Skip to Content

Sustainability News

As Brazil ramps up sugarcane production, researchers foresee regional climate effects

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 8, 2013

A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Institution for Science has found that future sugar cane plantations can help Brazil increase its ethanol production, while also decreasing regional temperature.

“When averaged over the entire year, there appears to be little effect on temperature,” said Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, a senior sustainability scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, and lead author of the paper. “However, the temperature fluctuation between the peak of the growing season, when cooling occurs relative to the prior landscape, and crop harvest, when warming occurs compared to the previous landscape, of about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considerable.”

Brazil is the second-largest producer and consumer of bioethanol, and based on new laws and trade agreements, the country's sugar cane production will increase tenfold during the next ten years.

Read more »


ASU releases its first Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund annual report

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 7, 2013

The Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF) annual report highlights a dozen energy-reduction projects at ASU that were supported by SIRF funds during FY2012.

Introduced in 2010, SIRF was created to provide university departments and individuals incentives and resources to create campus sustainability initiatives and practices. Led by a committee, SIRF funds are given based on three tiers that describe the sustainability initiative and its cost. Money that is saved on the sustainable projects are reinvested into SIRF.

You can view all projects supported by SIRF in the 2012 report.

Read more »


Student Spotlight: Mindy Kimball

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

March 6, 2013

Mindy_headshotSustainability student travels to Antarctica; experience to benefit military professorship career

Mindy Kimball is the type of person who lives and breathes what she loves. When she was little, it was rocks. That same passion turned into a career in geology. As an undergraduate student she studied environmental science, and her master’s thesis was on locating earthquake faults.

“I was always interested in rocks and always thought rocks were cool,” Kimball says. “I just never grew out of them.”

Her geology background came in handy as a Space Operations Officer for the U.S. Army. She paid attention to any intergalactic happenings (like solar flares and satellite malfunctions) that could interfere with the Army’s communications or military plans. If a commander wanted to move a satellite, it was Kimball who had to tell them to wait until Earth rotated enough so the satellite could be in the right position.

Kimball's military service entitles her to education benefits. The Army is supporting her doctoral education in sustainability at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. Due to her flexible graduate student schedule, she was able to join an expedition to Antarctica with the Geological Society of America (GSA).

Continue Reading

ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network earns EPA’s Green Government award

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 5, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network and its efforts in educating and promoting sustainability throughout the state.

On March 4, Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Region 9 administrator and former director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, presented the Network’s program manager Anne Reichman with the Pacific Southwest Region’s 2012 Green Government award at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

Reichman says the past four years have been busy for the Network, and collaborations outside of Phoenix have increased.

“The Network shows what can happen when organizations and individuals come together and focus on the positives and the things they share in common,” says Reichman. “Sustainability is a very broad topic so it’s exciting to convene the cities on some very specific areas such as solar and energy efficiency.”

Read more »


EPA to honor ASU's Sustainable Cities Network with 'Green Government' award

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 1, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

3:30 - 4:15 p.m.

Wrigley Hall, Room 481

Arizona State University, Tempe campus

Please join Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld presents ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network with the EPA’s Environmental Award for Green Government.

Continue Reading Intel aims to make matches for wastewater heaven

School of Sustainability News

February 21, 2013

Arizona State University students' work for Intel's WaterMatch program is featured in a special Valentine's Day story on

Intel first started WaterMatch with the aim of connecting wastewater makers with wastewater users in hopes of creating water sustainability. Using an online platform, WaterMatch is a database of water treatment plants and facilities that need wastewater to function. However, progress has been slow, reporter Aaron Tilley writes:

"The biggest problem is that getting data on wastewater treatment plants is incredibly hard. There is no national database for treatment facilities so gathering this kind of information requires laborious searches and calls to each individual plant."

That's when ASU student researchers come in. They provide the grunt work of documenting wastewater users and makers in Arizona. Next, the students will be moving on to Mexico with funding from CH2M Hill.

Note: School of Sustainability students Saad Ahmed and Rud Moe are part of the ASU-Intel WaterMatch research team. Moe is a senior majoring in sustainability and geology and Ahmed, also a senior, is studying sustainability and urban planning.

Read the article »


Faculty Spotlight: Nicole Darnall

School of Sustainability News

January 22, 2013

Before joining Arizona State University, Nicole Darnall was an associate professor of management and public policy at George Mason University and an assistant professor of public administration at North Carolina State University. For almost two decades, Dr. Darnall has been examining firms' responses to sustainability in regulatory and social settings. Her research investigates the reasons why companies follow sustainability strategies, whether these strategies improve the environment, and whether companies that improve the natural environment also derive business value. More recently, she assesses consumer demand for corporate green strategies and how this demand might be influenced through public policy or business initiatives. To find out more about Dr. Darnall, you can read her commentary on the 2012 Greendex survey findings that assert Americans are the least green and feel the least guilt about it.

