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Sustainability News

Sustainability Highlights magazine covers a lustrous 2015

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 27, 2016

ASU sustainability professor Arianne Cease holds a locust on her hand and smiles2015 was another momentous year for the ASU Wrigley Institute, with multiple milestones in solutions, engagement, education and research. School of Sustainability professor Arianne Cease was named among the Popular Science Brilliant 10, the international Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network was established with a $12 million grant, and the Walton Global Sustainability Solutions Services presented a plan to green Albania's schools to the prime minister of that country.

Eight ASU sustainability scientists, scholars and fellows attended the historic U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Paris, School of Sustainability grad student Anna Bettis asked Democratic presidential candidates for their climate change commitments during a televised CNN debate, and household names Tom Friedman and M. Sanjayan joined our growing list of distinguished Wrigley Lecturers.

And that's just a sampling. For a more in-depth look at what we accomplished last year, flip through our newly-released 2015 Sustainability Highlights magazine.

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Nature net science fellowship: Postdoctoral opportunity

Biodiversity News

May 26, 2016

Woman with equipment wearing backpack in front of oceanThe Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and The Nature Conservancy are proud to announce a postdoctoral fellowship opportunity directed at solving big climate challenges while considering human well-being.

The Nature Net Science Fellowship aims to address the global climate change threat by bringing early career scientists and engineers to help solve problems at the intersection of climate change, technology and conservation.

Accounting for biodiversity

Biodiversity News

May 26, 2016

World Business Council for Sustainable Development logoThe Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is excited to announce a new project investigating how businesses manage biodiversity concerns and opportunities in their operations. This project, started in conjunction with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), looks to define what the business community needs in order to achieve their biodiversity goals. Highlighting these needs will help the academic and business communities collaboratively develop appropriate tools to better measure and monitor biodiversity.

On June 22-23, 2016, WBCSD, IUCN and CBO will hold a planning and scoping workshop in Geneva, Switzerland to address mainstream biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting for business to help companies better understand their impact on biodiversity. The workshop will build on the Natural Capital Protocol Project to provide guidance on qualitative, quantitative and monetary valuation of natural capital dependencies and impacts, and to create a framework to inform future standards applicable at different organizational levels, to all business sectors, and across all geographies.

ASU LightWorks director receives clean air champion award

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

May 25, 2016

13250482_10208163534062855_577511014_nThe Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition is one of 90 coalitions across the country designated by the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the use of petroleum motor fuel.  These efforts are directed under the Clean Air Act and Energy Policy Act to reduce air pollution and dependence on foreign oil.

Every two years, Valley of the Sun and Tucson Regional Coalitions stage a Legislative Breakfast, where legislators, staff and civic leaders are invited to learn the latest in the means of reducing the use of petroleum fuel.  This event features key speakers and a comprehensive display of alternative fuel vehicles.

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Meeting emissions targets after Paris climate talks

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

May 19, 2016

Smokestacks billow emissions in front of a blue skyWithin months of the Paris climate talks, more than 20 city officials from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C. for a "how-to" on inventorying sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The training – led by Raj Buch, practice lead for the Walton Global Sustainability Solutions Services – helped attendees determine where emissions cuts are most needed.

Twenty-one city officials attended, from countries including Argentina, India, South Africa, Korea, Bolivia, China and Bangladesh. All of them were clients of World Bank, an organization that mainly finances Third World infrastructure projects and is concerned about the effects climate change will have on them.

Bank officials asked the School of Sustainability to design and deliver a curriculum around this topic, as it had done for other topics in the past. The workshop will be produced in an online format, as well.

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Understanding climate and energy through environmental humanities

LightWorks News

May 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11 52 44 AMEnvironmental humanities is a rapidly growing field focused on the study of human imagination, perception, behaviors and the relationship with their surrounding environments, both social and natural. Arizona State University humanist research is led by sustainability scholar Dr. Joni Adamson. Her research defines how and why, in the face of seemingly non-imminent danger, humans choose to act as they do and what would make them shift direction rapidly.

This approach is being integrated into all climate and energy research at ASU. This work will contribute substantially to the understanding of human behaviors, motivations, and decision-making, both individually and collaboratively. This research aims to catalyze the rapid social transitions needed to address global energy transitions and climate change.

