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Sustainability News

Exploring opportunities for collaborative partnerships in Bulgaria

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

July 11, 2017

A team from Arizona State University, led by ASU Lightworks® Director Bill Brandt, wrapped up a week-long series of meetings with Bulgarian institutions in Sofia, Bulgaria. These meetings established collaborative partnerships around digital learning, innovation and entrepreneurship, environmental health and safety, circular economy and energy and sustainability.

“Arizona and Bulgaria share similarities in size and the importance of mining business to their economies," Brandt told reporters in Sofia. "We are excited by the opportunities we found to partner with Bulgaria's leading higher education and research institutions, including technological universities and business schools, the Naval Academy, Academy of Science and Sofia Tech Park, major industrial companies, municipalities and clusters to drive innovation and best practices.”

ASU has already started joint projects with partners in Romania and Kosovo.

Award recognizes ‘huge leap’ for sustainability education

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 8, 2017

Julie Wrigley has stood for sustainability since before the term existed.

And on American Renewable Energy Day (AREDay), Wrigley was awarded for standing behind the country’s first School of Sustainability, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Her investment helped establish both the institute and the school, which has graduated over 1,000 sustainability leaders since its founding in 2006.

Calling Wrigley a “sustainability pioneer,” Sally Ranney of the American Renewable Energy Institute presented her with the award at the conclusion of an AREDay panel discussion.

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Cities can make greener purchases with help of new initiative

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 6, 2017

As local governments step to the forefront of sustainability commitment-making, a team of Arizona State University researchers – including School of Sustainability Professor Nicole Darnall – launch a project aimed at making it easier for cities to “buy green."

Called the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative, the project was informed by survey responses from 616 government officials from 459 cities. The responses led the ASU team to create eight real-world recommendations that can be used by city officials considering environmentally-friendly products – from light bulbs to carpeting.

The tips will be disseminated in a marketing blast that will reach thousands of local governments nationwide.

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ASU sports sustainability prowess during Final Four Tournament

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 28, 2017

In April 2017, Arizona welcomed the NCAA’s Final Four Tournament – a college basketball championship that spanned three days in downtown Phoenix. With over 70,000 fans in attendance, the event was the perfect opportunity for Phoenix to flex its sustainability muscles.

Partners from all over the Valley united to leave the Final Four with a legacy of sustainability that could continue long after its departure from Phoenix. These partners included ASU’s School of Sustainability, the City of Phoenix, the City of Glendale, APS, SRP, Keep Phoenix Beautiful, Green Living Magazine, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Northern Arizona Forest Fund and numerous community members.

This month, the Final Four received the Evergreen Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport at the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, held in conjunction with the 2017 Green Sports Alliance Summit in Sacramento. The Evergreen Certification signifies the highest level of sustainability certification possible at a sporting event.

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ASU-Hawai’i Green Growth collaboration receives top awards at ‘Make the Ala Wai Awesome’ design competition

Institute Press Releases

June 26, 2017

At a ceremony in Honolulu on June 18, 2017, an interdisciplinary team of Arizona State University graduate students working with Hawai’i Green Growth (HGG) received the top award in the Make the Ala Wai Awesome competition for their submission “Water is Life.”

Submissions were judged by a prestigious panel that included representatives of the American Society of Landscape Architects Hawai’i chapter (Hawai’i ASLA). The Hawai’i ASLA members were so impressed with the ASU team’s submission that they granted it an additional HI-ASLA Award of Excellence.

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Moving forward on climate change post Paris agreement

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 22, 2017

When the United States withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, it sparked a debate over what should happen next.

That debate was reflected during a June 2017 Case Critical discussion, held by the ASU Wrigley Institute and featuring Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, School of Sustainability Assistant Professor Sonja Klinsky and ASU economist William Boyes. The discussion was moderated by Rob Melnick, executive director of the institute and a professor of practice in the School of Sustainability.

Kinsky reiterated the views she shared in a recent ASU Now interview, adding this about the way forward: "I think we’re swimming with opportunities. There are large-scale technological investments. The cost of air pollution to people’s health is astronomical. That’s a public health debate. There’s a social justice perspective. How will we deal with agriculture? Find your skill set and apply it."

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Vision for rehabilitated watershed lands ASU team with award

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

June 18, 2017

Part of the celebration to welcome the canoe Hōkūleʻa home from her worldwide voyage, ASU took the overall prize in the Make the Ala Wai Awesome challenge, an international student design competition that asked contestants to rehabilitate a critical Oʻahu watershed containing one of the nation’s most polluted bodies of water.

