School of Sustainability, was one of several authors of a journal article, "Transnational corporations and the challenge of biosphere stewardship," published in the journal Nature, Ecology & Evolution. According to the authors, transnational corporations are increasingly aligning their business models to support a stable planet.

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