Continue Reading

Student Spotlight: Erin Frisk

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 7, 2012

Erin Frisk is a doctoral student and researcher in the School of Sustainability. Her work focuses on K-12 sustainability education by incorporating behavioral theories into instruction. She is married to Aaron Redman, a School of Sustainability alumnus. In 2009, Frisk created a line of reusable mesh produce bags called FAVE Bags (Fruit and Vegetable, Etc.). Redman and Frisk collaborated with women in El Salvador to sew the bags, thus providing much-needed income and professional development for the women. In 2010, the FAVE Bags invention earned a $2,000 grant from ASU’s Innovation Challenge competition. Frisk and Redman will be moving to Mexico to work at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México to develop a sustainability undergraduate program and outreach center. Frisk’s FAVE Bags will continue to be sold in Mexico with possible development in South Africa.

Continue Reading

Faculty Spotlight: George Basile

School of Sustainability News

December 6, 2012

George Basile is a professor in the School of Sustainability and a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability. He is an internationally recognized creative thinker who was recently on the cover of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. Basile received a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in biophysics. He helped develop green M.B.A programs in the U.S. and Sweden. Basile advises Fortune 500 companies on sustainable business practices and is a sought-after speaker on the subject. His expertise lies in green business practices, biotechnology, strategic leadership and sustainability, and entrepreneurship.

Continue Reading

ASU launches global classroom exploring 'sustainable cities'

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

July 17, 2012

Arizona State University, in coordination with Leuphana University in Germany, has launched an educational pilot project that will lay the groundwork for an intensive institutional collaboration in undergraduate education. Sustainability Scientist Manfred Laubichler will lead the project with input from numerous other sustainability scientists from across ASU.

Funded by a $900,000 award from the Mercator Foundation, the ASU-Leuphana program will focus on the topic “Sustainable Cities: Contradiction of Terms?” The program will utilize virtual conferencing using the technology of Vidyo, a revolutionary video conferencing platform; intensive writing assignments and student writing workshops; online exhibits; peer-to-peer mentoring and in-person international exchange.

"We asked, ‘what if as we teach about sustainability, conservation biology, science, humanities and culture, we have students from Europe, South America, China, and the U.S. all talking together?’” said ASU vice provost Robert Page. “There would be differing views and the sharing of those views might allow students to develop solutions to challenges that none could have conceived of individually. And so was born the concept of a global classroom.”

Read more »

Related story »

Global Classroom »


Sustainability alum named to Phoenix '40 Under 40'

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

June 26, 2012

Colin Tetreault is not one to sit around and wait for something to do. He’s the senior policy adviser for sustainability at the Phoenix Mayor’s office. He’s a faculty associate with ASU’s School of Sustainability. He’s the inaugural president of the school’s alumni chapter, having earned his master’s here in 2010. He is secretary of the board for the Greater Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Valley Forward Association.

Perhaps more telling of his bustling nature, Tetreault managed in one weekend to squeeze in his wedding rehearsal, a presentation atTEDxPhoenix, his rehearsal dinner, his wedding, and an Ironman Triathlon.

It’s fitting that the dynamic Tetreault, dressed in suit and green tie, graced the cover of the Phoenix Business Journal’s special 40 Under 40 superhero section.

Continue Reading

Crow, faculty present ideas at American Innovation for Sustainability forum

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

May 2, 2012

Dan O'Neill, a lecturer and program chair at ASU's College of Technology and Innovation, moderated a panel on the nitty-gritty of sustainability during the recent American Innovation for Sustainability forum in Washington, D.C.

Research universities – and notably their students – were singled out by administrators from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Environmental Protection Agency during an American Innovation for Sustainability forum that took place recently in the nation’s capital. Among the speakers at the forum were faculty members from Arizona State University, including ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“Students can increase the ability of research universities to organize research, coursework and experiential learning around the great challenges of the 21st century,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director for policy for the White House OSTP.

“This is important because universities conduct $55 billion in research every year," Kalil said. "They have strong ties to government, industry and philanthropists. They have expertise that spans science, engineering, social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, business, policy and law. So if more of this intellectual horsepower can be focused on important problems at home and abroad, I think this would be a good thing.”

