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Sustainability News

Meet sustainability junior Tammy Nguyen

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 12, 2018

Tammy NguyenTammy Nguyen is one powerhouse of a student. Although her initial decision for her degree was to attend the University of Arizona, Nguyen decided to join Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability just in time before her freshman year began. She started out not knowing much about the School of Sustainability, let alone sustainability itself, but Nguyen is now an active student in her field working toward four titles: Bachelor of Arts in sustainability in the “society and sustainability” track, a minor in Spanish language, a minor in women and gender studies, and a certificate in food systems sustainability.

As she explains in her Q&A below, her sustainability journey hasn’t always been easy but she’s learned a lot along the way. Without a doubt, Nguyen is going to continue making strides in sustainability wherever she ends up due to her self-motivation and perseverance.

Read on to see how Nguyen began her path towards empowering youth to change the world.

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Fischer appointed to board of sustainable consumption organization

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

December 11, 2018

Assistant Professor Daniel Fischer from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability has been appointed as a board member to SCORAI, the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative. Fischer is a trained primary and secondary school teacher with a master’s degree in educational management and school development and a doctoral degree in sustainability science. In his research and teaching, he casts an educational perspective on the question of how sustainable consumption can be promoted through communication and learning.

SCORAI is a key player and community of researchers and practitioners in the field of sustainable consumption, with more than 1.000 affiliates worldwide. SCORAI provides a forum for scholars and practitioners striving to understand the drivers of the consumerist economy in affluent technological societies; to formulate and analyze options for post-consumerist lifestyles, social institutions, and economic systems; and to provide the knowledge for emergent grassroots innovations, social movements, and public policies.

Meet sustainability senior Sawyer Treese

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 10, 2018

School of Sustainability senior Sawyer Treese is a proud Sun Devil. Since both of his parents are Arizona State University alumni and he’s lived in Arizona his whole life, it’s no surprise that Treese chose to pursue a degree from ASU. From studying abroad in South Africa to working with Tempe City Council, Treese has been gaining immeasurable life experience throughout his time here.

As he’s reaching the end of his Bachelor of Science in sustainability along with a minor in urban planning, Treese is excited to finish his work here in order to expand outward where help is needed most.

In the Q&A below, Treese talks about what sustainability means to him and how he intends to apply sustainability knowledge in his career.

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Are co-ops the business model of the future in Arizona?

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

December 6, 2018

Workshop event on co-ops aims to take a step toward an inclusive, sustainable statewide economy.

Nigel ForrestIf the word “co-op” makes you think of a group of hippies sitting around unable to agree on anything, then Nigel Forrest suggests you think again. Cooperatives, according to Forrest, are viable, dynamic and thriving businesses that look after the interests of people, communities and the environment, while building strong, inclusive and sustainable local economies.

“Cooperative businesses offer a chance for good stable jobs, meaningful work, community empowerment and strong local economies, particularly in areas where this is needed most: in rural areas and in poor urban areas,” says Forrest, a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University.

Forrest manages the Sustainable Local Food Economies and Enterprises Lab with Arnim Wiek, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability. Wiek has teaches a graduate level class that covers cooperatives, employee-owned businesses and benefit corporations.

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Using stormwater as a resource

ASU Wrigley Institute News DCDC News

December 5, 2018

DCDC panel presents about stormwater managementOn December 5, Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, hosted a panel discussion called "Innovative Stormwater Management: Resilience for Extreme Weather."

Directing more stormwater toward permeable surfaces so it trickles down into the aquifers beneath the city and catching more in rain barrels at homes were some of the ideas discussed. Multipurpose installations that collect water and can also be used as an amenity, like a park, or that protect from flooding while directing water towards aquifers are high on planners’ radars.

The discussion was part of the center’s Water/Climate Briefings, held on a regular basis. These briefings are a regular forum for the water-policy community, DCDC researchers and students to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Read the full story on ASU Now.

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Meet Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Julie Hopwood

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 29, 2018

Julie HopwoodYou might think that a mostly-online graduate program would be impersonal. But, as Arizona State University alumna Julie Hopwood tells it, that’s far from the case with the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership from the School of Sustainability. As she described in her Q&A below, Hopwood was impressed with the emphasis on both personal and professional development throughout the one-year program. Plus, she became quite close with her cohort and still talks to them regularly.

