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Sustainability News

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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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.

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GreenBiz.com: 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 GreenBiz.com.

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, GreenBiz.com 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'

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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Global Classroom »

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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.

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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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