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Sustainability News

ASU students, alum featured in 'Microdwelling' show

View Source | March 2, 2015

ASU architecture students from The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts helped to construct a selection of tiny spaces currently on view in “Microdwelling,” an exhibition featuring 12 structures under 600 square feet at the Schemer Art Center in Phoenix. They had just one month to construct their microdwelling spaces.

ASU students, alum featured in 'Microdwelling' show

View Source | March 2, 2015

ASU architecture students from The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts helped to construct a selection of tiny spaces currently on view in “Microdwelling,” an exhibition featuring 12 structures under 600 square feet at the Schemer Art Center in Phoenix. Three of the 12 structures were built by ASU students with the help of a $3,000 grant from The Central Arizona Architecture Foundation. They had just one month to construct their microdwelling spaces, and their efforts were highlighted in USA Today.

Prasad Boradkar: Thought Leader Series

February 25, 2015

asu-biomimicry-prasad-boradkarMarch 3 marks the launch of ASU's new Biomimicry Center, established in partnership with Montana-based Biomimicry 3.8, and co-directed by Prasad Boradkar. In this essay, Boradkar describes how biomimicry can help us create solutions to address our problems in sustainable ways.

CSPO named top 2014 university think tank

View Source | February 16, 2015

The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes is the top university-based science and technology think tank in the U.S., according to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tanks Report. The report, published by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, ranks the ASU department tenth  out of 45 science and technology think tanks worldwide.

GreenBiz U brings sustainability experts to ASU community

View Source | February 12, 2015

green-biz-university-forum-studentsGreenBiz U, a shadow conference of the 2015 GreenBiz Forum, brings sustainability business, education and thought leaders to ASU for a discussion of the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business. The experts will cover topics ranging from portable solar electronics to the State of Green Business report, which will be discussed during the GreenBiz Forum in Paradise Valley.

GreenBiz U is part of the second annual Sustainability Solutions Festival, a program of the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. It marks the first campus presentation by Sheila Bonini, who was named CEO of The Sustainability Consortium, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit organization that translates scientific information into business practice, last fall.

"This is an extraordinary collaboration with far-ranging impact,” said Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc. “By leveraging our collective networks and knowledge bases, we are convening an unparalleled group of speakers and attendees that will make this week a truly exceptional opportunity for knowledge sharing and networking among the sustainable business community."

ASU Fulbright Scholar to study water in Mexico

View Source | February 2, 2015

As one of this year’s Fulbright Scholars, Arizona State University hydrology professor Enrique Vivoni will have an opportunity to work with some of Mexico’s leading experts in his field to advance his collaborative studies of the shared water resources between the U.S. and Mexico. The award enables him to spend nine months beginning in August 2015 conducting research at the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada in Ensenada, Baja California, and the research center of Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología.

Recent accomplishments of sustainability alum Hannah Wells

January 28, 2015

Hannah Wells, who graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2011, recently passed her three-year anniversary with Crius Energy as Manager of Sustainability and began her MBA in Sustainability Management part-time at Presidio Graduate School. Wells is also coordinating a volunteer trip to Nicaragua for her company, in collaboration with GRID Alternatives, to install off-grid solar systems on 40 families' homes in March.

"After graduating from ASU I have been on a path to change the way our country uses energy, and to support corporations in being environmentally conscious...My education from the School of Sustainability prepared me to create the change I wish to see in the world and gave me the skills needed to lead this charge."

Q&A with Leah Gerber (Video)

January 27, 2015

leah-sustainability-scientist-biodiversityLeah Gerber is the director of Arizona State University's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes; a professor of ecology, evolution and environmental science in the School of Life Sciences; and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Using both field and modeling approaches, she examines important questions at the intersection of conservation science and policy.

In this video, she discusses her biodiversity research, its contribution to sustainability and how it correlates with the mission of the recently-established Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

Video »

ASU celebrates farmers market 5-year anniversary

View Source | January 23, 2015

Over the last five years, the Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe - which started as a pilot market in 2009 and began being held monthly in Spring 2010 after an overwhelming response - has provided fresh and local food for students, faculty, staff and the Tempe community while raising awareness about healthy eating and sustainability.