“Whether we were seeking professional clarification, direction and impact in our current positions, immediate career advancement, transition to a new industry and/or the elusive dream of combining our personal and professional passions, I truly believe that my fellow cohort members and I graduated from the EMSL program feeling that our mission was, and can always be, accomplished,” Hopwood said.

In her Q&A, Hopwood — who is currently the associate vice president for business and auxiliary services at Ball State University, Indiana — discussed how she learned and grew as a sustainability leader through the EMSL.

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Sustainability scientist leads Geography 2050 symposium connecting geography and energy

ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 29, 2018

ASU Professor Mike Pasqualetti speaking at podiumThis year’s Geography 2050 symposium, hosted by the American Geographical Society, went off without a hitch. According to the AGS Chief Executive Officer John Konarski, that’s because of the hard work of Martin “Mike” Pasqualetti — a professor in Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. As the symposium chair, Pasqualetti put together the entire event, which took place at Columbia University on November 15 and 16.

“The star of the show was Mike,” Konarski said. “He made sure that everything was cohesive, that the speakers made sense, that they were people who were clearly on the cusp of innovation and creativity who understood this issue of energy from many different facets. We could not have done this without Mike.”

Since the theme of the symposium was “powering our future planet,” all of the dialogues and presentations revolved around geography and energy production or consumption. To non-scientists, those fields might seem unrelated, but Konarski said that our energy system is dependent on geography; for example, a discussion about solar energy will include where solar panels can be placed and where there’s enough sunlight to feed them.

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Big power from a small container

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

November 29, 2018

Nathan JohsnonWith a $2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, an Arizona State Univeristy professor is working to improve on his solar-powered, electrical grid-in-a-box for use in far-flung corners of the world where power doesn’t reach.

Microgrids are small isolated power systems, such as on oil rigs, in rural villages or at military expeditionary camps. Nathan Johnson, an assistant professor in the Polytechnic School, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, created a solar-powered grid contained in a shipping container.

“Microgrids are often described as an on-grid system that can isolate,” said Johnson, who is also a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. In summer 2018, Johnson received a $2 million, two-year grant from the Office of Naval Research.

Read the full story on ASU Now.

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Global Locust Initiative wins USAID/OFDA grant to launch pilot project in Senegal

ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News Global Locust Initiative

November 28, 2018

Arianne Cease wearing gloves working in a labLocusts have afflicted humanity throughout history, with devastating consequences. It’s no surprise that locusts are one of the 10 plagues in the biblical book Exodus. These insects are species of grasshoppers that can swarm in the millions and wipe out fields of crops in the blink of an eye.

The Global Locust Initiative, an Arizona State University program aiming to study and manage locust outbreaks, recently won a half-million-dollar grant from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (a part of the U.S. Agency for International Development). This is the first time an ASU program has been awarded an OFDA grant, according to research advancement manager Ann Marie Hess, whose dedication to this partnership and work as a research advancement manager, alongside program manager Ariel Rivers, was critical to landing the grant.

With this funding, the Global Locust Initiative team — directed by senior sustainability scientist Arianne Cease — will test whether soil amendments to millet fields in Kaffrine, Senegal, decrease locust outbreaks, improve millet yields and increase farmer livelihoods.

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Sustainability graduate aims to change transportation sector

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights UREx Blog

November 28, 2018

Man wearing blazer standing and smiling in front of wall of foliageIf it weren’t for the computer simulation game SimCity, Sean McElroy might never have discovered his passion for sustainable cities. As a high school student, McElroy designed a modern city using the game for a required personal project for the International Baccalaureate program.

“A lot of the research that I did was on future cities, which often brought up sustainability,” McElroy said. “I thought that the topic of sustainable cities and development sounded really interesting, and once I heard about it being a major it was an easy decision for me to choose it.”

This December, McElroy is graduating from Arizona State University with a bachelor in sustainability from the School of Sustainability and a minor in urban planning from the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning. During his time at ASU, McElroy has taken on leadership positions with the School of Sustainability Academy and the Honor Society for Sustainability. He also completed an internship with the Street Transportation Department at the City of Phoenix, and was a research aide working with ASU’s Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network.

