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Sustainability News

Obama reappoints Sustainability Scientist to Committee on the National Medal of Science

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 11, 2013

castillo-chavez_3472Arizona State University Professor Carlos Castillo-Chavez has been reappointed to the U.S. President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

Castillo-Chavez is a Regents’ Professor and a Joaquin Bustoz Jr. Professor at ASU. He is a faculty member in ASU's School of Sustainability and a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability. President Obama first appointed him to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science in 2010.

The 12-member committee evaluates and nominates fellow scientists for the National Medal of Science—one of the field's highest honors. Nominated scientists come from the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sectors.

Upon his reappointment, President Obama said: “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

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Downtown Phoenix is ripe for a feast on the street

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 10, 2013

feast on the street london 2013A celebration of food, art, and community is coming to downtown Phoenix on Saturday, April 13. Called “Feast on the Street,” the event is a culmination of numerous local community partnerships that will bring people together for a meal or two on First Street in Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row District.

“Feast on the Street is an urban harvest festival celebrating food and art in the desert, while reclaiming the city street for pedestrians,” says Heather Lineberry, Arizona State University Art Museum’s senior curator, associate director, and an event organizer. “It creates a place to gather with our Phoenix neighbors around art and food. What could be better?”

The Global Institute of Sustainability is providing composting workshops at the zero waste event and ASU's Green Team will educate participants on recycling, composting, and waste. ASU School of Sustainability alumnus, Colin Tetreault, will act as master of ceremonies.

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Sustainable business practices are necessary for the common good

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 8, 2013

Richard--smaller sizeFor Earth Month 2013, the Global Institute of Sustainability will welcome Richard Morrison, ASU's Morrison Institute co-founder, to talk about sustainable and ethical business practices. Part of the Institute's Sustainability Series, Morrison's talk, "Ethics and Sustainable Practices," will take place on Monday, April 29, from noon until 1:30 p.m.

Morrison is an Episcopal priest and a sustainable ranching business partner. He is also an attorney, focusing on Native American water rights and natural resource policy.

Morrison says his main sustainability challenge is world hunger. Morrison joined the Farm Foundation's  Dialogue Project for Food and Agriculture Policy in the 21st Century to find a common commitment to ending world hunger.

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ASU gets down to Earth in April

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 2, 2013

Earth Day is Monday, April 22 and Arizona State University is turning all of April into Earth Month 2013. Tempe campus and Polytechnic campus feature multiple events like workshops, lectures, and film screenings. All events are open to the public.

“ASU’s Earth Month helps us celebrate our connections to the natural resources and ecosystems on which we depend,” says Nick Brown, ASU’s director of University Sustainability Practices. “In an urban environment, it’s easy to overlook our interdependence on natural systems, and observations like Earth Day remind us of our need for good land stewardship.”

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Award-winning films, directors headline ASU Human Rights Film Festival

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 1, 2013

imagesTen films will be screened during Arizona State University's Human Rights Festival this weekend, April 5-7, at the Tempe campus.

Human Rights Film Festival Director and Sustainability Scientist LaDawn Haglund says, "I was inspired to create a human rights film festival, in part, because in an academic environment, it is easy to get lost in heady and sometimes terrible facts. Film, when done well, forces us to bring our hearts to the issues, helping us to empathize and, hopefully, spurring us to act."

Of the films, one is part of ASU's Earth Week 2013 events entitled "A Fierce Green Fire." The film explores the history of the grassroots environmental movement for the last fifty years. Another film, "Four Stories Of Water" focuses on indigenous water rights.

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Science historian and writer Naomi Oreskes to discuss ‘Who is Responsible for Climate Change?’

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 1, 2013

OreskesNaomi Oreskes will be visiting Arizona State University to give her lecture, “Who is Responsible for Climate Change?” on Earth Day, Monday, April 22 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. at Old Main’s Carson Ballroom on the Tempe campus.

