ASU Wrigley Institute News

ASU, Ameresco, RMI partner on climate

October 7, 2013

Arizona State University will further develop its strategic roadmap to climate neutrality by 2025 with Ameresco, the largest independent energy services-solutions provider in the U.S., and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit that aims to improve global energy consumption.

“Arizona State University, Ameresco, and RMI serve as living laboratories for ideas and experiments that are transforming the world in varied and meaningful ways,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. “We hope this effort creates a ripple of similar commitments from other institutions of higher learning, communities, and future generations of environmentally aware citizens across the globe.”

To achieve climate neutrality—or no greenhouse gas or carbon outputs—Ameresco and RMI will first draft a plan then identify additional funding sources for implementation. The two partners will also complete technical assessments across ASU’s four campuses.

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School of Sustainability students sort through waste for solutions

October 6, 2013

Students from ASU’s School of Sustainability, coordinators from ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, and managers from SRP and City of Phoenix conducted a waste audit of two SRP buildings at a City of Phoenix waste transfer station. Participants wanted to see the difference between the buildings’ waste streams, one from an administrative building and the other from a fieldwork building. The students and project leaders sifted through 2,000 pounds of trash to decipher waste and recyclable items.

“We’re learning that waste is actually a very valuable resource that we can utilize which is why I am involved in this; I want to see what we’re throwing away and how we can divert a lot from landfills,” says Tony Perez, an undergraduate in the School of Sustainability.

Many students observed the hidden intricacies behind our trash while sorting through food waste, soft plastics, colored glass, and paper products.

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Join us at ASU Homecoming 2013

October 5, 2013

PrintArizona State University’s 2013 Homecoming theme is “All that Glitters is Gold,” and the Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability want to celebrate everything gold and green!

Keep your eyes out for some “sustainable bees” at the Homecoming Parade starting at 11:00 a.m. Then join the Institute and School at the Homecoming Block Party that begins at 12:00 p.m.

At the Block Party, visit the School of Sustainability tent in Zone H, tent 155 (map) to receive sustainable swag, make your mark on the giant thumbprint tree, get your very own “bee sustainable” temporary tattoo, and test your knowledge on the giant crossword puzzle. Also learn how you can travel to Botswana with Senior Sustainability Scientist and ecologist Dan Childers to study African wildlife, a spring 2014 trip organized by the Arizona State University Alumni Association.

Come by the Institute’s tent in Zone H, tent 154 (map) to taste and purchase some locally grown dates, create your own newspaper seed planter with the ASU Arboretum team, learn how to compost, relax in the Zen garden, take a sustainability themed photo with your friends, play fun ecology games, and enjoy a bee-themed craft station.

Then stick around for some Sun Devil Football at 3:00 p.m.!

Saturday, October 19, 2013
11:00 a.m. Homecoming Parade
12:00 p.m. Homecoming Block Party
3:00 p.m. Football Kickoff
University Dr. and College Ave.
Arizona State University, Tempe campus

The Arizona Republic: The Valley as ASU’s lab

October 3, 2013

panch-az-republicIn his monthly Arizona Republic column, Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED), discusses the many sustainability initiatives and research undergoing in Phoenix that find solutions to issues like the urban heat island effect, transportation, housing, and health. Programs include ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research, the Global Institute of Sustainability’s Sustainable Cities Network, and ASU’s sustainability goals.

“At Arizona State University, we launched the Global Institute of Sustainability as a hub for concentrating expertise, training future leaders and conducting collaborative research,” Panchanathan writes. “We work closely with local governments and the private sector to develop policies and practices that help our communities and the world.”

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Boardroom Journal: Exploring sustainability’s impact on the global food supply chain

October 2, 2013

In the October 2013 issue of Boardroom Journal by Food Product Design, Senior Sustainability Scientist George Basile and The Sustainability Consortium’s CEO Kara Hurst comment on sustainability’s role in the global food supply chain.

