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.”
February 9, 2012
A solution to the global financial crisis may be in the hands of economists – notably those like Carlo Jaeger of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – who are embracing a bold economic model designed around green growth.
Jaeger, who has a joint appointment at the University of Potsdam and chairs the European Climate Forum, is at Arizona State University this winter as the Julie Wrigley Visiting Senior Scholar at the School of Sustainability. He has been interacting with ASU sustainability scientists, faculty members and students to discuss research on how a green growth strategy to address the global financial crisis can bring about transformational changes.
January 31, 2012
Several centuries of species exploration have taught us that a vast number of Earth’s plants and animals are extremely limited in their ecological associations and geographic distributions. When these species lose their specific habitats, it usually means extinction. Yet, because we don’t know what or how many species actually exist or where they live, we are unable to detect or measure these quiet changes in biodiversity.
January 26, 2012
From Sustainability: The Journal of Record, December 2011, 4(6): 261-263, an article by Senior Sustainability Scientist George Basile about the important role of universities in leading change in sustainability and the critical relationship between entrepreneurship and student success.
For any sustainability graduate or new practitioner, there exists a tale of two narratives. The first reflects the reality of a historically horrendous job market, a new field with relatively unknown academic degrees, and an abundance of competition from seasoned professionals. The other reflects the reality of being at the leading edge of a pioneering wave with the opportunity and promise of discovery and forging one’s own future given a more complete understanding of the reality humanity finds itself in. Both narratives paint a picture of transition and both are true. So, what is one to do?
January 24, 2012
The second largest group in the 2009 report was vascular plants, totaling 2,184 or 11.3 percent. Of the 19,232 in the total count, seven were birds, 41 were mammals and 1,487 were arachnids – spiders and mites.
And, according to this latest report, there was a 5.6 percent increase in new living species discovered in 2009, compared to 2008.
The annual SOS report card on the status of human knowledge of Earth’s species summarizes what is known about global flora and fauna. The 19,232 species described as “new” or newly discovered during 2009 represent about twice as many species as were known in the lifetime of Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who initiated the modern system of plant and animal names and classifications more than 250 years ago, said the report’s author, Quentin Wheeler, an ASU entomologist and founding director of the species institute.
“The cumulative knowledge of species since 1758 when Linnaeus was alive is nearly 2 million, but much remains to be done,” Wheeler said. “A reasonable guess is that 10 million additional plant and animal species await discovery by scientists and amateur species explorers.”
January 11, 2012
The design and establishment of an online graduate certificate in sustainability leadership at Arizona State University for soldiers and civilians in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve was inaugurated Jan. 6 during a signing ceremony.
Participating in the event at the Army National Guard Bureau headquarters in Arlington, Va., were ASU President Michael M. Crow; Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Nelan, assistant to the director, Army National Guard; and Richard G. Kidd IV, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability.
January 4, 2012
Metropolitan Phoenix has the largest set of wild land preserves of any major metropolitan area in the United States, including the largest city park in the country, South Mountain Park. Mountain preserves are treasures in our own backyard, yet the pressures of urbanization, invasive species and overuse of certain parks threaten their long-term integrity.
Arizona State University’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program in the Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU’s Ecosystem Conservation and Resilience Initiative (ECRI) in the School of Life Sciences are part of a new initiative to address the future of these mountain park preserves.
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.
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.
December 15, 2011
A November 29 broadcast on National Public radio features a project co-directed by planning professor Aaron Golub and Milagros Zingoni of the ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. Students involved include Benjamin Stanley, of the School of Sustainability and Christian Solorio; Hector Navarro; and Whitney Warman of the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.
In the project, called “Retrofitting Suburbs: Re-visioning the Cul-de-Sac,” Golub, Zingoni and their team are working with the city of Avondale to re-design one of its cul-de-sacs for the year 2030. The goal is for the re-designed cul-de-sac to fit the needs of future populations, in which there will be an increasing number of single- and two-person households. The re-designed cul-de-sac will use the existing structures to accommodate up to 3 times as many residents, in “manors” that blend small private units with shared space.
December 15, 2011
The grant’s objective is to promote transit-oriented development (TOD) along the light rail line – with a focus on development that will provide all residents with safe, convenient access to quality, affordable housing, well-paying jobs, education and training programs, fresh food and healthcare services.
The project, named Reinvent Phoenix: Cultivating Equity, Engagement, Economic Development and Design Excellence with TOD, will foster development near the light rail that serves to:
December 15, 2011
The Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) at Arizona State University is one of the players on the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy team tabbed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to identify and eliminate barriers to easy and affordable rooftop solar installation.
Gov. Jan Brewer announced this month that the Arizona team received a $710,000 grant from DOE, the first-year award in a three-year $2.8 million initiative, with the goal of developing processes to lower costs by identifying best practices in finance, permitting and zoning.
December 15, 2011
What does the future of business look like in a sustainability-minded world, and how do we get there are two among many questions addressed in the three-volume set, “The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices, and Stories of Success.”
