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Sustainability News

Darnall named National Academy of Public Administration fellow

ASU Now | September 16, 2019

Nicole DarnallThe National Academy of Public Administration has inducted Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor in Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, into its 2019 class of fellows. Darnall is one of eight NAPA fellows from ASU. An induction into NAPA is one of the highest honors of a public administration official.

Established by Congress in 1967, the nonpartisan NAPA conducts work for federal cabinet departments and agencies, aiming to “improve governance and advance the field of public administration,” by focusing on intergovernmental evaluation, financial management, strategic planning, organization assessment, performance management and human capital.

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New research by ASU professor furthers understanding of dryland litter cycles

September 11, 2019

Heather ThroopArizona State University professor Heather Throop penned a new research article that advances our understanding of dryland litter cycles. Drylands are arid ecosystems characterized by a lack of water. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, drylands  "have been shaped by a combination of low precipitation, droughts and heat waves."

Litter in this case refers to parts of plants that have detached and fallen to the ground. A litter cycle is then the journey of litter from its location on the ground, its movement by horizontal or vertical vectors (such as water), and its eventual decomposition in the same or a secondary location. The litter decomposition rates in drylands are often underpredicted, resulting in a key knowledge gap that is important to address because litter decomposition has a significant influence on ecosystem properties. 

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Meet sustainability junior Casey Rapacki

September 9, 2019

Casey Rapacki stands smiling in front of treeMoved by the beautiful scenery she witnessed during a hike, Casey Rapacki decided then and there to dedicate her life to protecting the planet and its species.

“I love our planet, but I fight for social, economic and environmental health for my love of living beings,” Rapacki said. “The planet will continue on, and I want to make sure that we thrive along with it for years to come.”

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Meet sustainability senior Dawson Morford

September 3, 2019

Dawson Morford - ASU sustainability student - wearing navy blue suit smiles in front of plant wallA simple question propelled Dawson Morford into the field of sustainability.

“When picking a major I had a close friend say, ‘Don’t you like all that renewable energy stuff?’ He was right — I always liked learning about all of the cool ways that society was creating energy," Morford said. "This then brought me to the arena of sustainability and I have not looked back since."

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ASU professors named 2019 American Geophysical Union Fellows

August 30, 2019

Osvaldo SalaArizona State University professors Osvaldo Sala, a drylands researcher and Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences, and Meenakshi Wadhwa, a cosmochemistry expert and the new director of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, have been elected to the 2019 class of the American Geophysical Union Fellows. The election is an honor just 0.1% of AGU members in any given year enjoy. To be elected is a recognition of “attaining scientific eminence through achievements in research, as demonstrated by a breakthrough or discovery, innovation in science or the development of methods and instruments, or sustained impact," according to the AGU.

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ASU, CI and Potsdam researchers explore future of Alto Mayo, Peru

August 29, 2019

People sitting around table talking and brainstormingWhat is the future of coffee in a changing climate? How can we enhance the livelihoods of farmers while protecting the nature that surrounds them?

Conservation International and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research partnered with Arizona State University to help answer these questions.

“Farmers and government planners are making decisions today based on their past experience,” ASU-CI Professor of Practice and CI Peru's Director of Science and Development Percy Summers said. “This works in a [short-term, predictable] world, but increasingly change has become the new norm.”

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Meet sustainability junior Emma Goethe

August 28, 2019

Emma GoetheAlthough she grew up in Phoenix, Emma Goethe attended a small, private university in California until she decided Arizona State University was a better match. She transferred and hasn’t looked back since.

“I decided to transfer to ASU and it was the best decision I have ever made. Once I was admitted to [Barrett, the Honors College at] ASU, sustainability was really the only major that stood out to me,” Goethe said. “Truly, in the beginning, I didn’t know just how much sustainability covers. It’s not just about the environment, but it’s also about economics, policy and the social impacts that sustainability creates.”

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ASU solar project in Puerto Rico promotes energy independence

August 28, 2019

People working on Soalr panel installation in Puerto RicoArizona State University's first solar project in Puerto Rico promotes energy independence for the community of Barrio La Salud. Using flexible solar panels, a novel racking design and battery backup, community leaders can safely remove and replace panels before and after a major storm or hurricane. Doctoral students Jessica Otten and Tara Neitzold are part of a team of Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) students who worked with community leaders to design the system.

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Sustainability alumnus authors report on impacts of proposed new fuel economy standard

ASU Now | August 21, 2019

Chris HartoAn Arizona State University School of Sustainability alumnus was one of three experts to author a report on the potential consequences of the current administration’s plan to rollback Obama-era vehicle fuel economy standards. The report from Chris Harto, a former Science Foundation Arizona Fellow (2007-2009) who now serves as a senior policy analyst of transportation and energy for Consumers Reports’ Washington, D.C. office shows that “American consumers will lose about $460 billion dollars in fuel savings in the coming years” if the plans are enacted.