In his article on pages 4-6, Basile writes that when people think about food, they don’t necessarily recognize the complex system behind their favorite sandwich. To correct this, he suggests a new sustainability lens in which to look at food. Food impacts many sustainability issues we have today: economic, social, and environmental. He writes, “Without secure food supply and access, sustainability is no more possible than the running of a machine is without fuel.”

In her piece on pages 11-12, Hurst asks how sustainable your business is. She writes, “Sustainable businesses care about what they do with the money that they make…They care more, however, about how that money was made in the first place.” The Sustainability Consortium is working on a sustainability index to measure product and service sustainability.

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Leadership through a sustainability lens: The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives to host Twitter chat

Institute Press Releases

October 2, 2013

Walton-GIOS-logo-vertJoin us for the #sustleadership chat w/ @bruno68 @WSSIatASU @triplepundit & @CSRwire on Oct 15 at 3:30pm EST! #csr

TEMPE, Ariz. – October 1, 2013 – The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will convene a Twitter Chat on Leadership Through a Sustainability Lens. The chat will be co-hosted by professors George Basile, Senior Sustainability Scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability and Professor of Practice at ASU’s School of Sustainability, and Bruno Sarda, Director of Global Sustainability Operations at Dell and professor and consultant for ASU.

Sustainability enables a more complete understanding of the world around us. What kind of leadership is needed not only for individuals to succeed, but for organizations, communities and societies to thrive well into the future? Traditional MBA programs have taught future leaders to externalize problems, how to account for some things and not for others, and how to maximize profit and push risk off on society. Now, in order to address sustainability and the need to make businesses and organizations thrive into the future we need a new kind of exec/Master’s model.

In partnership with TriplePundit and CSRwire, experts from the nation’s leader in sustainability education will share their perspectives and seek feedback from the sustainability community.

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ASU, SRP research renewable energy

September 27, 2013

Salt River Project (SRP) and the Conservation and Renewable Energy Collaboratory (CREC) at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) has selected four projects to be funded to research renewable energy and conservation. Senior Sustainability Scientist Milt Sommerfeld’s work on algae and water quality will be allocated funds from the $170,000 grant.

“Industry partners like SRP are the foundation of the college and provide an important component of our project-based learning and applied research model,” says Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI.

Sommerfeld hopes to use algae to capture water contaminants and then use the resulting algae to produce biomass for fuel, feed, or fertilizer. The research will be conducted at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation where Sommerfeld serves as co-director.

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Transitioning to a Sustainable Urban Future

Thought Leader Series

September 25, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

Chris-Boone-croppedBy Christopher Boone

Note: Christopher Boone became the Interim Dean of Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability in July. He continues to teach in the School of Sustainability and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He recently co-edited the book, “Urbanization and Sustainability: Linking urban ecology, environmental justice and global environmental change.”

History shows that significant transitions are possible, and these radical changes can have far-reaching impacts on human beings and the environment. In a span of just three human lifespans—roughly 200 years—we have experienced demographic, energy, and economic transitions that have altered the human condition and our relationship with the planet. In the United States in 1800, birth rates were high, but life could be miserably short; people depended on animals, falling water, and wood for energy; and the economy was based on agriculture and resource extraction.

Today in the U.S., families are not large enough to replace the current generation, but people can expect to enjoy long lives; we are utterly dependent on fossil fuels for energy; and the economy is based mainly on services. The implications of these transitions are multi-faceted and complex, but they have contributed to, among other concerns, rising energy and material demands, global climate change, biodiversity loss, and increasing disparities of human well-being.

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School of Sustainability student examines climate change impacts on Nepali farmers

September 23, 2013

This past summer, School of Sustainability junior Tayler Jenkins traveled to the south Asian sovereign state of Nepal to assist Sustainability Scientist Netra Chhetri on his research investigating climate change impacts on farmer livelihoods. Jenkins collected fodder, turned buffalo excrement into fuel, and learned conservation farming methods.

“Living on the farm was cool because the Nepalis have such a slow pace, but they still get things done,” Jenkins says. “They are always in the present and their time is based on the sun.”

