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Sustainability News

Sustainability professors named 2017 AASHE award winners

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

October 16, 2017

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced Katja Brundiers and Arnim Wiek, both professors in ASU's School of Sustainability, as recipients of a Campus Sustainability Research award for their outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.

AASHE bestows its prestigious awards on institutions and individuals that are helping to lead higher education to a sustainable future. This year, AASHE received 230 entries that resulted in 10 winners announced in three campus sustainability categories –  leadership, achievement and research.

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Putting your values on your plate

ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

October 4, 2017

What we put on our plates affects our overall health from our individual bodies to the planet as a whole. Christopher Wharton – director of the Food Systems Transformation Initiative (FSTI) – along with other researchers from the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability are studying the long-term effects of our diets on happiness, sustainability and ethics.

One ongoing FSTI study is examining food and fulfillment, gauging the motivators and barriers of adopting and maintaining plant-based diets. Though results are not yet in, researchers expect a correlation with long-term happiness because of the knowledge that there are positive health, environmental and other sustainability benefits to adopting a strictly or primarily plant-based diet.

In a story by ASU Now, Wharton says the availability of farmer's markets and locally produced foods along with a variety of pre-washed fruits, vegetables, and pre-prepped salads help reduce some of the barriers to integrating more plants into our diets. In addition to the health and environmental benefits, these consumer choices also support farmers and their livelihoods. Wharton notes that when it comes to issues of sustainability, one of the biggest impacts we can make is in our diet.

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SCN Kicks Off Project Cities at Apache Junction

ASU Wrigley Institute News Project Cities

October 2, 2017

Students arrive for the Project Cities Kick-Off Event

On August 30, 2017, over 130 ASU students and faculty from multiple disciplines filed into the Apache Junction Multi-Generational Center.

The draw? A kick-off event marking a partnership between ASU’s Project Cities program and the City of Apache Junction – one that plugs students into projects that make Apache Junction a better place to live.

Not only did students get to hear more about these projects from Project Cities and Apache Junction staff, the kick-off event included networking with the Apache Junction mayor, city council, board commissioners and staff – not to mention a bus tour of the city. Breakout sessions allowed students to ask city project leaders questions, learn about community history and brainstorm possible solutions to local challenges.

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Resilience game prepares city leaders for future scenarios

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Professional Training and Custom Sustainability Education

September 15, 2017

At the second in a series of resilience and sustainability workshops with the City of Tempe, municipal executives and leaders discussed possible visions of Tempe in 2040 – from recreation to shade structures.

The event, hosted by the School of Sustainability's Executive and Professional Education program, centered on a new and innovative game called AudaCITY. Created by Senior Sustainability Scientist Lauren Withycombe Keeler of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the game enables participants to set sustainability goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

ASU will host a third resilience workshop for the City of Tempe later in fall 2017.

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3 countries, 3 universities, 1 unforgettable experience

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

September 14, 2017

For ASU sustainability senior Hailey Baker, three countries plus three universities plus three weeks adds up to one unforgettable experience.

Baker and 31 other students – representing ASU, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and National Taipei University – traveled to three cities in Southern China for their summer studies, part of a program supported by the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the ASU Wrigley Institute and the ASU Study Abroad Office.

During the three-week course on sustainable urban development, Baker and her peers experienced field trips and lectures in three cities: Guangzhou, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Hong Kong. Then, working in teams with students from each participating university, each group completed a final solutions-focused project, including the development of sustainability plans for a new district in Hong Kong.

The course was co-taught by Rob Melnick – presidential professor of practice in ASU’s School of Sustainability – and sustainability doctoral candidate Joe Knott, along with faculty from the two partner universities.

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New book provides a pathway towards international cooperation and sustainability

ASU Wrigley Institute News

September 8, 2017

Sustainability Scientist Martin Pasqualetti is one of three editors on a book now out from Routledge titled The Routledge Research Companion to Energy Geographies.

The book provides a pathway toward international cooperation and sustainability by offering a framework that portrays the interdependence between geography, energy and our society – such as security, space and place, planning, environmental science, economics and political science. Recognizing that debates over location and energy flow often lack substantial consideration of geographical networks, the book illustrates and explains the importance of distribution of fuels and services around the world and how energy affects our decisions.

Pasqualetti is a professor at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and co-director of ASU’s Energy Policy Innovation Council.

How to weather calamities like Harvey and Irma

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

September 7, 2017

New ideas on how to build more resilient cities focus on working with nature, rather than trying to master it, says Charles Redman – founding director of ASU’s School of Sustainability.

Redman now leads a group of researchers from 15 institutions in a National Science Foundation-sponsored project called the Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather Related Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN), which focuses on ways to make cities more resilient to natural calamities. This entails building infrastructure systems that are safe-to-fail, rather than fail-safe, and recognizing that cities should be able to take advantage of natural features of the land.

