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Sustainability News

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

November 7, 2018

A dry, cracked bed of dirt with grass in backgroundClimate change. Species loss. Pollution.

These are well-known consequences of economic development threatening human and ecological health. International efforts to mitigate these threats are also familiar, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting endangered animals and cleaning our air and waterways.

However, perhaps the most crucial threat is also the most neglected — land degradation.

Approximately 1.3 billion people depend on polluted or degraded agricultural land. This leads to reduced agricultural productivity and access to water and increased carbon emissions. It is a complex problem with serious implications for food security, health and sustainable development.

Arizona State University and Conservation International are working together to solve it.

On October 17–18, ASU and Conservation International unveiled a new tool designed to help decision-makers understand the type and extent of land degradation in a given geographical area, and the costs and benefits associated with specific policy interventions. This tool was designed by the Decision Theater staff and visualized across their immersive, seven-screen environment.

”The Decision Theater environment allows groups with multiple perspectives and anchored positions to objectively examine the trade-offs of different outcomes,” explained Rahul Salla, Decision Theater associate director and technical director. “Interacting with the model in the Decision Theater, they can make their own discoveries as they investigate possible futures, leading to more informed decisions.”

ASU has partnered with Conservation International since 2016 to make measurable advances on conservation and to train the next generation of conservation leaders.

Read the full story on ASU Now.

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