Jenkins also received a Neely Foundation Food and Agriculture Sustainability Research Grant for her self-proposed thesis topic on the community-based Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative.

See Jenkins’ photos from the trip »

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Sustainability Scientist co-leads Responsible Innovation institution

September 23, 2013

David Guston, a senior sustainability scientist and director of ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society, is set to bring a more social and ethical outlook to ASU’s research through the university’s new Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Virtual Institute will bring together an international team of concerned scientists, researchers, and students to instill more responsibility into emerging technologies.

“We are thrilled that NSF has chosen to advance responsible innovation through this unique, international collaboration,” Guston says. “It will give ASU the opportunity to help focus the field and ensure that people start thinking about the broader implications of knowledge-based innovation.”

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Increasing use of nanomaterials has unknown environmental consequences

September 20, 2013

Nanomaterials like silver, titanium, silica, and platinum can be found in your food, clothes, cleaning supplies, and body care products. Many of these items still subsist in the environment even long after you’ve thrown them out. However, researchers don’t know how much and how long the nanomaterials survive in environments like fragile ecosystems.

Fortunately, Senior Sustainability Scientist Paul Westerhoff is leading a team of chemistry and engineering faculty for a National Science Foundation-funded project that will locate and measure nanomaterials in the environment.

The research will be conducted as part of ASU’s Sustainable Water Initiative. Findings from the research will be shared with ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program that studies urban ecosystems.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Filmmaker helps students tell stories about climate change

September 19, 2013

peter byckNew professor and filmmaker Peter Byck shares his story of how he became interested in sustainability and climate change to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Sydni Dunn. Byck is a professor of practice in ASU’s School of Sustainability and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

His first course, Sustainability Storytelling, started this fall and has students creating short documentaries about solar issues in Arizona.

“The sustainability students know the subject but don’t know how to tell the stories, and the journalism students know how to share the message but don’t have a firm grasp on the details,” says Byck. “That’s why we brought them together.”

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Fox 10: Have this year’s monsoon rains made a dent in the drought?

September 19, 2013

In a September 11 broadcast, state climatologist Nancy Selover explains Arizona’s wet summer and its effects on the ongoing drought conditions.

“Up until this past week we haven’t had much precipitation at all,” says Selover, also a senior sustainability scientist. “We were actually very much down below 50 percent. Now we’ve caught up and we’re just about even but that’s only because of these last storms.”

However, Selover says what really matters is how much precipitation hits the Verde and Salt river watersheds. Phoenix depends most on these areas’ reservoirs that supply groundwater.

“We’ll take everything we can get any time we can get it,” says Selover. “But in terms of ground water and water resources the winter snow pack is really what we need.”

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Sustainable Brands: ASU gains Dutch partners

September 19, 2013

Starting this month, the Global Sustainability Solutions Center (GSSC) at Haarlemmermeer, part of ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, will research the linkages between employee wellness and productivity and a sustainable built environment for Park 20|20, the Netherlands’ first cradle-to-cradle business center. The cradle-to-cradle design enables closed cycles for water, energy, waste, and materials, thus producing no outputs.

The productivity assessment will involve faculty, staff, and one graduate student from ASU.

“The project will provide important information for Park 20|20 as it continually innovates to optimize the working environment for its clients,” says Marta Hulley Friedman, program manager of the GSSC. “We are very enthusiastic about partnering with Park 20|20 and providing an opportunity for our faculty and students to learn about the concepts behind Park 20|20. This is the first in a number of projects we hope to engage in together.”

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Yahoo! Finance: ASU President Michael M. Crow’s view on university sustainability

September 18, 2013

mcrowAramark, a leader in food services and Arizona State University’s food provider, released its 2013-2014 edition of Presidential Perspectives, a collection of 10 essays written by university presidents. This year’s theme is Elevating Sustainability Through Academic Leadership, and in one chapter, ASU President Michael M. Crow shares how he’s managed to transform one of the largest universities in the nation into a sustainable success story.

