March 3, 2014
Through the Global Sustainability Studies Program, School of Sustainability student Chad Sharrard studied the cultural element of sustainable development in the Andes region of Ecuador. Over the course of the summer, he gathered that development requires an understanding of what matters most to the people of a specific place.
After seeing the numerous stakeholders involved in sustainable development in the Andes, Sharrard gained a better understanding of why decisions are sometimes the result of economic and ethical considerations rather than environmental ones. Being immersed in another culture also provided him with an opportunity to apply what he had learned from textbooks and PowerPoints to a real-world situation. He feels that he will better retain these lessons now that they are tied to his memories of Ecuador.
February 26, 2014
How will Phoenix’s future urban spaces emerge, and what might these scenarios mean for environmental, economic and social sustainability? Senior Sustainability Scientist Darren Petrucci and School of Sustainability alumnus Rider Foley presented one tool for answering such questions at the “New Tools for Science Policy” breakfast seminar, hosted by ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 28.
Their technology works by mapping Phoenix’s trajectory and determining how it came to be the city it currently is. “From there, we could begin to extrapolate where the urban form and growth might go,” says Petrucci. Keeping in mind the forces that underlie technology’s interplay with urban evolution – including competing desires like economic growth, access to clean water, security, and the sustainable use of natural resources – they created visualization scenarios in video format. These scenarios encourage viewers to consider their current decisions and how they may impact the future.
February 25, 2014
Volo, who is a graduate research assistant with the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, studies urban landscape irrigation and the ecohydrology of desert cities. His research uses numerical modeling and eddy covariance techniques to investigate the impacts of landscape irrigation on urban surface energy and soil moisture fluxes. He seeks to conserve urban water use through improved scheduling for residential irrigation.
Volo was recognized at the Greater Phoenix Area 2014 Engineers Week awards ceremony as the Engineering Student of the Year. He was honored along with engineering professor Keith Hjelmstad, who was named Engineering Educator of the Year.
February 24, 2014
Policy leaders, industry partners and energy experts gathered at ASU SkySong Feb. 20 to discuss the future of solar energy in Arizona at Arizona Solar Summit IV. The event featured the first public unveiling of the state’s new master energy plan, “emPOWER Arizona: Executive Energy Assessment and Pathways.” Gov. Jan Brewer signed the executive order on Feb. 18, making it the state’s first comprehensive energy plan in more than 20 years.
The Arizona Solar Summit – hosted by Arizona State University LightWorks, ASU SkySong and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and sponsored by NRG – provided the first opportunity for the public to learn about the master plan. Leisa Brug, Brewer’s energy policy advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, led a panel discussion on the plan and its goals. Brug said that Arizona is already ahead of other states in terms of energy policy, and the new master plan will help the state continue to be a national leader in the field.
February 20, 2014
Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan discusses energy research in his latest column in The Arizona Republic. Panchanathan is the senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.
Panchanathan describes the importance of developing and advancing sustainable and affordable sources of energy. He provides examples of how ASU researchers are working in related areas, such as renewable fuels from algae and cyanobacteria, solar panels and photovoltaics, as well as the work happening with policymakers to ensure that our legal, social and economic systems can support renewable energy solutions.
February 19, 2014
Building a more functional conversation among researchers, policymakers, citizens and industrial leaders is critical to address the global challenge of climate change, argued panelists at the “Rescuing Climate Policy” panel at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability on Feb. 5. Kristen Hwang, a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, reported on the panel for Slate magazine’s Future Tense channel.
At the event, panelists argued that to prevent environmental wars and global unrest, the international community needs to work together to aggressively combat climate change and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
February 18, 2014
By Lindsay Gaesser, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz.—The Arizona State men’s basketball team wasted no effort in its double-overtime win against in-state rival Arizona on Feb. 14, and neither did the fans. As a part of Sun Devil Athletics’ Zero Waste Initiative, a bipartisan crowd of 10,754 at Wells Fargo Arena achieved a waste diversion rate of 87 percent.
The Territorial Cup® matchup created 656 pounds and 708 pounds of recycled and compostable materials, respectively, while just 197 pounds of trash was sent to the landfill. Arizona State is reporting the rate as a part of the RecycleMania Game Day Basketball Challenge.
February 18, 2014
In a recent early online edition of Nature Chemistry, ASU scientists, along with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, have reported advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf.
Designing an artificial leaf that uses solar energy to convert water cheaply and efficiently into hydrogen and oxygen is one of the goals of BISfuel – the Energy Frontier Research Center, funded by the Department of Energy, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University.
Hydrogen is an important fuel in itself and serves as an indispensible reagent for the production of light hydrocarbon fuels from heavy petroleum feed stocks. Society requires a renewable source of fuel that is widely distributed, abundant, inexpensive and environmentally clean.
February 17, 2014
By David Eisenman
Note: February 20, 2014, is the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice. The goal of the observance is to remove barriers people face due to gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability. Dr. David Eisenman’s expertise is in public health and disasters.
In their book, “Resilience – Why Things Bounce Back,” authors Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy argue that it’s time for sustainability to move over and make room for resilience.
Suddenly it seems to me that the whole world is talking about sustainability and resilience. In the field of disasters – my field – both are important concepts, complementary to each other and worthy of action and resources.
But frequently missing from the discussion is one of the most important determinants of sustainability and resilience – social justice. Social justice is central to both.
February 17, 2014
Sustainability scientist Jianguo Wu delivered a keynote presentation at a Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop, hosted in Annapolis, Md., by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in January.
