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Sustainability News

ASU Environmental Humanities Initiative is partner in Global Humanities Institute grant

ASU Now | April 23, 2020

The Environmental Humanities Initiative of the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University is collaborating with the University of Texas Humanities Institute in a grant awarded by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), located at the University of Wisconsin System. The grant, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is for the purpose of conducting a Global Humanities Institute (GHI) in summer 2021 on the theme “Climate Justice and Problems of Scale.” This will be the fifth GHI funded through the CHCI-Mellon partnership.

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New KEDtalk: Swimming in plastic

April 23, 2020

An unfathomable amount of plastic has made its way into our oceans, but Charlie Rolsky believes we can make small changes in our lives to turn the tide of plastic pollution for a cleaner world and healthier ecosystems. Rolsky is a PhD candidate in the Biodesign Institute's Center for Environmental Health Engineering.

Rolsky's talk is part of the ASU KEDtalks series. Short for Knowledge Enterprise Development talks, KEDtalks aim to spark ideas, indulge curiosity and inspire action by highlighting ASU scientists, humanists, social scientists and artists who are driven to find solutions to the universe’s grandest challenges. Tune in to research.asu.edu/kedtalks to discover more.

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School of Sustainability alumna provides tips on reducing food waste

Phoenix New Times | April 23, 2020

As we try to tackle the wicked problem of climate change, one of the biggest and most important hurdles is the transformation of our food systems. While that may sound like a daunting task, the good news is there are little changes we can make each day to bring us closer to that transformation. One of these changes is reducing food waste, a concept that has found a passionate advocate in sustainable restauranteur Danielle Leoni.

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ASU ranked top in US, 5th in world pursuit of UN sustainability goals

ASU Now | April 22, 2020

Arizona State University ranks top in the U.S. and fifth in the world out of 766 institutions in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global ranking is a jump from last year’s 35th place.

In the annual rankings published by Times Higher Education magazine, ASU scored 96.3 out of 100 points. It was the top American university in the rankings. Only three American universities placed in the top 100. ASU beat the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Penn State.

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Zero greenhouse gas emissions earns ASU the AASHE Platinum rating

ASU Now | April 22, 2020

Thirteen years ago, Arizona State University made the pioneering promise to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from its campus operations by the year 2025. But on June 30, 2019, the university accomplished that goal, six years ahead of schedule. This remarkable achievement—completed even as ASU’s student population ballooned—was one of many initiatives that earned the university the prestigious STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) Platinum sustainability rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

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After 50 years of Earth Day, ASU environmental experts see shift to grassroots activism

ASU Now | April 21, 2020

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, attitudes in the United States concerning environmentalism have gradually evolved from a focus on addressing pollution to a focus on protecting and nurturing our ecosystems. And as that transformation has taken place over the decades, two Arizona State University professors have been there to witness it all.

Joni Adamson, the President's Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of English and director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and Paul Hirt, a professor of history specializing in the American West, environmental history and policy and sustainability studies, shared their thoughts on how the country’s attitude toward saving the planet changed in an interview with ASU Now. Both Adamson and Hirt acknowledged that there’s been a shift in focus each decade, including in Arizona:

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Exploring sustainability literacy through nature journaling in school gardens

April 20, 2020

Dedicated to fostering sustainable change through education, School of Sustainability master's student Julia Colbert helped implement nature journaling in local elementary school classrooms.

“Education has always been a significant part of my life. No matter where I go, what I do, and who I spend time with, I find myself gravitating towards education spaces,” Colbert said. Read more from Colbert in her Q&A.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Solutions alumnus Garr Punnett

April 14, 2020

Garr Punnett had been working in television production when he realized he wanted something more. Inspired by the environmentally conscious fashion brands he had recently discovered, he decided to obtain a degree in sustainability.

"A sustainability degree has provided me a different lens through which to view the world," said Punnett, who graduated with a Master of Sustainability Solutions. "I believe there is a lack of social and environmental empathy when constructing business models and my degree allow me to act with a better degree of certainty what I believe our future economy should look like."