“America’s colleges and universities are responsible for the majority of the scientific discovery and technological invention that has advanced sustainability science,” says President Crow, also author of the edition’s Foreword. “For academic institutions, fostering teaching and research that advances sustainability thus requires new institutional arrangements. But, more broadly, universities should be at the vanguard of producing societal transformation and solutions to the challenges that confront humanity.”

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School of Sustainability’s risk takers recognized for entrepreneurial spirit

September 16, 2013

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability was honored with the Bootstrapper Award at the Startup Bowl 2013 reception held August 29.

This year’s Startup Bowl had 665 student participants. ASU’s School of Sustainability—with more than 300 majors and 500 minors—received the Bootstrapper Award for the highest amount of participants out of the School’s total enrollment.

“We are very entrepreneurial,” says Christopher Boone, interim dean for the School of Sustainability. “We may be the smallest college, but we’re never short on big ideas.”

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Uloop News: 16 Things That Colleges are Doing to Help the Environment

September 16, 2013

In the national online collegiate news site, Uloop, reporter Elena Novak from Florida State University compiles a list of 16 actions U.S. universities are doing to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Among a list made up of buildings, dorms, wind turbines, farms, and vehicles, ASU’s School of Sustainability stands out for its unique education offerings.

“There are multiple layers of solutions-orientation at ASU and one of them is through emphasizing and rewarding use-inspired research and another one is through walking the talk and making the university a more sustainable place,” says Candice Carr-Kelman, assistant director for the School.

School of Sustainability student Maximilian Peter Christman has learned forward-thinking during his studies.

“I think a common conception is that sustainability is about giving your children and your children’s children the same opportunity that you had,” he says.

Source » Why colleges should add green to their school colors

September 16, 2013

A article reports on the current sustainability undertakings of universities across the U.S., including Arizona State University.

There are many benefits that come with sustainability, as outlined by reporter Jonathan Bardelline, that include student recruitment, lower costs, improved branding, and healthier student and staff experiences. ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability houses the nation’s first transdisciplinary School of Sustainability, where students gain first-hand knowledge and application of sustainability concepts.

“We’re trying to find the right balance of theory and practical implementation,” says Nick Brown, senior sustainability scientist at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

ASU has two major sustainability goals: to be completely carbon neutral by 2035 and a zero waste university by 2015.

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Arizona Horizon: How Arizona cotton farmers manage water

September 15, 2013

In a September 10 broadcast on PBS’ program, Arizona Horizon with Ted Simons, Senior Sustainability Scientist and associate professor Hallie Eakin talks about her research on water management among cotton farmers in the Southwest. Eakin is currently partnered with experts from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to study cotton farmers’ perspectives on water sustainability.

During her interview, Eakin says Arizona has experienced an economic recession and continued drought that has brought unique opportunities for cotton farmers.

“Cotton is a water-consumptive crop compared to some other alternatives,” Eakin says. “But we have to think about the conditions in which cotton is grown here. It’s not only a crop that can survive in highly salinated soil, it actually does really well here in the desert. Part of our study has been looking at what really are the things that worry farmers in terms of the viability of their production.”

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Students study water scarcity in Arizona-Sonora region

September 14, 2013

Senior Sustainability Scientist and School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment professor Enrique Vivoni says economic, social, and political cooperation is needed to ensure a sustainable future for the southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico region. To assist, Vivoni created the U.S. Mexico Border Water and Environmental Sustainability Training program (UMB-West) to bring together ASU and Mexican faculty and students to investigate major water scarcity issues and possible solutions.

Students researched water plant dynamics in a semi-arid climate and completed their own studies using civil engineering methods and community-based surveying.

“It was surprising to see how the research, or lack of research, can really have an impact on a whole community,” says Seth Morales, a civil engineering student. “It was amazing to see people living in the same hot summer climate as in Arizona, but without abundant water resources. Some homes only have access to water every three days for a two-hour window.”

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