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Meet sustainability junior Susie Puga

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 21, 2018

Girl with brown hair smelling large white flowersSusana “Susie” Puga is a first-generation college student from the farming community of Yuma, Arizona. She had a hard time explaining to her family and friends how studying sustainability would set her up for future success, but there’s no doubt they can be anything but proud of her now.

Puga is in her junior year of pursuing her bachelor’s in sustainability with an economics track from the Arizona State University School of Sustainability. She’s also working on a minor in psychology and a certificate in cross-sector leadership. Besides sustainability, Puga is also passionate about dance, poetry, creative writing, meditative practices and cooking with friends.

Read Puga’s Q&A below to see how she is connecting sustainability with all of her interests and what she plans to do in the future.

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

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Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Stockholm Water Prize co-recipient to be keynote speakers at Phosphorus Forum 2019

Institute Press Releases ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News Phosphorus Alliance

November 21, 2018

Washington, D.C. capitol building with flowers in foregroundThe Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance has announced that Kathleen Merrigan and Bruce Rittmann will be the keynote speakers at Phosphorus Forum 2019, scheduled for April 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Merrigan, who holds a PhD in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has decades of experience in agriculture, sustainability and food systems. As the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013, Merrigan managed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative to support local and regional food systems. She became the first female chair of the Ministerial Conference of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009; she was named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” in 2010; and she was the Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she led the GW Sustainability Collaborative and the GW Food Institute. In 2018 Merrigan became the first Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University.

Bruce Rittmann, who holds a PhD in environmental engineering from Stanford University, was named a 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for revolutionizing water and wastewater treatment through the development of environmental biotechnology-based processes. His work has led to a new generation of water treatment processes that can effectively extract nutrients from wastewater. In his research, Rittmann has studied how microorganisms can transform organic pollutants to something of value to humans and the environment. He has authored or co-authored more than 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has chaired the Program Committee of the Leading Edge Technology Conference of the International Water Association. Rittmann is Regents' Professor of Environmental Engineering and director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU's Biodesign Institute.

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3 ASU sustainability scientists honored with Regents' Professor title

ASU Wrigley Institute News Global Drylands News

November 19, 2018

Hayden OverheadRegents’ Professors are the elite of the academic world. To be awarded the distinction, scholars must be full professors, with outstanding achievements in their fields, who are nationally and internationally recognized by their peers.

No more than 3 percent of all faculty at Arizona State University carry the distinction.

This year, four ASU faculty members are being recognized as Regents’ Professors. Three of these professors are sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability: Osvaldo Sala, Donald Fixico and Stewart Fotheringham . Let's meet them.

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Sustainability scientist's work with Navajo Nation recognized for innovative community planning

ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 16, 2018

ASU faculty standing with members of Navajo Nation displaying awardThe Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association recently held their annual conference, during which members from Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning were recognized for their project with the Navajo Nation’s Dilkon Chapter.

David Pijawka, professor of planning and senior sustainability scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, has a long history of working with indigenous communities to ensure Native culture, customs and traditions are considered in community planning. Pijawka and Jonathan Davis, a geography PhD student, recently worked alongside the Dilkon Chapter to successfully complete a community land-use plan. It is for this outstanding work that Pijawka, Davis and the Dilkon chapter were recognized on November 8 for a public outreach plan.

The Dilkon Chapter of the Navajo Nation, located in the northeastern region of Arizona, is an active and engaged community that desired to compete for funding for further economic, housing and public service development within their community. In order to better compete for funding for these initiatives, the Dilkon Chapter needed to update their community land-use plan, as dictated by the Navajo Nation. Teaming up with Pijawka and Davis, the chapter began to utilize a new approach help create their plan.

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Bausch + Lomb cites ASU research in contact lens recycling collaboration

ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 15, 2018

contact lens being applied to eyeMicroplastics are a growing area of concern for researchers and the public, with much of the focus on plastics in our oceans. Until recently, the environmental impact of the plastic we put in our eyes has been largely overlooked. Now manufacturers and researchers are teaming up to raise awareness that disposing lenses down the toilet or the drain adds to the planet’s plastic pollution — and that recycling or disposing lenses with recyclable solid waste are eco-friendly options.

Every year, about 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses to see the world more clearly. This $2.7 billion U.S. market has made contact lenses more comfortable and disposable. Every day, plastic lenses are tossed away by consumers in various ways, perhaps without much thought to their ultimate environmental fate. Consumers in the United States use more than 3 billion contact lenses a year. While contact lenses are recyclable, their small size causes them to be filtered out at recycling facilities and directed to the waste stream.