17th Annual CAP ASM and poster symposium

January 15, 2015

We are excited to be presenting our 17th annual CAP ASM and poster symposium on January 16th from 8 am - 4 pm at ASU SkySong, Building 3, Synergy I and II rooms. The program lists the agenda for the day and abstracts for the over 50 posters being presented, which is a record for CAP symposiums. We will be printing a limited number of programs and hope that most attendees will access abstracts and other information electronically.

Attendees should note that we will be in a new space at SkySong this year. Building 3 is to your right when you enter on SkySong Boulevard. We urge attendees to carpool (parking is to the south of Building 3), bike, or take the 72 bus from the Tempe Transit Center. The Synergy I and II rooms are accessed via the lobby of Building 3. Just follow the signage.

Call for Community Challenges, SOS 321

December 1, 2014

Class Descripion and Projects Desired

Professor Michael Schoon of ASU’s School of Sustainability is teaching a class in the upcoming spring semester (Jan-May 2015), SOS 321 in which he will be having small groups of SOS students research sustainability issues from a governance and policy perspective. He would like to engage with several, local communities on a limited basis and have these communities submit their “real-world” issues for analysis by the students. The course description for SOS 321 and the engagement opportunity timeline and commitment is outlined below.

Your community is invited to review the opportunity below and consider posing a sustainability issue to this class. If you are interested or have questions, please email Anne Reichman at and I will be happy to assist you. Professor Schoon would be happy to help communities develop issue submittals if they feel they need assistance. Sustainability issues need to be identified by mid-January 2015.

Thanks so much for considering this opportunity!

Spring 2015 Session (January-April 2015)

SOS 321/Community Engagement Opportunity:

SOS 321 is looking for several, local communities to pose sustainability-related research questions, both general and specific in nature, to the class so student workgroups can research and propose policy and governance options back to the communities. The community sustainability challenge should include the following:

1) Must be a specific challenge for your community (Past examples include how to reduce recycling contamination by residents, how to dispose of brine removed from groundwater, and how to plan for and mitigate the urban heat island effect.);

2) Provide practical educational research opportunity for students (Students have great insight into current sustainability science and introductory skills in policy and governance theory; however, they do not, in general, have specific technical skills or advanced training on urban policy or planning.)

3) Building on the previous point, our goal is to leverage the sustainability training, the creativity and critical thinking skills, and the vitality of our students in a way that helps their municipal partners to solve real-world problems.

SOS 321 Course Description - Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems:

Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems (SOS 321) is a class that requires integration of theory and practice, exposing students to sustainability issues in governance and policy analysis. Using two lenses, institutional analysis and policy analysis, students will apply a broad understanding of sustainability governance to a specific issue in the city and/or region. By partnering with municipalities in the Phoenix Metro area, students will conduct policy and institutional analyses on suggested real, local environmental issues for these participating communities. This class provides students a unique opportunity to integrate theory and practice, while identifying solutions to real, local problems.

Community Participation and Engagement:

The following is a suggested schedule for the spring 2015 course. Details will be fine-tuned with your community prior to participation:

Early to mid-January: Project ideas are submitted, discussed and finalized with the cities and the course teaching faculty.

Mid- to end of January: City officials will visit the class and briefly present information on the sustainability challenge and/or topic which is requiring research or that is being faced locally.

In February, students will prepare a Code of Stakeholder Engagement that specifies how, how often, and when students will engage with their city project partners.

February – April: Students will work in small teams (4-5 students) to research and provide answers/solutions back to their city project partners.

Early April: Student teams will present a preliminary version of their findings to the project partners. Each project will have 3-4 student teams presenting their solutions as part of a mini, in-class competition. Following feedback from their project partners on their presentations, students will submit a final project overview with executive summary to their project partners by the end of April.

Six lessons to boost your climate vocabulary

November 26, 2014

climate-change-shutterstock-221252449-copyright-patpitchaya-small-not-for-distributionRight now, political-types from virtually every country in the world are gathering in Peru to talk about climate change. They're working toward a major international agreement about how every nation will pitch in to address global climate change. It's kind of a big deal.

