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ASU conservation scientist on a mission to save sea turtles

ASU Now | January 8, 2020

Jesse SenkoEver since the magical experience of riding on a turtle while on a snorkeling tour at 12 years old, Jesse Senko has been obsessed with sea turtles. It’s an obsession that continues to fuel him as he works as a marine biologist and conservation scientist at Arizona State University to save the creatures.

“Fishing gear is the greatest threat to sea turtles worldwide,” Senko said. “Sea turtles are vital for the health of the world’s oceans. They perform fundamental roles in ocean ecosystems, many of which are not fulfilled by other species. And humans need healthy oceans to survive and thrive.”

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Meet sustainability junior Sha'kiya Morris

January 2, 2020

Sha'kiya MorrisShe runs two organizations from home, created a charity focused on helping veterans with PTSD and holds community events to raise awareness. She also helps personal brands and businesses benefit from innovative solutions. Oh, and did we mention she's a mother of two?

Meet Sha'kiya Morris, a junior at Arizona State University studying sustainability online. "To me, sustainability means an opportunity to practice mindfulness," Morris said. "I believe that with collaboration, transparency, and an openness to understanding, we can take our species to another level. But to evolve, we must first become involved."

In the following Q&A, we discuss her life, the reasons she created her organizations and why she decided to study sustainability at ASU.

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UREx SRN Alumni: Beating the heat in Phoenix neighborhoods

December 30, 2019

Melissa GuardaroSchool of Sustainability PhD graduate, Melissa Guardaro has made an impact on heat action planning in Phoenix, Arizona. As part of the Nature’s Cooling System Project, Guardaro strove to address social and geographical equity concerns related to heat mitigation and adaptation strategies in under-served areas. She partnered with local groups including the Nature Conservancy, community based organizations, city officials, and the public health department to develop heat action plans for three low-income communities: Edison-Eastlake Community, Mesa Care Neighborhood, and Lindo Park-Roesley Park Neighborhood.

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Sustainability scientist, scholar named President's Professors

ASU Now | December 19, 2019

Joni AdamsonJoni Adamson, the director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and Michael Angilletta, a professor in the School of Life Sciences and the associate director of undergraduate programs, have been named President's Professors. To be designated as a President’s Professor is one of ASU’s most prestigious faculty honors. The recognition is given to faculty who have made substantial contributions to undergraduate education and faculty who have the ability to inspire original, creative works in their fields.

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Sustainability and Cronkite film students expose the tragedies of homelessness

December 19, 2019

Dawson Morford, Katharina Saloman, and Sarah Aly El SayedHiding In Plain Sight and Fighting For A Home are two short films on the complexities of homelessness from School of Sustainability and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication students in Peter Byck’s Sustainability Storytelling course.

Hiding in Plain Sight spotlights a woman’s experience with homelessness and the special challenges she faces that differ from men. The film’s protagonist struggles to find nutrition, health care and shelter while trying to fill roles as a caretaker, mother and friend. First-time filmmakers Dawson Morford, Katharina Saloman and Sarah Aly El Sayed piece together a powerful portrait of a unique partnership between a homeless woman and a chronically ill man, while chronicling the plight of homeless women in Phoenix, Arizona. Highlighting the vulnerabilities of unsheltered women, the filmmakers show us there is no single narrative for the multiple demographic groups of homeless people. Women, specifically, face unique personal safety and health hurdles while living on the streets.

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We can course correct and save the melting Arctic

Medium | December 18, 2019

Two polar bears walking across thin Arctic iceThe Arctic is experiencing climate change more dramatically than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, the Arctic Ocean is expected to be virtually ice-free in the late summer within 20 years. These rapid changes not only affect life in the Arctic, but also the entirety of the planet.

In the newest article from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Rapid Changes in the Arctic: This Story is Not Just about Polar Bears," thought leaders Peter Schlosser, Stephanie Pfirman, Clea Edwards, Nina Berman, Steven Beschloss, Rolf Halden and Manfred Laubichler discuss the changing Arctic and what needs to be done to course correct. "To be clear, this is not all doom and gloom. There is a path forward," they say.

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Meet sustainability online student Wes Fitch

December 13, 2019

Wes FitchGrowing up in North Texas, Wes Fitch never really had the opportunity to experience nature. So when he finally did in Boulder, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, it was life changing.

"As someone from the suburbs in Texas, this was my first experience living among beautiful geography and a community which reinforces a healthy, active and environmentally-conscious lifestyle," Fitch said. He credits these experiences with inspiring his dedication to create "harmonious relationships between humans and our planet’s systems."

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The sustainability opportunity for business professionals

December 13, 2019

business studentsMost people are experiencing the concept of sustainability in a gloom-and-doom context of seemingly insurmountable global challenges like plastic pollution in the ocean and climate change. Today, however, sustainability strategies are smart business: They reduce cost through efficiency, increase revenue, and help organizations come out on top in the talent war.

The Sustainability Opportunity is an intensive seminar that combines the power of the consistently top-ranked W. P. Carey School of Business with the pioneering, first-in-the-nation School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Instead of focusing on gloom and doom, this seminar focuses on the business and organizational opportunities that accompany our global challenges.

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Second Nature recognizes ASU as a climate leader

ASU Now | December 10, 2019

Several ASU students and staff on bikes outside of Old Main at ASUSecond Nature, a nonprofit organization focused on accelerating climate action in higher education, has recognized Arizona State University for cutting its carbon emissions and awarded the university “Marks of Distinction" for its climate actions.

Between 2007 and 2018, ASU cut its net carbon emissions by 28%, reducing its net carbon emissions per 1,000 square feet of buildings by 49% and its net carbon emissions per on campus student by 45%. The university did this while experiencing an increase in on-campus population of 30.5% and expanding campus buildings by more than 40%.