Oreskes is a prolific writer, appearing in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and academic journals like Nature and Science. She was named the 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year by George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication.

As a writer and an academic, Oreskes researches the role of science in society and investigates society's reaction to climate change evidence. She shares the importance and urgency of climate change to multiple audiences.

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Games examine water use cooperation, decision-making

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 30, 2013

Researchers at Arizona State University, including Sustainability Scientist Marco Janssen, are using games to learn about water resource sharing and cooperation among people.

The project was recently covered in an article by the International Food Policy Research Institute, which is a partner on the project along with India’s Foundation for Ecological Security and Colombia’s Universidad de los Andes.

The research is taking place in rural India and Colombia where groups of villagers are asked to act out water use and crop growing strategies in low-water surroundings. Once their "water supply" is exceeded, the game is over.

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Christopher Boone named interim dean of School of Sustainability

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 29, 2013

The School of Sustainability at Arizona State University has announced its new dean effective July 1, 2013. Christopher Boone, a professor at the School of Sustainability and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has served as the associate dean for education of the School of Sustainability since July 2010. Boone has been with ASU since 2006 and is a member of the executive committees of the School of Sustainability and the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Boone will succeed Dean Sander van der Leeuw, who will continue to support the School's research and education endeavors as a member of the Global Institute of Sustainability's board of directors and co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Network.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the School of Sustainability,” Boone said. “I see this as a really important continuation of the work Professor Van der Leeuw did to strengthen the School. ASU serves as an international model for blending sustainability education and research with practice. I am confident we will continue to be a leader in sustainability.”

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Letter from the Dean

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 28, 2013

sanderDear colleagues, staff, and students,

On June 30, 2013, I will be stepping down, at my own request, as dean of Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (the School).

I will continue as Foundation Professor with tenure in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC) and a half-time appointment in both SHESC and the School. I will have the pleasure to keep my responsibility as co-director of CAS@ASU (the new name of the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative), as well as for the development of ASU’s Center for Integrated Solutions to Climate Challenges.

This is, for me, a liberating step. After ten years of administrative duties at ASU, I see my remaining years in academia melting like snow under the Arizona sun. I want to return to a more normal academic life of teaching, writing, thinking strategically about the scientific domains I am involved in, and strengthening ties with colleagues all over the world with whom I enjoy working.

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President Crow’s British sustainability advisor to discuss ‘the human future’

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 28, 2013

Britain’s Sir Crispin Tickell will be visiting Arizona State University to discuss “The Human Future” on Thursday, April 11, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Tempe Center for the Arts in the Lakeside Room.

Passionate about history, world affairs, and the biological sciences, Tickell has become a renowned climate change expert. In 1984, he served as advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, helping her add climate change to the Group of Seven (G7) agenda. He is currently an advisor-at-large to ASU President Michael Crow.

“I hope the audience will begin to see the threat the human species faces and the way we can meet climate change challenges, or fail to meet those challenges.” Tickell says. “I think once people understand the issues and recognize their personal responsibilities; they can begin to take the appropriate actions.”

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Environmentalist Sunita Narain to lecture at ASU March 27

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 22, 2013

Narain-hi-rez-cropped-for-webArizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability welcomes writer and environmentalist Sunita Narain, who will speak on "Environmentalism of the Poor vs. Environmentalism of the Rich" on Wednesday, March 27. The event, which is part of the Institute’s Wrigley Lecture Series, will take place from 5:00 until 6:30 p.m. at the Tempe campus in Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 170.

Narain was named one of the world’s 100 Public Intellectuals three times by the U.S. journal, Foreign Policy. She is currently the director general of India’s Centre for Science and Environment and publisher of Down to Earth magazine. Narain’s interests include equality, clean water, food safety, wildlife conservation, and climate change alleviation. Climate change, she says, is the world’s biggest issue today.

You can RSVP for Narain’s lecture here: http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/rsvp/sunita-narain.