The School of Sustainability and ASU LightWorks energy center have been working with a Hawai'i public-private partnership network to find new answers to the country's unique sustainability challenges. LightWorks enlisted help from The Design School, which turned the effort into a class project where graduate students in design and sustainability addressed climate change, water, food, energy and natural resources sustainability on the Ala Wai.

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Incubating waste innovations for a robust circular economy

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 14, 2017

With the support of the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN) – a public-private network established through a partnership between ASU and the City of Phoenix – the RISN Incubator was announced in June 2017.

The incubator, a business development and accelerator program, seeks early-stage ventures that focus on solutions to waste-related challenges. Eligible venture concepts include, but are not limited to: conversion of solid waste into new material or energy; services that divert, reuse or recycle; software applications around sustainability (waste, organic material, reuse, recycling); and design services that focus on sustainability.

The ventures that are selected will have access to resources and support from ASU and Phoenix as they contribute to the regional development of a vibrant circular economy.

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ASU+GCSO: First-year projects impact teachers, cities, GHG emissions

ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 12, 2017

GCSO CapaCity Project kick-off workshop takes place at the KIT ‘Futures Room for Sustainability and Science’

Arizona State University is playing a leadership role in the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO).

GCSO is an international consortium of universities that collaborate to implement and scale solutions that address challenges to sustainability. GCSO membership spans seven countries on three continents, enabling universities to work together in partnership with each other and with governments, businesses, schools and NGOs.

“GCSO is the only consortium focused on taking sustainability solutions developed in the university setting and transferring them to people and organizations that can affect change,” says Dr. Rob Melnick, Executive Director of ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability, as well as ASU’s representative to GCSO. “At a time when sustainability problems are growing faster than solutions are being implemented, GCSO provides a global vehicle to accelerate interventions that address this gap.”

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Art exhibit showcases nature-inspired designs

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 9, 2017

A 2017 exhibit at the Tempe Center for the Arts, "Biomimicry: Nature Inspired Design," showcases an approach to problem-solving that harnesses both the practicality and beauty of nature's designs.

Through the biomimicry philosophy, people work to create sustainable lifestyles by observing how animals and plants overcome obstacles in their environments. And because Arizona State University is a leader in this field, several faculty members and alumni are involved in the exhibit, which also includes events to inspire the community.

According to Prasad Boradkar, senior sustainability scholar and director of ASU's Biomimicry Center, "The impact of design and manufacturing of new products doesn’t affect only humans. It affects all species on the planet. So why don’t we learn from all species on the planet?"

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Seizing sustainability at a time of reckoning

Thought Leader Series

June 7, 2017

A Thought Leader Series Piece

by Sir Crispin Tickell

Sustainability is a funny idea. Why should we worry about our sustainability? The history of life is full of species that rise and fall, sustain themselves or fail to do so, as circumstances change.

But until recent history, our awareness of the past has been short term, and the wider background has been lacking. My own conversion to longer-term thinking arose from awareness of the changes in climate that took place in the 17th century and profoundly affected every aspect of life in Europe.

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Pairing sustainability knowledge with implementation know-how

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 6, 2017

Picture the main streets of your city shielded by solar panels – would that make a summer outing downtown more comfortable? How about vertical farms on former brownfield sites down the street from your home – wouldn't such easy access to fresh food be nice?

Arizona State University’s Project Cities thinks so too.

That’s why the new program, part of ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN), is working with municipalities to implement environmentally-conscious projects that make life better for people and businesses alike.

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Congratulations to Sustainable Cities Network's Anne Reichman

ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 6, 2017

The ASU Wrigley Institute is pleased to announce the promotion of Anne Reichman to director of the Sustainable Cities Network.

Anne has been program manager of SCN since its inception in 2009, when she oversaw its introduction, development and expansion throughout Arizona. Since that time, she’s created a statewide network dedicated to improving community and regional sustainability practices through engagement with ASU programs, faculty and students. Recently, Anne established Project Cities – an exciting new program within SCN – and received the Ponderosa Pine Award for the network’s Regional Tree & Shade Summit 2.0.

As director, Anne will continue to operate at the highest levels on the institute’s behalf, interfacing with communities and organizational partners on topics ranging from renewable energy and green building to the changing climate. Please join us in congratulating Anne on this exciting step up as she continues her work to create a more livable and prosperous Arizona.

Sustainability alumnus named to Greenbiz '30 Under 30'

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 5, 2017

Samson Szeto, communications program coordinator of ASU LightWorks, has been named to the 2017 GreenBiz "30 Under 30." The list honors young corporate sustainability professionals who strive to make an impact in their workplace and the world, and Szeto is doing just that.

Szeto, who graduated from ASU’s School of Sustainability in 2013, was nominated by his supervisor Travis Johnson, project and business development manager at LightWorks. He was recognized for his work on several renewable energy projects – including NEPTUNE – and his involvement with carbon capture technology.