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Celebrate ASU Earth Month while social distancing

April 12, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic may have upended life as we know it, but there are a few things that haven’t changed, like the fact that it’s currently Earth Month at Arizona State University. To mark the occasion, Siobhan Lyon and Emmery Ledin, two members on the sustainability committee of the ASU staff council created the Earth Month Learning Series, a sequence of online discussions that are a part of ASU’s recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

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Welcome to vertical farming

ASU Now | April 8, 2020

Experts are in agreement that one of the most effective ways to combat climate change is through an overhaul of our food system. Arizona State University chemistry instructor Zhihao Chen is working to take us one step closer to that reality.

How? Chen has created an innovative way of growing food called “cleantech.” A system that can work anywhere, cleantech is contained in two standard shipping containers. The first container is used to break down food waste, relying on a process called anaerobic digestion where certain bacteria under specific conditions break down the carbon chain in food waste, transforming it into fertilizer and methane. This container can process the same amount of waste an average grocery store discards each day.

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USA Triathlon: A race toward sustainability

April 7, 2020

Led by his passion about sustainable change in the sports industry, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Brian Boyle decided to create a sustainable event guidebook for USA Triathlon events. The project focuses on providing resources, capacities, and strategies to manage and mitigate the overall sustainability footprint of USA Triathlon (USAT) events with an emphasis on outcomes and behaviors that adhere to sustainability principles.

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Integrated pest management in Senegal

April 6, 2020

Braedon Kantola and Alana Burnham with Senagalese farmers
This article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the Schoool of Sustainability

Imagine you are in Senegal, working on a farm. It's your livelihood, your culture, and a part of your well-being. You grow millet, rice, maize, sugarcane, maybe even some wheat. You do all you can to take care of your farm and your family. Yet, there is cause for concern: locusts. When they swarm, they eat all of your crops, sometimes up to a hectare’s worth of hard work. How could this have been prevented? What can be done to empower communities?  One way is by stopping locusts before they swarm. That’s what Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) student Braedon Kantola is working on for his culminating experience and what he did on his recent trip to Senegal.

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Sun Devils Together: An empathetic approach to ASU student homelessness

March 31, 2020

This article was co-written by William Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability and Paul Prosser, Project Partner Liaison at the School of Sustainability. 

All students in Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) program are required to design and execute a culminating experience project, with the goal being to partner with a community to confront a current sustainability issue. For their project, students Maryam Abdul Rashid, Skyliana Dosier, and Omar Sanchez are creating awareness about student homelessness, breaking down the corresponding stigmas, and improving access to services for homeless students in partnership with ASU’s Dean of Students office. The project explores the three fronts where homeless students experience the most insecurity: housing, health, and food.

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COVID-19: The ultimate stress test for our global futures

Medium | March 30, 2020

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "COVID-19: The Ultimate Stress Test for Our Global Futures," 21 co-authors from across disciplines at Arizona State University explore how COVID-19 is shaking our societal foundations and revealing how vulnerable our systems are to shocks — even though we've long had evidence that something like this could happen. The authors discuss what this pandemic means for society, make connections to the way we as a global population are handling climate change, and outline opportunities for optimal future responses.

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ASU professor creates hydropanels to address water scarcity

ASU Now | March 30, 2020

According to the United Nations, the year 2050 could see more than 5 billion people suffer water shortages as a result of climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies. This forecast means that now more than ever, it’s important to create new ways of obtaining sustainable drinking water. One person working to make that a reality is Arizona State University professor Cody  Friesen.

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Meet online sustainability senior Samantha Selway

March 26, 2020

A medical condition forced Samantha "Sammy" Selway to transition to online schooling. It was while she was in the process of doing this that she found Arizona State University's sustainability degree.

"After I had decided to leave [another university] because of the Misophonia, the director of their Disability Resource Center told me about ASU’s online programs and then I found the sustainability major," Selway said. "It was perfect and looking back, having to leave in-person college seems like a blessing in disguise."

Selway is a senior at ASU pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in sustainability with a focus in energy, materials and technology. Continue reading to get acquainted with Selway, her propensity to power through the obstacles of life and her research project.

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High school students from Chandler receive $50,000 grant

March 25, 2020

Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative awarded an innovative team of science students from the Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus with a $50,000 grant for their work on a heat stroke prevention device. With funding, these 9th and 10th graders will build a prototype of the device to test on student athletes.

According to Rachna Nath, a science teacher for the ACP-Erie campus, she and the students have been working with Chandler Innovations on the project since August 2019. After testing the device, they will report all data collected to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, of which HUE is a unit.

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