"The overarching problem with cities like Houston is that they have built over the natural landscape with impervious surfaces, and with impediments to the natural flow of surface runoff," says Redman. "A more effective approach may be to implement infrastructure systems that work with the land to facilitate runoff rather than try to control it, but acknowledge and plan that if a specific threshold is exceeded and the system 'fails' in some sense there are backup plans in place that minimize the adverse impacts."

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Apache Junction becomes inaugural partner of ASU’s Project Cities

ASU Wrigley Institute News Project Cities

August 29, 2017

View of desert community at the foot of large rocky mountainsNestled at the foot of the Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction is strategically positioned as the eastern gateway into the Greater Phoenix metro area and the western entry to the Tonto National Forest’s recreation venues. This geography, coupled with a western atmosphere, make the city appealing to residents and visitors alike.

Along with its many attractive qualities, the city of Apache Junction – like most communities – faces unique sustainability challenges as it continues to grow. It is these challenges that form the basis of a partnership with Arizona State University’s Project Cities program.

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ASU named a top 'Cool School' for third year in a row

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

August 22, 2017

ASU's reputation for sustainability leadership continues to grow, corroborated by its standing in Sierra magazine's latest “Cool Schools” ranking of North America’s greenest colleges and universities.

Named first among institutions with more than 10,000 students — up from second in that category last year — ASU sits in seventh place overall, according to the listing. It was compiled using surveys from a record-breaking 227 schools, as well as a customized scoring system based on universities' commitment to upholding high environmental standards.

This is the third consecutive year ASU has scored in the top 20. The 2017 ranking does not yet reflect the impact of the Red Rock Solar Plant, dedicated in January 2017. Over the course of its first full year in operation, Red Rock will reduce ASU’s total carbon footprint by more than 10 percent.

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ASU scientists inspire high school student across country

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

August 11, 2017

Albert Kyi is entering the 11th grade this fall at Grace Church High School in New York City, NY, and has demonstrated a passion for innovation and sustainability far beyond his age.

His desire to find solutions that address climate change started in 4th grade when he was part of a team that tried to cut down on the school’s energy usage. Since then, Kyi has been actively learning about technologies that reduce carbon emissions and the effects of climate change.

Kyi’s journey building a Direct Air Capture (DAC) machine began last year during 10th grade, when students were given a budget and six months to complete a big project. Kyi knew he wanted to do something related to climate change.

Inspired by his dean Mr. Reilly, who told his students to always “dream big,” Kyi wanted to create a technology that could slow down global warming. When he came across DAC technology through his online research, he knew it would be perfect for his project, so he contacted Dr. Klaus Lackner and Mr. Allen Wright.

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ASU announces new center for global drylands stewardship

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News Global Drylands News

August 7, 2017

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences announce the launch of the Global Drylands Center at Arizona State University. Led by Julie A. Wrigley Professor Osvaldo Sala, GDC will engage key actors of dryland stewardship in developing use-inspired research, training and solutions for arid ecosystems around the world.

While working with multiple global partners – from Ben-Gurion University to the University of New South Wales and King’s College London – GDC endeavors to establish ASU as a leader in crosscutting research and education pertaining to drylands. The center will focus on a broad array of issues, including the impacts of climate and land-use change, the ecology of desertification, and the societal dimensions of productive ecosystems and healthy lives in drylands.

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ASU and TU Sign MOU to expand university partnership

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 26, 2017

Nalini Chhetri holds signed MOU with three other men in Nepal.This June, ASU signed its second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tribhuvan University (TU) in Kathmandu, Nepal, furthering a five-year partnership.

The partnership dates back to 2012, when ASU Senior Sustainability Scientists Netra Chhetri, Nalini Chhetri and Milan Shrestha first engaged with TU and were invited to the university as guest speakers.

ASU signed its first MOU with TU’s Institute of Engineering (IOE) in 2015. Through that collaboration, two cohorts of ASU students have studied abroad in Nepal. The 2017 study abroad session, called Grassroots Innovation for Sustainable Development, brought ASU and IOE sustainability and engineering students together on two projects to help Nepali farmers: solar-powered lift irrigation and biochar production.

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ASU researchers receive accolades for solar energy research

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

July 17, 2017

In 2017, ASU researchers received $4.3 million in Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Awards for their work with photovoltaics, making ASU the largest recipient of SunShot funding in the Photovoltaics Research category for the year.

The DOE's SunShot Intiative aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional methods, a goal that three senior sustainability scientists at the ASU Wrigley Institute are helping to achieve. Stuart Bowden is designing the M-Cell, a photovoltaic cell architecture to enable higher voltage and lower current. Meanwhile, Meng Tao is working to reduce processing expenses, improve reliability and maintain high efficiency for photovoltaic devices.

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Solar-powered system helps provide water beyond the annual rainy season

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 14, 2017

This summer, a group of 11 ASU sustainability and engineering students traveled to the Hindu Kush Himalaya region to help local farmers run their operations year-round – eliminating the need to migrate to lowlands or to other countries as seasonal laborers.

