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Sustainability News

Impacts of Traffic Noise on Birds in Urban Environments

April 14, 2009

Communication is the basis of all social relationships between animals. Birds use acoustic signals (calls and songs) to attract and bond with mates, defend territories and warn of danger from approaching predators. Background noise reduces the distance over which a call or song can be heard. As well as natural noises (e.g. wind and rain), birds in urban habitats must compete with human-generated noise such as road-traffic noise, much of which occurs in the lower-frequency bands below 2,000 Hz. Birds in cities have been known to use a number of strategies for overcoming noise, such as singing at a higher pitch to reduce masking by the low-frequency noise, singing more loudly, or singing at night time when traffic noise is at its lowest.

I travelled to Phoenix to investigate the how birds there respond to traffic noise. In a collaborative project with researchers from GIOS and SoLS at ASU, I recorded the calls and songs of birds and measured noise levels at 24 neighbourhood parks around the city. We are particularly interested to see whether doves such as the Inca dove and mourning dove are calling at a higher pitch in noisy areas. Of all the birds that live in cities, we would expect them to have the most difficulty hearing each other in traffic noise. This is because they have very low-pitched calls that are overlapped by the low-pitched traffic noise. But these species are very common around Phoenix, which suggests that they can still attract mates and breed successfully in noisy urban environments. In the future, we would like to investigate the breeding success of doves in noisy and quiet locations, to see whether urban noise is actually having an impact on their populations.

The Business of Climate Change - A Call for Innovation

March 31, 2009

By Jessica Lagreid

Undergraduate, W.P. Carey School of Business

Student Worker, Global Institute Of Sustainability

Andy Hoffman"In periods of great flux and uncertainty, the people who love [change] are going to find opportunities," says Andrew J. Hoffman, the author of Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy? (2008). Speaking to an ASU audience and reporters on Mar. 19, the University of Michigan professor of sustainable enterprise cast climate change as both a threat and an opportunity.

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Keeping Our Old Computers Out of the 'E-Waste' Piles

March 23, 2009

Eric WilliamsEric Williams, an assistant professor of civil, environmental and sustainability in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, is interviewed on a segment of the program Sustainability, which aired recently on National Public Radio, including local Phoenix-area affiliate station KJZZ-91.5 FM.

The show focuses on projects that scientists and engineers are working on to solve many of the world’s environmental problems.

Williams talks about his National Science Foundation-funded search for solutions to the growing worldwide problem caused by a proliferating amount of “e-waste.” That’s a short way of referring to all the junk we are creating when we toss out our old and used electronic equipment, especially computers.

Williams suggests ways we could properly recycle computer components or keep old computers in use. That way the chemicals and materials would not pile up on waste heaps and threaten to do environmental damage by finding their way into soils and water sources.

The segment begins about 18 minutes and 15 seconds into the 50 minute show (the entire program is worth a listen). Sustainability is part of the Global Challenges Series from the Purdue University College of Engineering.

Listen to Sustainability. And read more about Eric Williams and his "e-waste" research.

Lebanese Architect Embraces “Poetry of Decay” Renovating War-Scarred Buildings

March 17, 2009

By Leah Starr, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury defies the norm with his avant-garde designs, which he builds in response to what he calls the “total denial period” following the political and civil unrest in Lebanon.

In a dimly lit room of the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in downtown Phoenix, Khoury addressed a crowd of over 200 recently as images of his past, current, and future projects were projected onto an overhead screen.

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Quantum Dots/Nanomaterials: Ingredients for Better Lighting, Reliable Power

March 13, 2009

Imagine flexible lighting devices manufactured by using printing techniques. Imagine solar power sources equally as reliable and as portable as any conventional power source.

Such advances are among aims of research at Arizona State University to find ways of more effectively harnessing solar power and producing more energy-efficient, durable and custom-designed light sources. The work is now drawing support from two international corporations.

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New Microscope to Advance Research, Education

March 13, 2009

Arizona State University will be home to one of the world’s most advanced electron microscopes, one that will enable researchers to do work essential to making significant advances in nanoscale aspects of solid state science and materials science and engineering.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Materials Research has approved a grant to fund ASU’s $5 million project to acquire an aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope that allows for the clearest possible views yet of matter at the atomic level.

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Phoenix Mayor to Unveil Lofty 17-Point Green Plan for Phoenix

March 11, 2009

Mayor Phil Gordon will use today's State of the City address to outline an ambitious strategy to make Phoenix the first carbon-neutral city - and the greenest - in the entire country.

Green Phoenix, a 17-point plan developed in collaboration with Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, would require about $1 billion in water, renewable energy, public-transit and other investments.

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Award to Transform Babble to Benefit

March 11, 2009

jwuWhat comes to mind when you look across grasslands? That they are major components of “drylands,” regions that cover more than 40 percent of the world's land area and home to more than 25 percent of the global human population? Or, rather, lyric phrases, such as “Leaves of Grass” and “Amber waves of grain?”

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‘Gurus’ Clean Up Campus with Powerful Recycling Mission

February 25, 2009

Whispered rumors have reached us about a dedicated band of "Recycling Gurus" on ASU campuses who can enlighten students on how to improve the ecological footprints of their residence halls. The Gurus' mantra for recycling compactors: "No glass, no plastic bags, no pizza boxes." Repeat 50 times, please. We tracked down two of the Recycling Gurus and in a Q&A with the duo found out what makes them tick. Hailing from the Center Complex dorms, freshman Mechanical Engineering and Sustainability students Andrew Latimer and Alex Davis tell us more about their lives as Recycling Gurus...