A dozen chapter contributors from ASU essentially helped to develop the first integrated presentation of the business of sustainability. The books were published in November 2011 and bring together more than 70 experts who specialize in several industries. The volumes’ editors include Scott G. McNall, who joined forces with fellow editors who hail from ASU: George Basile, a professor in the School of Sustainability, and James C. Hershauer, an emeritus professor of management.
According to Hershauer, the editors teamed up to produce the books because they collectively saw fragmentations in the approaches businesspeople were making when engaging in sustainability discussions.
December 12, 2011
ASU has announced that Tesco is joining The Sustainability Consortium, an independent group of global businesses, academics, governments and non-governmental organizations that work collaboratively to drive innovation in consumer product sustainability. The Tesco-funded Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at The University of Manchester will also become an academic member of the Consortium. Tesco joins 16 other European members that provide The Sustainability Consortium a strong foothold in the region.
Joining The Consortium is a further boost to Tesco’s work on sustainability and comes after its commendation as the top green UK retailer by the internationally recognized Carbon Disclosure Project. By focusing on environmental and social sustainability in the supply chain, The Consortium’s collaboration between Tesco and other global businesses will drive sustainable production and consumption in the consumer goods market. This partnership builds on The Consortium’s recent opening of a European branch at Wageningen University & Research Centre in The Netherlands.
December 8, 2011
Now 21, the ASU senior from Chandler has hiked through rainforests to study ecology in Costa Rica and has planted hundreds of trees as a farm intern in New Zealand. She has founded a student organization to fight slavery and trafficking, and has led volunteer efforts for a Tempe homeless program and an environmental action team.
Next year the young activist will head for Chile to study food security and community-based agriculture, having just won a $26,000 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
She is one of more than 400 university students from 40 countries selected by Rotary International to study abroad. They will participate in community service projects and speak to civic groups, acting as “goodwill ambassadors” for their home countries.
December 6, 2011
Research on urban heat island by CAP LTER researchers Darrel Jenerette, Sharon Harlan, Will Stefanov, and Chris Martin recently was featured in Wired Magazine’s article “Environmental Gap Widens in Phoenix.”
The Wired story focused on the researchers’ findings reported in the journal Ecological Applications.
Scientists from ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change and ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability examined the role of vegetation in urban cooling, particularly in low-income neighborhoods experiencing extreme heat. The study was funded by a National Science Foundation grant awarded to the School.
While an increase in vegetation would ameliorate heat conditions and provide multiple ecosystem services, the authors argue that “vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies.”
November 17, 2011
Complex computational modeling provides clues to Neanderthal extinction
Computational modeling that examines evidence of how hominin groups evolved culturally and biologically in response to climate change during the last Ice Age also bears new insights into the extinction of Neanderthals. Details of the complex modeling experiments conducted at Arizona State University and the University of Colorado Denver will be published in the December issue of the journal Human Ecology, available online Nov. 17.
ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist Michael Barton authored the article, “Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia.” The article was co-authored by ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist John Martin “Marty” Anderies, an associate professor of computational social science in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the School of Sustainability; as well as Julien Riel-Salvatore, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver; and Gabriel Popescu, an anthropology doctoral student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU.
November 15, 2011
In celebration of NBC Universal’s “Green Is Universal” week, The Weather Channel announced that it will air “Changing Planet: Adapting to Our Water Future” at 5 p.m. ( ET ), 3 p.m. ( Arizona Time ), Nov. 17. An encore presentation will air Saturday at 2 p.m. ( ET ), 12 p.m. ( Arizona Time ).
NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson moderated the event, which was hosted by Arizona State University. The town hall is the last in a three-part series produced under a partnership between NBC Learn ( the educational arm of NBC News ), the National Science Foundation ( NSF ) and Discover magazine.
“We face great challenges now, and in the years and decades ahead when it comes to water – including its scarcity and its purity,” said Thompson. “It is important that we have these kinds of discussions about how we can work together to protect and conserve one of our world’s most important resources.”
This edition of “Changing Planet” brings together over 400 students and features four leading experts from science, academia and politics: Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico; Grady Gammage Jr., senior sustainability scholar with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability and senior research fellow with the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; and Heidi Cullen, former climate expert for The Weather Channel and current research scientist and correspondent with “Climate Central.”
November 10, 2011
Can peer pressure help people live more sustainably? In this article from The Atlantic Cities, Susan Ledlow, ASU social psychologist; Mick Dalrymple, ASU Energize Phoenix project manager; and Dimitrios Laloudakis, Phoenix’s energy manager, weigh in on how creating social norms can be used to get people to live more sustainably.
The idea that people will change their beliefs and behavior through social norms could be a powerful tool for cities chasing sustainability in everything from water consumption to recycling programs to energy efficiency.
November 8, 2011
From The Atlantic, this article features a conversation with Kevin Dooley, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Professor of Supply Chain Management, W.P. Carey School of Business. Dooley also serves as Academic Director of the Sustainability Consortium. Dr. Dooley is a world-known expert in the application of complexity science to help organizations improve. He has published over 100 research articles and co-authored an award winning book, “Organizational Change and Innovation Processes.”
In this article, Dooley discusses how most people are largely unaware of the life cycle of products they purchase and how smart companies already know that the next competitive landscape is about being more sustainable.