Continue Reading

ASU team to represent US in worldwide student technology competition

School of Sustainability News

April 25, 2012

Four ASU students have won a place in the premiere international student technology competition by taking first place, April 23, in the U.S. Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle.

Their team, named FlashFood, earned a trip to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia in July. Team members include senior biomedical engineering major Eric Lehnhardt, senior materials science and engineering major Katelyn Keberle, senior computer science major Steven Hernandez and senior marketing and sustainability major Jake Ervin.

Read the story »

The Sustainability Consortium’s tools used by product buyers

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases School of Sustainability News

April 20, 2012

Walmart integrates TSC’s Knowledge Products to guide supply chain engagement

TSC_logo_cmykTEMPE, Ariz,- April 20, 2012 – During its annual Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting on April 18th, Walmart announced that it is integrating the knowledge products produced by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) into the retailer’s Sustainability Index and Live Better Scorecard. Walmart will use these tools to help its merchants evaluate suppliers and their products and collaborate to make the products on Walmart shelves more sustainable.

Walmart representatives expressed that they are particularly excited about integrating TSC’s Category Sustainability Profiles (CSPs) and corresponding Key Performance Indicators into their Sustainability Index this year. Both Walmart and Sam’s Club will be using these tools as a basis for ranking suppliers in a particular category according to their sustainability progress and to inform buyers about actionable opportunities for improvement.

Continue Reading

Ostrom among 100 most influential people of 2012

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 18, 2012

Along with Barack Obama and Stephen Colbert, ASU's own Elinor Ostrom was named among TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2012.

Ostrom, a research professor and distinguished sustainability scientist at ASU and the founding director of ASU's Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics for her analysis of economic governance.

"Ostrom's work sheds light on the direction society must follow to avoid misuse of shared resources, 'the tragedy of the commons,'" writes TIME writer Robert Johnson.

Read the TIME profile »

See our interview with Ostrom »

ASU sustainability experts weigh in on 'Net Zero' energy concept

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 10, 2012

InBusiness magazine writer Sue Kern-Fleischer noted that the “Net Zero” energy concept is getting “a lot of buzz lately.” She spoke with Arizona State University’s Mick Dalrymple and Harvey Bryan for a story in the April issue of the magazine, which is a collaboration of business organizations and entities in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Read more »

Read article »

ASU researchers, Nobel laureate have stake in ‘Planet under Pressure’ forum

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases School of Sustainability News

March 22, 2012

The future of the oceans, poverty alleviation, global trade, biodiversity and food security are among research areas that will be at the core of the “Planet under Pressure” (PUP) conference this month with more than 2,500 participants, including several scientists from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

“The agenda for worldwide sustainability science will be set at this conference,” stressed Sander van der Leeuw, dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability and a PUP conference participant. “The whole of the research agenda for sustainability science for the next several years will be recast and the funding reorganized to take account of the discussions at this conference,” he said.

Continue Reading

What’s the Big Deal About “Resilience”?

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 19, 2012

sanderFrom, this interview with Torie Bosch features Sustainability Scientist Sander van der Leeuw, dean of the School of Sustainability. Van der Leeuw will be a panelist at this weekend’s Future Tense event, Defining Resilience, where academics, policymakers, and other experts will discuss resilience in the environment, business, national security, even the Constitution. Bosch spoke to van der Leeuw about resilience in the Roman Empire, prehistoric Australia, modern ecology, and more.

Read interview »

Related event »

Fundamental steps needed now in global redesign of Earth system governance

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases School of Sustainability News

March 16, 2012

32 leading experts from around the world argue for immediate ambitious reforms

TEMPE, Ariz. – Some 32 social scientists and researchers from around the world, including a Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University, have concluded that fundamental reforms of global environmental governance are needed to avoid dangerous changes in the Earth system. The scientists argued in the March 16 edition of the journal Science that the time is now for a “constitutional moment” in world politics.

Research now indicates that the world is nearing critical tipping points in the Earth system, including on climate and biodiversity, which if not addressed through a new framework of governance could lead to rapid and irreversible change.

“Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth’s sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years,” wrote the authors in the opening of “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance.”

Continue Reading

Reach for the Stars fellows excel in research, interdisciplinary environment

School of Sustainability News

March 14, 2012

Angela XiongSix Arizona State University masters students in diverse fields of study are participating in Diversity across the Curriculum (DAC), a class that equips them with the skills for transdisciplinary collaboration and effective communication of their research to the community. One of the students, Angela Xiong, is from the School of Sustainability.

Read more »