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Sustainability News

ASU experts creating solutions and mitigation strategies for extreme heat dangers

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 24, 2019

Downtown Phoenix skyline with yellow skyIn recognition of Arizona Heat Awareness Week May 27 through May 31, ASU Now is highlighting a slew of projects and initiatives that are expanding our understanding and capabilities as they concern the inescapable environmental reality of scorching temperatures.

The article, "Summer in the City," highlights the work of several senior sustainability scientists and fellows: Mikhail Chester, Ariane Middel, David Hondula, Nancy Selover, Sharon Harlan and Matei Georgescu.

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Meet sustainability alumna Nicole Kinsey

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 22, 2019

Nicole KinseyNicole Kinsey grew up in Tempe, Arizona, so going to Arizona State University was a natural choice. The only big change she faced was the size of school; in contrast with the small Catholic schools she was used to, ASU seemed huge.

“I went from knowing everyone in my senior class to having classes bigger than my entire high school,” Kinsey said. “Communities like the School of Sustainability make ASU feel smaller and tight knit.”

Kinsey wasn’t always a sustainability student — she added it as a second major a couple years into her ASU experience. This month, she graduated with bachelor’s degrees in both sustainability and global health. In her Q&A, read why Kinsey felt her education wouldn’t have been complete without sustainability.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kaylin Ayotte

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 21, 2019

Kayin AyotteKaylin Ayotte is an Arizona native and a two-time Arizona State University graduate. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Sustainability and a minor in business, she went on to expand her education with the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS), graduating in Spring 2019.

Along with fellow student Isabel Burdge, Ayotte developed a publication for sustainability professionals, Mindiac, that focuses on mindfulness. Read more about their culminating experience project, and Ayotte’s experience in the MSUS program, in her Q&A below.

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Meet sustainability senior Rachael Granger

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 20, 2019

Rachael GrangerRachael Granger is a soon-to-be senior at Arizona State University majoring in sustainability and pursuing a certificate in sustainable food systems. After switching majors a couple times, she landed in sustainability because she wanted to be a part of a field that is finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

Read Granger’s Q&A for more about her experience as a School of Sustainability student.

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Study expands understanding of bacterial communities for global next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 16, 2019

Digital image of BacteriaResearchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the University of Oklahoma led an interdisciplinary global study to explore wastewater microbial communities. The research expands the understanding of activated sludge microbiomes for next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems enhanced by microbiome engineering.

Developing a fundamental understanding of the biodiversity of the activated sludge microbiome in relationship to performance is critical to advancing and optimizing this key technology for maintaining environmental health.

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Sustainability PhD alumna working to make slums more connected

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

May 15, 2019

Top down Aerial view of slum neighborhoodSchool of Sustainability PhD alumna Christa Brelsford is part of a team working to improve the lives of slum residents by using topology — a method that allows the team to mathematically examine the slums’ spatial structures and networks.

“This method could determine, for example, the fewest streets that would need to be added to provide street access to everyone, and at minimal cost and with minimal disruption to the residents,” describes author Stephen Ornes, who wrote about Breslford’s work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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ASU awarded NASA grant for study on Colorado River water management

ASU Wrigley Institute News DCDC News

May 15, 2019

Aerial view of water canalAn interdisciplinary team of researchers at Arizona State University has received a $1 million grant from NASA’s Earth Science Division to provide long-range scenarios for water management for the Colorado River Basin.

“Water management is a pressing issue for Arizona,” said Senior Sustainability Scientist Enrique Vivoni, principal investigator of the project and professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “This grant will assist in helping local, state and federal entities with their drought contingency planning.”

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Turning borderlands into an energy-water innovation zone

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 14, 2019

Graphic of the Castillo wallA bold proposal for the future of most of the nearly 2,000-mile stretch of land along the United States-Mexico border has been drawing attention.

The ambitious plan, called the Future Energy, Water, Industry and Education Park initiative, details concepts for developing the borderlands by bringing energy and water resources, education, farming, business opportunities and jobs to the region.

This innovation zone would consist of a series of industrial parks, focusing on the infrastructure development to support the testing, production and deployment of technologies and systems to meet growing needs for energy, water and food in both Mexico and the U.S. Along with private business enterprises and public facilities, the energy and water corridor would also include research and education centers.

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ASU ranks 2nd in US in Times Higher Education sustainability impact rankings

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 10, 2019

Old Main buildingArizona State University was ranked 2nd in the country and 35th in the world in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019. These inaugural rankings, which included 462 universities from 76 nations, are “the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” according to Times Higher Education.

The University Impact Rankings reviewed universities on 11 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and compared universities across three categories: research, outreach and stewardship. ASU’s top-ranked impacts were SDGs 12, 11, 5 and 17:

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School of Sustainability instructor using fellowship to develop booklet for sustainability practitioners

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 10, 2019

Nancy MancillaSchool of Sustainability instructor Nancy Mancilla is among nine American professionals selected by Eisenhower Fellowships (EF) to travel to China for one month as part of the 2019 Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellowship Program. These dynamic fellows represent a diverse group of leaders across a broad range of fields, including emerging technologies in smart cities, diversity and inclusion, sustainable development and renewable energy.

“This year’s Zhi-Xing Fellows are forward-thinking innovators, addressing some of the most important issues of our times. We’re pleased to welcome them into the global network of Eisenhower Fellows,” said Robert Gates, chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships.

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Project Cities students continue to impress in end-of-semester spring showcase

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Project Cities SCN News

May 8, 2019

Project Cities Student group photoAs the spring semester came to an end, Arizona State University students shared the work they had been doing with Project Cities in partnership with the City of Glendale and the City of Apache Junction. The Project Cities program works to connect local cities with ASU students, faculty directors and academic courses to research and propose solutions to sustainability challenges affecting the communities.