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Designing solar-powered cyanobacteria for production of biofuels

LightWorks News

May 18, 2016

J06088 Lightworks BIFOLD 3 PDFP2Green chemicals and biofuels are projected to become major players in the economy. This is incredibly important as CO2 levels rise and fossil fuel use becomes a liability.

Dr. Willem Vermaas, a senior sustainability scientist,  and his team have been researching a novel concept to use photosynthetic microorganisms or cyanobacteria as biocatalysts that use solar energy and carbon dioxide to produce and secrete fatty acids for direct production of biofuels without major production of biomass.

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Leading the way to a sustainable future: Andrew Krause

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

sustainability-alum-andrew-krauseAndrew Krause is a two-time graduate of the School of Sustainability. He was a member of the first cohort of graduating undergraduates in 2009, and also received a Master of Science in 2012.

Andrew is now the CEO of eecosphere, which he co-founded while at ASU. eecosphere connects responsible brands with conscious consumers online through social advocacy campaigns. The platform helps users adopt new sustainability behaviors into their lives, and gives them tools to scale their daily actions into global revolutions.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

I’m not your prototypical “tree hugger,” but I’ve always been fascinated by the complexities that make up sustainable change in a system. Originally, I wanted to be in the construction engineering field. However, I quickly became more intrigued by the way sustainability science has the potential to motivate and empower the mainstream to collectively engage with complex global issues.

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Meet Our Alumni: Jeffrey Jennings

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

Sustainability student Jeffrey smiling in front of fountains and palm treesJeffrey Jennings graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts, focusing on Society and Sustainability. He also has a Professional Science Masters in Science and Technology Policy from ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. He currently works as a sustainability project coordinator for Arizona Public Service, where he focuses on corporate social responsibility and how to make APS a more sustainable company.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

Before choosing ASU, I considered Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona. It was a bit of a journey. I had always been attracted to multiple disciplines but wasn’t sure it would be possible to successfully combine my interests into one major. Initially, I started out in accounting and quickly realized that it wasn’t a good fit. Next, I strongly considered urban planning or supply chain before landing on sustainability.

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Love of a language shapes sustainability grad's path

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

May 16, 2016

Bridget Harding standing on a wet walking path through a field of tall flowersSchool of Sustainability student Bridget Harding's love of the Korean language, which she studied throughout high school and her time at ASU, has shaped her path in a few profound ways.

First, it prompted her to study abroad in South Korea, where she became interested in East vs. West perspectives on nature and ecology. It also became a point of intrigue for potential employers, who viewed that the knack for learning such a difficult language as an indicator of other aptitudes – like learning difficult computer programs.

Harding was admitted into the Fulbright Scholarship Program in South Korea, where she will teach English for at least one year. She is one of the 118  uniquely-talented students to graduate from the School of Spring in 2016.

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A big boost for bioenergy research at ASU

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News

May 16, 2016

Bright green algae in tubesTwo ASU biofuel projects are among six nationwide receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore innovative solutions in bioenergy.

One project aims to improve algal biomass growth while reducing evaporation and eliminating the need for cooling. It has the potential to reach five times the current algal production rates, reducing the cost of enclosed algal cultivation systems and boosting total fuel potential.

The other will engineer cyanobacteria for the production of ethyl laurate, which is easily converted to biofuels or bioproducts that are compatible with existing infrastructure. The expected outcome is an economically competitive yield of a biofuel produced directly from CO2 under the influence of sunlight.

These projects will support the work of the Bioenergy Technologies Office to develop renewable and cost-competitive biofuels and develop a more robust bioeconomy. This means more green jobs and innovation, as well as a better environment and national energy security.

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Building connections through big questions

School of Sustainability News

May 14, 2016

People talking and eating outside on a sunny dayby Alex Slaymaker, Master of Sustainability Solutions

Typical events include people who know each other talking about the weather and their to-dos.

But ASU’s School of Sustainability is far from typical. A group of undergraduate and graduate students decided to elevate the conversation to topics that matter during the School of Sustainability’s 10-year anniversary celebration on April 14, 2016.

The all-day celebration included a Rescued Food Feast, featuring food with approaching expiration dates or small bruises that was "rescued" from the landfill by a local grocery store. The event was hosted during lunchtime in the middle of campus, where the School of Sustainability offered the free food to engage students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members in the celebration of sustainability efforts at ASU and beyond.

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A higher-ed transformation that could help save the planet

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 12, 2016

New York buildings with trees.In a May 2016 article in Huffpost Green, the directorate of the ASU Wrigley Institute examines the question, "Can universities save the planet?"