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Showcase to award $5K for top sustainability solutions proposals

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 22, 2013

ASU's first Sustainability Solutions Showcase is reaching out to the community and students to find the next big idea that will help solve sustainability challenges and benefit the environment and society. Participants can share their idea with ASU's Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and win up to $3,500.

The Showcase is a project under the Walton Sustainability Solutions' Sustainability Solutions Festival. In all, the Showcase plans to award $5,000 to winning ideas.

Through a partnership with Changemaker Central@ASU and 10,000 Solutions, the Sustainability Solutions Showcase is calling for financially viable solutions that would address multiple aspects of sustainability. Awards include $2,500 for first prize, $1,500 for second prize, and $1,000 for the People’s Choice Award.

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Growing in the Context of Climate Change

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Thought Leader Series

March 20, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

Narain-hi-rez-cropped-for-webBy Sunita Narain

Note: Sunita Narain is the director general of The Centre for Science and Environment. She will be speaking at the next Wrigley Lecture Series on March 27 at Arizona State University.

We all know the threat of climate change is urgent. We also know combating this threat will require deep and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This is when, already, the poor of the world—who are more vulnerable and less able to cope—are feeling the pain of a changing and more variable climate.

The question is: Why has the world been desperately seeking every excuse not to act, even as science has repeatedly confirmed that climate change is real? Climate change, though related to carbon dioxide and other emissions, is also related to economic growth and wealth in the world. Climate change is man-made. It can also devastate the world as we know it.

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Sustainability student helps Sun Devil Athletics go green

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 19, 2013

University gymnast Kahoku Palafox recently graduated magna cum laude with a degree in sustainability from Arizona State University's School of Sustainability. She submitted a case study to the Green Sports Alliance that outlined Sun Devil Athletics’ sustainability and conservation practices. Palafox explained the processes behind making ASU's sports events sustainable, like zero-waste practices and energy conservation.

“Even having [the zero-waste] initiative has really started to open people’s eyes to [going Green],” Palafox said.

ASU's Women's Gymnastics recently hosted their first-ever zero-waste meet on Friday, March 15 that had only recycle and compost bins.

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Dirks appointed director of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 15, 2013

Gary-Dirks-12-cropped2Arizona State University announced Gary Dirks as the new director for its Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) on Thursday, March 14.

Dirks, also director of ASU's LightWorks, hopes to expand the Institute with global initiatives and partnerships for ASU.

“GIOS is an extraordinary place with people who understand sustainability at a very deep level and who know how to apply sustainability concepts to solve real-world problems,” said Dirks. “The challenge for me will be building on a very strong foundation to extend the reach and impact of the Institute.”

Dirks was previously the president of BP China and BP Pacific-Asia. While in China, BP's employment went from 30 individuals to over 1,300, and revenues skyrocketed from zero to $4 billion between 1995 and 2008.

“Gary has demonstrated his ability to set a grand vision, align projects and people around that vision to create solutions to grand challenges that impact our society,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “He does all of this in a rapid time frame that is consistent with the spirit of the New American University.”

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Local First Arizona's Kimber Lanning to speak at ASU

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

March 14, 2013

Lanning headshot (2)The Upside of a Down Economy: Buying Locally

Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Wrigley Hall, Room 481

Arizona State University, Tempe campus

Kimber Lanning’s lecture, “The Upside of a Down Economy: Buying Locally,” was so popular the last time, Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability decided to welcome her back for the second time in April.

As founder of Local First Arizona, Lanning’s passion for local economics stems from her upbringing and real-world education. Raised by a family of entrepreneurs, Lanning left ASU after her first semester and opened a record shop, Stinkweeds, in Phoenix.

Her entrepreneurship savvy and economic justice awareness led her to create Local First Arizona in 2003. Last year, Lanning established Fuerza Local, an education program for Spanish-preferred local businesses.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.”

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