The NEPTUNE project, a joint venture with the U.S. Navy and six other universities, trains veterans for careers in the energy sector. Szeto’s work with carbon capture technology involves creating strategic partnerships that unite corporations with ASU researchers working to halt climate change.

"Samson is passionate about driving innovation and sustainability into businesses and society," says Johnson. "I’m proud of him for being honored with the 30 Under 30 award, and I am sure he will continue changing the world."

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Paris Climate Agreement: The fallout from withdrawal

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 2, 2017

After President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, School of Sustainability Assistant Professor Sonja Klinsky went over the possible ramifications with ASU Now.

Klinsky, who studies climate negotiations, said that the decision will hurt American business and devastate our country's international credibility.

"Already, there are long-standing tensions and questions about the American commitment to climate action," Klinsky explained. "Cumulatively, the U.S. is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Breaking a promise by pulling out of this agreement or by removing domestic regulations will profoundly erode international trust in an arena in which collective action and cooperation is crucial."

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Book penned by ASU energy expert honored with award

ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 1, 2017

Senior Sustainability Scientist Martin Pasqualetti was awarded the 2017 Place Research Award by the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) and the Project for Public Spaces.

The 2017 Place Research Award  is one of four Great Places Awards given every year. The award recognizes work that applies an interdisciplinary research approach – integrating design, research and practice while focusing on the relationship between people and their environment.

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Scientist 'throws shade' on hot summer days

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 30, 2017

Two years ago, Senior Sustainability Scientist Ariane Middel led a study on thermal comfort at ASU’s student union in Tempe. She and her team found that shade was the most important factor for comfort – more so than air temperature, humidity, and even clothing colors and materials.

Flash-forward to this year. Middel, an assistant research professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, has developed a tool that will someday show pedestrians the shadiest — and therefore coolest — route to their destinations. It will also tell planners and architects where they should create more shade.

The tool is a mobile weather station that resembles Pixar's WALL-E. Middel worked with a team of computer scientists to equip the weather station with the ability to take high-resolution Google Earth images. The 180-degree “fish-eye” views help to calculate whether a specific location would be in the sun or shade during a given time of day.

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Fishing for answers in Phoenix's urban lakes

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 23, 2017

A "No Fishing" sign in an urban lakeA recent study on fishing in Phoenix found that, of the anglers surveyed at six urban lakes, the majority reported eating recreationally-caught fishes even though they thought the water might be polluted.

Erin Pulford – a School of Sustainability graduate – is the lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Management. Based on Pulford's Master of Sustainability Solutions project with advisor Beth Polidoro, the study found varying levels of organic contaminants in surface water samples collected from the six urban lakes where anglers were surveyed.

The study bears particular significance to low-income and high-minority neighborhoods, where most of the city's recreational fisheries lakes and ponds are located. The results can be used to inform policies, improve water quality and support further research in order to reduce potential risks to public health.

Milton Sommerfeld: Legacy and Lifetime Achievements

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

May 16, 2017

What’s so great about algae?

If you had the good fortune to meet Milton Sommerfeld, you have a hearty answer to that question.

Appropriately dubbed “The Wizard of Ooze,” Milt illuminated the world of algae with vibrant imagery, bubbling-good humor, and – if you were lucky – a mouthful of algae cookie, freshly baked by his wife Carolyn.

Milt unlocked algae’s potential, demonstrating its boundless possibility while leaving an enduring legacy of research, both at Arizona State University and well beyond its walls.

Catching the algae bug

Milt grew up in rural Texas on his family’s farm. Not only did this upbringing teach Milt the importance of hard work, resilience and integrity – virtues he continually demonstrated to his students and colleagues – it also introduced him to a specific slimy-green substance.

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Sustainable Cities Network receives Ponderosa Pine Partnership Award

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 15, 2017

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management awarded the Sustainable Cities Network and partners with the department’s first Ponderosa Pine Partnership Award for the Regional Tree & Shade Summit 2.0: Branching Out One Community at a Time.

This award was given at the 2017 Arizona State Arbor Day Celebration, which included winners of the Arbor Day K-12 Poster Contest, as well as recognition for 29 Tree City USA communities, 2 Tree Campus USA sites, 2 Tree Line USA utilities and 4 Urban Forestry Awards.

The Ponderosa Pine Award is one of the Urban Forestry Awards presented at the celebration, given “to increase the recognition of outstanding urban forestry projects in Arizona." It is presented for the innovative, strategic and/or pioneering collaborative efforts of organizations. It recognizes a project for the exceptional involvement of multiple organizations that was implemented during the past year.

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