The students, part of a study abroad course organized through the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and developed through GlobalResolve,  developed hardware like a solar-powered lift irrigation system during the spring semester, then deployed it while the students were onsite in June.

“This class cooperates with local farmers to combine existing irrigation and solar technologies to provide a refreshing shortcut for the region’s food and energy challenges,” said Senior Sustainability Scientist Netra Chhetri. “With assured water supply, these farmers can plan their crops better and grow off-season vegetables that fetch four times more value than cereals, which are the current crops being harvested.”

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Exploring opportunities for collaborative partnerships in Bulgaria

ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

July 11, 2017

A team from Arizona State University, led by ASU Lightworks® Director Bill Brandt, wrapped up a week-long series of meetings with Bulgarian institutions in Sofia, Bulgaria. These meetings established collaborative partnerships around digital learning, innovation and entrepreneurship, environmental health and safety, circular economy and energy and sustainability.

“Arizona and Bulgaria share similarities in size and the importance of mining business to their economies," Brandt told reporters in Sofia. "We are excited by the opportunities we found to partner with Bulgaria's leading higher education and research institutions, including technological universities and business schools, the Naval Academy, Academy of Science and Sofia Tech Park, major industrial companies, municipalities and clusters to drive innovation and best practices.”

ASU has already started joint projects with partners in Romania and Kosovo.

Award recognizes ‘huge leap’ for sustainability education

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 8, 2017

Julie Wrigley has stood for sustainability since before the term existed.

And on American Renewable Energy Day (AREDay), Wrigley was awarded for standing behind the country’s first School of Sustainability, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Her investment helped establish both the institute and the school, which has graduated over 1,000 sustainability leaders since its founding in 2006.

Calling Wrigley a “sustainability pioneer,” Sally Ranney of the American Renewable Energy Institute presented her with the award at the conclusion of an AREDay panel discussion.

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Cities can make greener purchases with help of new initiative

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 6, 2017

As local governments step to the forefront of sustainability commitment-making, a team of Arizona State University researchers – including School of Sustainability Professor Nicole Darnall – launch a project aimed at making it easier for cities to “buy green."

Called the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative, the project was informed by survey responses from 616 government officials from 459 cities. The responses led the ASU team to create eight real-world recommendations that can be used by city officials considering environmentally-friendly products – from light bulbs to carpeting.

The tips will be disseminated in a marketing blast that will reach thousands of local governments nationwide.

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ASU sports sustainability prowess during Final Four Tournament

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 28, 2017

In April 2017, Arizona welcomed the NCAA’s Final Four Tournament – a college basketball championship that spanned three days in downtown Phoenix. With over 70,000 fans in attendance, the event was the perfect opportunity for Phoenix to flex its sustainability muscles.

Partners from all over the Valley united to leave the Final Four with a legacy of sustainability that could continue long after its departure from Phoenix. These partners included ASU’s School of Sustainability, the City of Phoenix, the City of Glendale, APS, SRP, Keep Phoenix Beautiful, Green Living Magazine, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Northern Arizona Forest Fund and numerous community members.

This month, the Final Four received the Evergreen Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport at the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, held in conjunction with the 2017 Green Sports Alliance Summit in Sacramento. The Evergreen Certification signifies the highest level of sustainability certification possible at a sporting event.

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Moving forward on climate change post Paris agreement

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 22, 2017

When the United States withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, it sparked a debate over what should happen next.

That debate was reflected during a June 2017 Case Critical discussion, held by the ASU Wrigley Institute and featuring Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, School of Sustainability Assistant Professor Sonja Klinsky and ASU economist William Boyes. The discussion was moderated by Rob Melnick, executive director of the institute and a professor of practice in the School of Sustainability.

Kinsky reiterated the views she shared in a recent ASU Now interview, adding this about the way forward: "I think we’re swimming with opportunities. There are large-scale technological investments. The cost of air pollution to people’s health is astronomical. That’s a public health debate. There’s a social justice perspective. How will we deal with agriculture? Find your skill set and apply it."

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A silver lining to Phoenix's heat wave

ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

June 19, 2017

Randy Cerveny sits in a blue shirt on his desk in front of stacks of books and papers.Explaining to ASU Now why Phoenix residents have to bear extreme temperatures every summer, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist Randy Cerveny said, "We have a large upper-air ridge of high pressure centered over our area, in essence a large 'heat dome.'"

Cerveny – the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) rapporteur on climate extremes – gave a glimmer of hope to Valley residents by adding, "These hot temperatures are needed aspects for creating the shift in winds that allows moisture to flow up from the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. In other words, if it weren’t for these hot temperatures now, we wouldn’t have thunderstorms next month."

ASU hosts the WMO’s Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, as well as monitors and verifies extreme temperatures around the globe.

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