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Sustainability News

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

Board Letter 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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ASU launches global classroom exploring 'sustainable cities'

Board Letter 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.”

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Sustainability alum named to Phoenix '40 Under 40'

Board Letter 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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Higher ed presidents say teaching sustainability is good business

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 9, 2012

Achieving carbon neutrality on American college and university campuses is not a matter for science alone. It has to be taught. And, in dealing with budget reductions coupled with enrollment growth, college and university presidents have learned that sustainability is also a good business model.

“We’ve all faced one big dilemma in the past few years,” said David Schmidly, president of the University of New Mexico, noting that UNM experienced budget cuts of about 20-22 percent, while at the same time enrollment increases of 15 percent.

“What we found is sustainability can be useful for teaching not only a paradigm to be a better citizen; we have found that sustainability is good business. It’s a good way to contain cost and save money," he said, adding that UNM's energy conservation program saved more than $8 million over just a few years.

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Bonding out: Making companies pay up front for potential environmental disasters

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

February 15, 2012

Whether it’s building an oil pipeline, drilling for fuel in the ocean or “fracking” to flush natural gas out of the Earth, we’re often asked to believe the process is safe, when companies want to do something that could have big benefits. But that process also could be potentially disastrous for the environment.

Now, an economics professor at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business has a way for these companies to show the public that the risks will be managed – by requiring them to post the estimated costs of a spill or major environmental side effect ahead of time through the creation of refundable environmental bonds.

“If the risks are manageable, as proponents suggest, then raising the money for the bonds should not be a challenge,” explains V. Kerry Smith, an environmental economist, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “In each case, the requirement for an environmental bond shifts the responsibility for who assumes the risk of any catastrophic event of large-scale development to those arguing the risks are small. When enough others agree, we should have a robust market for those willing to assume the resulting environmental risks.”

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Students apply coursework to ASU's food systems

School of Sustainability News

December 21, 2011

Students at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability get the opportunity to tackle real-life issues in their community as a part of their studies. For Dr. Hallie Eakin’s students in the Fall 2011 undergraduate course, “Sustainable Food and Farms,” this meant conducting research to analyze ASU’s food sourcing decisions and come up with suggestions for improvements.

Through the research for this class, the students concluded that ASU is moving in the right direction in identifying and supporting sustainable food supplies. The student researchers noted, however, that they had several concerns regarding aspects of waste management, ecological impact, education, and transparency in the food system, among other issues.

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Modernizing utility rates to aid energy efficiency plans

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

December 20, 2011

“You cannot run an economy, especially one poised for growth (like Arizona) without energy,” noted two Arizona State University energy experts in an op-ed that appeared in the Dec. 19 Arizona Republic.

“On the cusp of its 100th birthday, Arizona is facing an aging energy infrastructure that is unprepared for a sustainable future,” wrote ASU’s Gary Dirks and Matthew Croucher. Dirks is director of LightWorks, an ASU initiative that capitalizes on the university’s strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. He is also a distinguished sustainability scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainably. Croucher, an economist, is an associate research professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business and a senior sustainability scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

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