In the piece, authors Rob Melnick, Gary Dirks and Chris Boone contend that practical solutions to the mega-problems we face are not being implemented quickly enough. They attribute this gap, in part, to the incremental advance of these problems – too difficult to see for many people to take seriously.

Universities – with their vast portfolio of expertise – can be instrumental in closing this gap, say the authors. But only if they move from the current model, where knowledge generation and dissemination is the sole goal, to one where solution implementation is the desired end.

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A glimpse into the future of algae

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

May 11, 2016

summerfeld_and_algae-5One of the nation’s top experts on algae, ASU sustainability scientist Milton Sommerfeld, has spent half of a century exploring the possibilities of the plant as a super food, fuel, fertilizer and more.

Sommerfeld – co-director of the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation – explains that there are roughly 75,000 different types of algae, and that certain strains are more optimal for given uses than others.

According to Sommerfeld, the most immediate impact from algae will be in bioremediation – a waste management technique that uses organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site. He expects commercial algal biofuels further down the line, as production will require scaling the small cultivation operations of the present to an industrial level.

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Thinking circularly in a rapidly-growing megacity

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 10, 2016

asu-circular-economy-workshop-lagos-2To help address the mounting challenges of Africa's most populous city – Lagos, Nigeria – the Global Sustainability Solutions Services of ASU’s Walton Initiatives hosted a three-day workshop there in April 2016.

The first of its kind in the world, the "Introduction to Ethical Circular Economy" workshop was hosted at Sustainability School Lagos – an institution modeled after ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. It encouraged the group of 35 students, city and state officials, and others to imagine an economy where resources are remanufactured, refurbished and recycled – nothing is wasted.

“There is a tremendous amount of potential for a circular economy in rapidly developing countries,” said Senior Sustainability Scientist and Practice Lead Raj Buch. “It’s where the larger opportunity arises because it’s where most of the economic development is going to happen.”

Buch co-led the course with General Manager Dan O’Neill and Olufemi Olarewaju – an Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership graduate and the executive director of the Sustainability School Lagos.

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Exploring emerging trends in conservation

Biodiversity News

May 10, 2016

Whale swimming underwaterJoin us on Monday, May 16, 2016 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in Wrigley Hall, Room 481 as the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes presents the next installment of the Biodiversity Event Series, Emerging Trends in Conservation.

Conservation is continuing to evolve as new opportunities and threats present themselves, calling for new insights, tools, models and lessons. Leading experts from Conservation International will discuss emerging trends in conservation from a variety of perspectives including oceans, wildlife, protected areas, agriculture, and ecosystem services measurement, valuation and accounting.

Central Arizona Conservation Alliance Biodiversity Fellowship

Biodiversity News

May 5, 2016

CAZCA picThe Center for Biodiversity Outcomes announces the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) Biodiversity Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year. The award is available to one graduate student in the amount of $12,000. The award recipient will conduct high-priority research topics, which will support the vision of CAZCA to promote the study and restoration of our regional desert mountain preserve system.

The student will collect relevant GIS layers and conduct conductivity analyses while working closely with The Connectivity and Habitat Blocks working group of the CAZCA to help identify key conservation areas outside of the current preserve.

Applications are due by June 15, 2016, and the recipient will be notified no later than July 1, 2016. See application directions here.

It is highly advised to meet with the working group chair Scott Sprague, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and CAZCA’s program lead Stacie Beute to discuss your ideas and ensure that your proposed research aligns with the research priorities of the alliance.

CBO faculty affiliate faculty can be found here.

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Student Spotlight: Kayla Bellman

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 5, 2016

Kayla Bellman laughing in front of red hot air balloonChandler, Arizona native Kayla Bellman graduates from the School of Sustainability in Spring 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in the Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology track. She will also receive a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a Certificate in Human Rights.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability is the action of pursuing a just world. It is an act grander than one person, one community, and one nation. It demands the attention of the global community, immediately.

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

Growing up, I believed the medical field was the only way to “do good” – all my aunts and uncles are in the medical field. The product of two engineers, I was determined to do just about anything other than engineering.

Over the course of my senior year in high school, I came to the conclusion that environmental work could also fulfill my desire to “do good.” I found the School of Sustainability through a Google search, and I realized the best-of-the-best was in my backyard.

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