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Funding the Future: Maricopa County, ASU Combat Urban Heat

Institute Press Releases ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 14, 2018

city with mountains at sunsetThe Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) approved a grant to the ASU Foundation for a New American University for research to help reduce urban heat and improve air quality. The $2.99 million grant is for three years and will help get the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) Initiative at Arizona State University off the ground.

“As regional leaders, our job is to improve quality of life and that is what this partnership will do,” said Steve Chucri, District 2, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “The fact is, our weather is reaching new extremes, making ozone a bigger problem. This summer, we had more than 40 straight days of ozone alerts. This can’t be the new normal. As Chairman, I committed us to the hard work involved in building a smart, sustainable future. I am hopeful that other governments and community partners will follow our lead in supporting this important work.”

The HUE initiative takes a solutions-based approach to heat mitigation and air quality improvement, capitalizing on ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, its School of Sustainability and its partners around the world, to address the unique challenges facing a county that is comparable in size and scale to some countries.

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Meet sustainability alumna René Edde

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 14, 2018

René Edde stands near outdoor stairwayRené Edde, senior business development manager of coffee for Fair Trade USA, initially thought that the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership might just be a good resume builder. But it turned out to be a transformational experience.

“I grew into my shoes as a leader,” Edde said. “I learned to embrace my authentic self both in my career and in my personal life. I began to believe that I had the power to make a difference with every decision that I make.”

In the following Q&A, Edde explains what she learned from the EMSL, how she balanced classwork with her career, and how the EMSL has given her the knowledge and confidence to pursue her dreams.

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

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Virtual conference provides sustainable alternative

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 13, 2018

Marco JanssenDue to the international scope of sustainability science, sustainability scientists travel a lot — especially by plane — to conduct research and to meet with colleagues. An important component of academia is to attend conferences to present research findings and learning about new developments. Are there different ways to provide this knowledge exchange that is more inclusive and with a smaller carbon footprint?

In an attempt to explore alternatives, School of Sustainability Professor Marco Janssen is chairing the first virtual conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) from November 12 to 30. The IASC is the leading professional organization dedicated to the study of governance of the commons.

Instead of traveling to a conference, participants can login to the IASC website, watch the videos and chat with the presenters. In this first virtual conference of the IASC, 40 videos are available for participants to engage with.

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New modeling reveals complex dynamics of climate change, heat-mitigating technologies

ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 12, 2018

Illustration of a sun setting behind a city skyline with an orange skyThe near-term future of Earth is one of a warming planet, as urban expansion and greenhouse gas emissions stoke the effects of climate change. Current climate projections show that in U.S. cities, temperatures are expected to rise by 2 to 7 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 12.6 F) by the year 2099.

To try to adapt to this warming and maintain livability on the planet, researchers are looking into new ways of designing and building cities with climate-mitigating technologies and finding that as their predictive models increase in sophistication, they are unveiling a complex interdependency of effects.

For example, new modelling is revealing the dynamics of climate change and urban sprawl on a more detailed level, leading to a new understanding of what might be in store as cities grow and regions warm. This information could be critical in determining what might or might not work as we try to adapt to the coming heat.

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Global Drylands Center director recognized for contributions to ecology

ASU Wrigley Institute News Global Drylands News

November 8, 2018

Argentina Meeting group pic Rachel TateOsvaldo Sala, distinguished sustainability scientist and founding director of the Global Drylands Center at Arizona State University, has been named an honorary member of the Asociación Argentina de Ecología (AsAE).

Honorary members are recognized for their extraordinary contribution to ecology as a science and to the functioning of AsAE. Sala was recognized at the XXVIII Reunión Argentina de Ecología in October in the city of Mar del Plata. The meeting, held biennially and organized by AsAE, included a symposium honoring Sala’s research legacy and commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of his 1988 seminal paper “Primary Production of the Central Grassland Region of the United States."

According to the organization's website, AsAE is an association that “brings together researchers, professors, fellows, professionals and students from all branches of environmental science." A primary role for AsAE is to promote Argentine ecological research. The association also addresses the application of ecology to environmental problems and contributes to the management of sustainable resources.

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