The themes of the event, “Cities in Sustainable Resource Management” and “Surprise in Human Adaptation to Environmental Change,” were selected as examples of dynamic, complex socio-environmental problems that require the collaboration of disparate fields—from urban planning to oceanography and data science to human psychology—to begin to solve.
Dr. Wu is a Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science, and his research areas include landscape ecology, urban ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and sustainability science.
February 17, 2014
ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes has added a new location for its popular Science Outside the Lab program that began in Washington DC more than a decade ago. The event will be held Monday, May 19 through Friday, May 23, 2014. Applications are due by March 15.
The program introduces students to the relationships among science, technology and innovation policies, and the societal outcomes in places where important decisions are made. During the new one-week workshop—now offered in Phoenix—students meet and interact with decision makers who fund, regulate, and shape innovation and critique, publicize and study science, including patent attorneys, insurers, venture capitalists, city and state officials, lobbyists, consultants, regulators, journalists, and others.
Science Outside the Lab
The long-running Washington, DC science policy immersion program returns for the Summer of 2014. Graduate students in science and engineering who are interested in how decisions about science and innovation funding, regulation and policy are made will benefit from this program. Students with an interest in careers in science policy will also find this to be an excellent opportunity to learn about important fellowships and meet current science and innovation policy professionals.
February 17, 2014
Sustainability scientist Netra Chhetri leads an interdisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners working on a project in western Nepal to help farmers adapt effectively to climatic change. The team includes representatives from ASU, University of Hawaii, Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (a Nepali NGO), Regional Directorates of the Department of Livestock Services, Western Region, and the Regional Agriculture Research Station, Lumle (agricultural and livestock research and extension agencies of the Government of Nepal), and Agriculture and Forest University (a Nepali university).
Chhetri’s three-year project, Adaptive Pathways to Climate Change (APaCC): Livestock and Livelihood Systems in Gandaki River Basin, examines the adaptive capacity of farmers and livestock keepers vulnerable to climate and other livelihood stressors, and links this understanding to locally relevant climate adaptation methods in the Gandaki River Basin. His research advances understanding of how a society’s adaptive capacity to climate variability and change is shaped by the geographical region’s social, political, institutional and biophysical contexts. He commented, “We believe that carefully generated and user-driven knowledge enhances the capacity of farmers to adapt to the threat posed by climate and other ongoing changes.”
February 17, 2014
The Arizona Solar Summit brings together people and organizations to advance the solar industry on both the regional and national levels, creating a network to propel Arizona to national prominence in the industry.
The fourth annual Arizona Solar Summit, part of the 2014 Sustainability Solutions Festival, will focus on introducing innovative policies, programs and technologies that are critical to reshaping Arizona’s energy markets.
February 17, 2014
Ask Isabelle Lishewski what her favorite part of being a student at Arizona State University is and pat comes the reply, “Telling my Sun Devil story to a group of high school students and their families while walking backwards during a campus tour.”
The Toledo, Ohio native considers her Sun Devil story nothing short of a serendipitous journey thus far.
As a student worker at the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Lishewski has been a participant, as well as witness to the hard work that has gone into organizing the first-ever Sustainability Solutions Festival. The event is one of WSSI’s eight programs designed to support sustainability research, develop solutions, build a global sustainability network, and groom the next generation of sustainability leaders.
February 17, 2014
Four Arizona State University archaeologists are looking into this as part of an international team examining how people can be most resilient to climate change when it comes to food security.
February 13, 2014
Assembling a picture of past environments always involves detective work. The reward is a clearer understanding of how natural and human forces have changed environments in the past, giving insights to how modern-day environmental changes take place.
Working with especially elusive evidence, Janet Franklin, ASU professor of geography, is participating in an effort to understand the profound changes in plant and animal life that occurred on the oceanic islands of the West Indies since the end of the last ice age.
February 12, 2014
The recently released 2013 Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF) annual report chronicles $5.6 million in investments that support Arizona State University.
The investments included seven energy conservation projects and six student and campus-oriented projects at ASU. From lighting retrofits, to specialized recycling bins, to an urban garden at the Downtown Phoenix campus, SIRF funds thrive in some surprising places.
In addition to project details and descriptions of all SIRF projects financed in 2013, the report includes three Q-and-A interviews with ASU SIRF fund recipients who have put their sustainability ideas into action.
February 11, 2014
The Health Services Building on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus has earned a LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Health Services is the second ASU building to receive a platinum certification, which is the highest USGBC green building ranking under its LEED (Leadership in Excellence in Environmental Design) program. The Health Services Building is also the 38th ASU building to be LEED certified.
The Health Services Building underwent a major renovation and expansion that was completed in March 2012 by ASU’s Facilities Development and Management unit.
February 10, 2014
Life in a warming world is going to require human ingenuity to adapt to the new realities of Earth. Greenhouse-gas-induced warming and megapolitan expansion are both significant drivers of our warming planet. Researchers are now assessing adaptation technologies that could help us acclimate to these changing realities.
But how well these adaptation technologies – such as cool roofs, green roofs and hybrids of the two – perform year-round, and how this performance varies with place remain uncertain.
February 10, 2014
Arizona State University engineers will lead two multi-university/industry research teams in support of a new U.S. Department of Energy program to develop technologies that use the full spectrum of sunlight to produce inexpensive power during both day and night.
The department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced allocation of $30 million in funding for 12 projects selected to conduct research for its Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program.