“The reduction in carbon emissions was accomplished through energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation changes," said Mick Dalrymple, director of ASU University Sustainability Practices. "Our progress has been made possible through collaborative action across the university and beyond. Teams have designed and constructed new buildings to be highly energy efficient, as well as extensively retrofitted existing buildings. Students have led the charge on cutting commuting emissions by taking up biking, walking and light rail, and moving onto campus in new residence halls or nearby.”

Dalrymple said ASU plans to be carbon neutral by 2025 in regards to campus buildings and the ASU vehicle fleet, and carbon neutral by 2035 in regards to commuting and air travel.

"We are continuously exploring opportunities for new types of clean energy, more efficient technology, new modes of working, more efficient use of space and the planting of more trees in concert with Phoenix and Tempe,” Dalrymple said.

ASU students partner with City of Tempe on sustainable purchasing

December 6, 2019

students in SOS/PAF 545 deliver presentationLed by Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor of public policy and management in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, students in SOS/PAF 545: Organizations, Sustainability and Public Policy have partnered with the City of Tempe to assist the city as it considers implementing a sustainable purchasing policy (SPP) to help it achieve its ambitious Climate Action Goals.

As part of the partnership, students from the class have spent the fall semester conducting research and working with the city’s procurement department staff and vendors to address four questions that would help the city think through its options as it considers how it might adopt an SPP:

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Four sustainability scientists elected AAAS Fellows

ASU Now | November 27, 2019

America Association for the Advancement of Science logoFour out of the seven Arizona State University professors recently named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) were sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

Sander van der Leeuw, C. Michael Barton, Gary Marchant and Charles Perrings were all chosen in recognition of their career contributions to science, innovation or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. To be named a fellow is an honor awarded for contributions to a specific field.

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Wu and Westerhoff are among world's most influential researchers

November 26, 2019

Sustainability Scientists Jianguo Wu and Paul WesterhoffSustainability Scientists Jianguo Wu and Paul Westerhoff joined nine other ASU colleagues in being named Highly Cited Researchers by the Web of Science Group for the year 2019. Globally, only about 6,200 academics have received this award, including 11 (one retired) from Arizona State University. Researchers who receive this honor are ranked in the top 1 percent of the most cited works in the last decade.

“Being cited by ones’ peers is a hallmark of highly respected work, and is demonstrative of the caliber of professionals dedicated to advancing impactful, cutting-edge research here at ASU,” said Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise and ASU’s chief research and innovation officer.

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Two sustainability scientists earn prestigious Regents Professor title

November 22, 2019

Nancy GrimmTwo sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, out of five Arizona State University professors overall, were awarded the prestigious Regents Professor title.

Nancy Grimm, a distinguished sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and Vijay Vittal, a senior sustainability scientist and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering professor, are both internationally recognized experts at the apex of their fields. They joined an elite rank when their nominations were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

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Turning plastic waste into educational opportunity

November 20, 2019

Arizona State University students standing with $6,000 checkThree Arizona State University students have won $6,000 in startup funds through the Microsoft Community Impact Pitch-Off for their new circular economy project.

Brian Boyle, Matthew Burmeister and Andrew John De Los Santos — three master's students from the School of Sustainability — were awarded the funds for their project, "The Circular Classroom." The project aims to meet the needs of underserved high school students in the Phoenix metro area with the technology and support necessary to transform hard-to-recycle plastic waste (i.e., #5 Polypropylene plastic bottle caps) into low-cost 3D printed educational materials.

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Girls-only cybersecurity event attracts hundreds

November 20, 2019

2 Girls at computersASU’s CybersecurityDay4Girls attracted hundreds of middle school students to Arizona State University's West campus. The event was hosted in partnership with IBM to introduce young girls to the field of cybersecurity. Middle school girls are the focus of this program because women are typically underrepresented in cybersecurity roles.

CybersecurityDay4Girls covers topics to help middle school students and their families stay safe online in an ever more connected world. The program also introduces more advanced concepts like cryptography and blockchain. This exposure provides students with a better understanding of cybersecurity as a career and encourages them to consider pursuing it further.

“It’s important to make a specific reach to girls because they don’t see themselves in these roles yet,” said Jamie Winterton, director of strategy for ASU's Global Security Initiative. Winterton moderated a panel discussion between students and female cybersecurity professionals.

Meet sustainability sophomore Jackson Schiefelbein

November 12, 2019

Jackson SchiefelbeinA native of Columbus, Ohio, Arizona State University sophomore Jackson Schiefelbein has always been driven to help others. So when he discovered the School of sustainability and ASU invited him to visit, he jumped at the chance and the rest is history.

"Upon learning of the School of Sustainability and the diversity of its offerings beyond environmental science, I knew this was the place for me," Schiefelbein said. "Thanks to ASU's generosity in inviting me to visit and providing significant support through scholarships and other resources, I was able to commit to making the move to ASU."

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Retired Air Force general describes how climate change impacts national security

ASU Now | November 8, 2019

highway bridge flooding after hurricane katrinaWhen we talk about climate change, we usually discuss its impact on the environment and our food supply. It is too often considered “just an environmental issue,” and so most people don’t realize it has other wide ranging effects — like the compromise of our national security.

In a lecture cosponsored by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the American Security Project and senior business leaders concerned about long-term planning of our national security interests, retired Air Force leader Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson shed light on the connection between these two seemingly unrelated concepts. Jameson, who previously served as deputy commander in chief and chief of U.S. Strategic Command and retired after more than three decades of active service, mentioned that the military sees two main threats in climate change: the fact that it is an “accelerant of instability” and the fact that it puts 500 installations (about 300,000 buildings) worldwide at risk.

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