Students from four classes worked with the program this semester. Albert Brown, an instructor in The Polytechnic School's Environmental and Resource Management program, taught 39 students in ERM 401/501 Hazardous Waste Management to lead the development of a project outline and work plan for the City of Glendale involving above ground storage tank inventory and compliance.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Anthony Contento

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights Sustainability Connect Successes Sustainability Connect News

May 6, 2019

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingLast summer, we did a Q&A with Anthony Contento, a Master of Sustainability Leadership student in the School of Sustainability. Now that he just graduated with a few more accomplishments under his belt, we thought it was time to do a follow-up interview to learn about his capstone project and hear reflections about his experience with the program.

Question: Can you tell us about your capstone project?

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Why biodiversity matters

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News Biodiversity News

May 6, 2019

Young toucan standing on branchOn May 6 at the UNESCO world headquarters in Paris, the United Nations released a global assessment on biodiversity as part of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It is the first large-scale global assessment on biodiversity since 2005.

Arizona State University’s Leah Gerber, a professor in the School of Life Sciences, a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and founding director of the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, was one of the lead authors of the IPBES global assessment. In an interview with ASU Now, Gerber provides her thoughts on the assessment and what needs to be done to improve biodiversity of the planet.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Liana Skibbie

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 6, 2019

Liana SkibbieLiana Skibbie is graduating this May with a Master of Sustainability Leadership from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Skibbie, a long-time employee of Starbucks, created a capstone project that aims to build a network of sustainability leaders within Starbucks to foster more sustainable behaviors, especially in regards to waste.

Though it’s not always easy to complete a master’s degree on top of a full workload, Skibbie said she would recommend the program to anyone interested. “This program has been incredible,” Skibbie said. “The professors have been extremely helpful and supportive through the entire thing.”

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Sustainability scientist named an Emerging Scholar by the American Association of Geographers

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 4, 2019

Wenwen LiEach year, geographers from around the country and the world gather for the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Part of the meeting includes recognizing geographers for their work and achievements over the past year. Senior sustainability scientist Wenwen Li, associate professor with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University, was among those who were honored.

During the annual meeting, Li was named an Emerging Scholar by the Spatial Analysis and Modeling Specialty Group. The emerging scholar award honors early- to mid-career scholars who have made significant contributions to education and research initiatives that are congruent with the mission of AAG-SAM.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Christopher Mutshnick

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights Sustainability Connect Successes Sustainability Connect News

May 3, 2019

Christopher Mutshnick headshotOne of the goals of the Master of Sustainability Leadership in the School of Sustainability is to teach tools that can be immediately applied to benefit each student’s workplace — and student Christopher William Mutshnick is a great example of that succeeding. Mutshnick, who is graduating with an MSL degree this month, has worked in the field of educational outreach and equity for nearly 10 years and used his capstone project to create for his organization a program that addresses global challenges while improving student learning and access to higher education.

Initially, Mutshnick didn’t see how threats like climate change connected with education. But then it dawned on him: “In my quest to make the world a better place, I had failed to realize that a prerequisite was having a world left to save.” Read his Q&A to learn more about this realization and what Mutshnick has been working on since.

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Two sustainability scientists elected to National Academy of Sciences

ASU Wrigley Institute News CAP LTER News Phosphorus Alliance

May 3, 2019

Old Main buildingBeing elected to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the highest honors for a scientist, and it also means that members are qualified to inform the president and Congress about issues related to their expertise. Two Arizona State University sustainability scientists, Nancy Grimm and James Elser, can now add that accolade to their already celebrated resumes.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research dedicated to the advancement of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare of society. The academy announced Tuesday the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

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Carbon-capture technology moves to commercialization

ASU Wrigley Institute News Global Futures Laboratory

May 2, 2019

Klaus Lackner examining machineArizona State University and Silicon Kingdom Holdings (SKH) have announced an agreement to deploy carbon-capture technology developed by Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions.

The proprietary technology acts like a tree that is thousands of times more efficient at removing CO2 from the air. The “mechanical trees” allow the captured gas to be sequestered or sold for re-use in a variety of applications, such as synthetic fuels, enhanced oil recovery or in food, beverage and agriculture industries.

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Sustainability scientist Ariel Anbar to receive 2019 European science innovation award

ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 2, 2019

Ariel AnbarArizona State University President’s Professor Ariel Anbar has been selected to receive the 2019 Science Innovation Award from the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG). This award recognizes scientists who have recently made a particularly important and innovative breakthrough in geochemistry.

Anbar is a scientist and educator interested in Earth’s past and future as an inhabited world and the prospects for life beyond it. He is on the faculty of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences and is a Distinguished Sustainability Scholar in ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Anbar also directs ASU’s Center for Education Through Exploration, which is reinventing digital learning around curiosity, exploration and discovery.

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Meet sustainability junior Jade Lantz

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 2, 2019

Jade LantzSchool of Sustainability junior Jade Lantz has been on our radar a lot lately. Last week, she presented about the benefits of community gardens in Phoenix from an environmental justice perspective, based on research she conducted through the Sustainability Undergraduate Research Experience program. In addition, her hometown newspaper, the Rockford Register Star, recently published her op-ed about food deserts: “My View: The solution to supermarket shutdowns may be in the schools.” In the essay, Lantz wrote that community gardens in schools can ensure that children still have access to healthy, fresh foods even if they live in a food desert.

We asked Lantz a few questions including why she decided to study sustainability and what sustainability means to her.

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