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FBR Open Works to Get Greener

February 23, 2009

ARIZONA’S BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT CHIPS AWAY AT ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS

By Tara Alatorre, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

The golf course has gotten a little greener at the FBR Open in Scottsdale thanks to a two-year-old policy enacted to establish and encourage recycling. As a result, the nearly half a million fans at this year’s event, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, had just as much fun as in previous years, but left behind a smaller percentage of trash destined for the landfill.

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National Climate Leaders Convene for Listening Session

February 17, 2009

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY TEAMS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AND ARIZONA WATER INSTITUTE TO HOST THINK TANK FOR NATIONAL CLIMATE LEADERS

“Listening Session” is Part of a Nationwide Series by the Climate Change Science Program to Garner Stakeholder Input on Climate Change Information; Long-Range Strategic Planning

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Teach-in Focuses on Global-Warming Solution

February 5, 2009

The State Press (asuwebdevil.com)

Tessa Muggeridge

Through various events across the Tempe campus on Thursday, thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members will gather to discuss ways to curtail global-warming.

The events are part of a national teach-in on global warming solutions that is sponsored by the Global Institute of Sustainability and the Undergraduate Student Government for students on the Tempe campus.

Nationally, the teach-in will connect more than a million Americans in a solutions-driven global-warming dialogue during the first 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Lauren Kuby, manager of events and community engagement at the Global Institute of Sustainability, said she expects thousands of students to participate in Thursday’s various events.

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Singh Farms Helping ASU Keep Waste from Landfill

January 29, 2009

Arizona Republic

It is still a long way from its zero-waste goal, but Arizona State University is reducing the size of its refuse piles and turning the Tempe campus greener in the process.

ASU is sending its landscaping waste to nearby Singh Farms, which composts the material and returns the nutrient-rich material to nurture the campus' landscaping and grow vegetables in organic gardens.

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ASU Global Trip Promotes Sustainability, Regional Cooperation

January 29, 2009

A delegation led by Anthony “Bud” Rock, vice president for global engagement, and Stephen Feinson, director of ASU’s Policy and Strategic Partnerships Office, traveled to the United Arab Emirates the week of Jan. 12 for a series of meetings to follow-up on last summer’s visit to ASU by Sultan Saeed Nasser AlMansoori, minister of economy for the UAE, and President Michael Crow and Rock’s subsequent visits to the UAE.

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Professor Speaks out on Sustainability

January 27, 2009

Brad Allenby Arizona State University engineering professor Brad Allenby will help lead a major international effort to broaden public awareness and understanding of sustainability and the technological and social evolution it is sparking.

Allenby has been named chair of the newly founded Presidential Sustainability Initiative of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology.

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World's Most Advanced Solar Testing and Certification Facility Opens Doors to Global Market

January 13, 2009

Celebration/Ribbon-Cutting of New Clean-Tech Venture Features Dignitaries from Business, Government, University, and Solar Industry; More Events to Follow in Cologne and Shanghai

PHOENIX/TEMPE, Ariz.; NEWTOWN, Conn.; YOKOHAMA, Japan; COLOGNE, Germany; SHANGHAI, China – TUV Rheinland Group and Arizona State University (ASU) today celebrate the much anticipated launch of TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC, the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated facility for testing and certification of solar energy equipment.

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Arizona State University Honors First-Ever Graduate in Sustainability

December 18, 2008

large group of graduate students at ASU

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State University (ASU) awarded the first-ever Master of Arts degree in Sustainability at its fall 2008 commencement ceremonies today. The new graduate, Brigitte Bavousett, received her diploma from the university’s pioneering School of Sustainability, the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the nation.

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ASU Strengthens Sustainability Efforts

December 15, 2008

ASUNews

ASU’s School of Sustainability (SOS) and the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) are about to jointly take the next step in their planned evolution with the creation of a single position, dean and director, to manage both organizations.

This new position, for which there will be an international search, is a further commitment to sustainability, putting sustainability at ASU on an equal footing with liberal arts and sciences, and engineering.

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Online Tools to Make Biodiversity More Accessible to Public

December 12, 2008

ASUNews

Researchers from Arizona State University are developing a Web tool that promises to revolutionize the way that park rangers, grade school teachers and members of the public access information about the living world, with support from the National Science Foundation.

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ASU Bike Co-Op keeps students green and moving

December 8, 2008

By Jessica Lagreid

Undergraduate, W.P. Carey School of Business

Student Worker, Global Institute Of Sustainability

Ever feel like you are competing in the Tour de France as you just try to make your way to class? That's because more than 15,000 ASU students pedal their bikes to campus every day. These greenies save commuting time, gas money, and tons of dirty carbon emissions. But bicycles cost money and they occasionally need repairs that can flummox cash-strapped commuters. That's why the student-run ASU Bike Co-Op was founded. Located in the back of the Student Recreation Complex, the Bike Co-Op offers ASU students low- or no-cost bike repairs and free bike rentals. And now, with new funding from USG, it's ready to expand. Hear more about what the Bike Co-Op can do for you by clicking on the audio file below, and then find the BikeCo-Op on Facebook.

[audio:http://sustainability.asu.edu/media/podcasts/bike-co-op.mp3]