If you're not quite ready to sit at the international table, maybe you just need a little help understanding the jargon. Here are six vocabulary lessons to get you ready for the big negotiations.

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Ray Jensen: Thought Leader Series

November 19, 2014

ray-jensen-2013Ray Jensen is ASU’s Associate Vice President for Integrated Business Relationships and an advocate for disability services, equity and inclusion. In this essay, Jensen advocates for a new, collaborative model to address disability issues, with the goal of improving global sustainability through inclusion.

Regarding Inclusion – Do We Leave Anyone Behind?

November 19, 2014

ray-jensen-2013A Thought Leader Series Piece

By Ray Jensen

Note: December marks eight years since the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted at the United Nations headquarters in New York. In this essay, Ray Jensen advocates for a new model to address disability issues, with the goal of improving global sustainability through inclusion.

The romantic biography of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, was released this month. Its focus is on the relationship of this extraordinary man and Jane Wilde, who weds Hawking and for as long as she is able, embraces the challenges of his life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). From the trailer, it seems that Hawking received, not a death sentence, but a prison sentence when he was a young man, and gradually was translated into a person with a disability. Sometimes it happens that way.

For other people with disabilities, the point of entry is birth, athletic injury, auto accidents or the violence of war. However it arrives, it is usually unexpected, always unwanted, and often the beginning of a journey that can tax the emotional, financial and relational health, not only of the individual with the disability, but of their family and loved ones.

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ASU partners with international network to improve lives worldwide

View Source | November 18, 2014

The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives is the newest of 23 internationally renowned members belonging to Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) – a nonprofit committed to improving life through the development and implementation of USAID-funded programs focused on energy, water, agriculture and economic development across the globe.

APS Provides Green Energy For ASU’s Homecoming Football Game

View Source | October 30, 2014

This year, Sun Devil Athletics purchased 49,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy from Arizona Public Service, which translates to enough green energy to power the stadium for the next three home games. This is the sixth consecutive year ASU and APS have partnered to bring green sources of electricity to Sun Devil Stadium.

Through the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program, ASU has installed more than 50 projects on three of its campuses, for a total of nearly 24 MW of solar generation. ASU now has more solar installed on its campus than any other university in the country.

Sustainability alumna analyzes how Twitter responds to catastrophes

View Source | October 30, 2014

In an article for Nature Publishing Group's journal Scientific Reports, Christa Brelsford - a School of Sustainability alumna and Sante Fe Institute postdoctoral fellow - and co-author Xin Lu analyze interactions by communities of Twitter users preceding and following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The authors find that among Japanese-speaking Twitter users, the disaster created more new connections and more changes in online communities than it did globally and (not surprisingly) it produced world-wide increases in earthquake-related tweets. In addition, the authors describe a novel framework for investigating the dynamics of communities in social networks that can be used to study any kind of social change.

ASU Wrigley Institute represented at Arizona Forward's Earth Fest for tenth year

View Source | October 28, 2014

For the tenth year in a row, the ASU Wrigley Institute will be represented at Arizona Forward’s Earth Fest, taking place at the Desert Botanical Garden on October 28. The fest serves as a venue for local environmental education organizations to share their work with Valley teachers. The ASU Wrigley Institute will have two tables at the fest: one for Ecology Explorers and one for Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools.

Heather Lineberry: Thought Leader Series

October 27, 2014

Heather Lineberry is senior curator and associate director of the ASU Art Museum. Her curatorial work explores how new art practices can impact decision making and change entrenched behaviors and systems. In this essay, she explores how art can facilitate deep collaboration across disciplines and social groups to challenge existing models and propose new ones.

LuAn Declaration released in poor farmer's house during "Green Growth" conference

View Source | October 20, 2014

During the "Unpacking Green Growth" conference organized in part by the ASU Wrigley Institute, the LuAn Declaration on Green Development in Poor Regions was released in a farmer's house in LuAn City - a poor region in the middle of China. According to the LuAn Declaration, human society is transitioning from the Industrial Era to the Internet Era. This transition is dramatically impacting the traditional development paradigm, and makes it possible for poor regions to leapfrog to an internet-based green economy of the future.