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Sala elected president of the Ecological Society of America

August 17, 2019

Osvaldo SalaOsvaldo Sala, a Regents and Foundation Professor at Arizona State University and a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, was elected on August 16 as president of the Ecological Society of America. Elected by ESA members during the society’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Sala will be president for a one-year term that ends in 2020. He is the first Hispanic person to serve as president in the organization's century-long history.

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ASU professor predicts future shortages in state rivers

ASU Now | August 16, 2019

Heather BatemanExtreme weather changes and a boom in population growth will result in a declining of the rivers in Arizona, according to an Arizona State University professor. Heather Bateman, a field ecologist and an associate professor in ASU’s College of Integrative Arts and Sciences predicts that the steady rise of Phoenix’s population will increase the consumption of water which will in turn reduce the amount of water in streams. Bateman has conducted research that shows that in highly modified rivers, there is also a “lower diversity of lizards, amphibians and small mammals.”

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Members of UREx SRN receive ecology award

August 15, 2019

UREx and SRn members accepting Award from the Ecological Society of AmericaUrban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) were recipients of an award from the Ecological Society of America.

Winners of the award are recognized for their “outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession,” according to an ESA announcement.

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Meet sustainability junior Sakshi Hegde

August 15, 2019

Sakshi HegdeSchool of Sustainability junior Sakshi Hegde has always cared about the environment. So when it was time to make a decision about what to dedicate her life to, the answer was a no-brainer.

"I knew by the time I was applying to colleges that I wanted my future career to be about protecting the environment," Hegde said. "When I learned about sustainability, I knew it exemplified what I wanted to do with my life."

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ASU alumni incorporate sustainability into diverse fields

ASU Now | August 15, 2019

hand holding tiny globeAs three Arizona State University alumni — Debbie Namugayi, Katherine Palmer and Patrick Ware — show, sustainability practices can be implemented into any career.

As a sustainability manager at Eastern Kentucky University, School of Sustainability alumna Debbie Namugayi works to implement broad policy sustainability initiatives across the entire campus. She also works on engaging students who aren’t necessarily concerned about sustainability, taking a different approach by incentivizing them with fun activities rather than asking them to make sacrifices. She previously worked at the University of Maryland where she promoted a “green chapter” program for Greek life and recently implemented a bike sharing project at the 16,000-strong Eastern Kentucky University.

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Meet sustainability senior Maddie Mercer

August 8, 2019

Maddie MercerMotivated by the proximity of her family and her interest in environmental science, Maddie Mercer decided to attend Arizona State University's School of Sustainability. It's a choice she does not regret.

"I found that the degrees offered by the School of Sustainability were the best fit for me and my interests, and I loved that they were available so close to home," Maddie said. "I also loved the intimacy offered by this program, especially because it gave me the chance to have a small, tight-knit community in the context of the much larger university."

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Westerhoff named 2019 Clark Prize Laureate

ASU Now | July 31, 2019

Headshot of Paul WesterhoffPaul Westerhoff, the Fulton Chair of Environmental Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, was recently named the 2019 Clarke Prize Laureate by the National Water Research Institute. According to their website, the NWRI presents the annual 50,000 dollar prize and a medal to recognize researchers that solve real-world water problems and have made outstanding achievements in water science and technology.

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ASU engineers working to use traffic cameras to warn residents about urban flooding

ASU Now | July 31, 2019

car driving through flooded roadA team of researchers led by faculty from Arizona State University are working on a project called “Flood Aware” to warn people about urban flooding. The researchers plan to use traffic cameras pointed at curbs and gutters to observe road intersections, use an image processing algorithm to estimate the depth of the water and then feed the obtained data into an existing model that will forecast areas where flooding has already occurred.

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Sustainability scholar hosts panel at Sun Valley Institute Annual Forum

July 31, 2019

Group of people standing and smiling indoorsThe Sun Valley Forum is an annual event that "accelerates the transformation to sustainable, equitable, and secure economies and communities," according to the forum's website. Founded by Aimée Christensen, the forum each year brings together hundreds of local, national and international leaders from different sectors to work together to build a healthier, more equitable and more resilient world.

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Meet sustainability sophomore William Walker VI

July 31, 2019

William Walker VISchool of Sustainability sophomore William Walker VI has big dreams.

"I study sustainability at Arizona State University because I want to be a proponent of our world in the long-run," said Walker. "I ultimately want to transcend the identity and agency I embody into foundation-based work that focuses on reciprocity and community organizing."

Read more to find out about his time in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and his plans for the future.

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