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Integrated pest management in Senegal

April 6, 2020

Braedon Kantola and Alana Burnham with Senagalese farmers
This article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the Schoool of Sustainability

Imagine you are in Senegal, working on a farm. It's your livelihood, your culture, and a part of your well-being. You grow millet, rice, maize, sugarcane, maybe even some wheat. You do all you can to take care of your farm and your family. Yet, there is cause for concern: locusts. When they swarm, they eat all of your crops, sometimes up to a hectare’s worth of hard work. How could this have been prevented? What can be done to empower communities?  One way is by stopping locusts before they swarm. That’s what Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) student Braedon Kantola is working on for his culminating experience and what he did on his recent trip to Senegal.

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COVID-19: The ultimate stress test for our global futures

Medium | March 30, 2020

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "COVID-19: The Ultimate Stress Test for Our Global Futures," 21 co-authors from across disciplines at Arizona State University explore how COVID-19 is shaking our societal foundations and revealing how vulnerable our systems are to shocks — even though we've long had evidence that something like this could happen. The authors discuss what this pandemic means for society, make connections to the way we as a global population are handling climate change, and outline opportunities for optimal future responses.

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ASU professor creates hydropanels to address water scarcity

ASU Now | March 30, 2020

According to the United Nations, the year 2050 could see more than 5 billion people suffer water shortages as a result of climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies. This forecast means that now more than ever, it’s important to create new ways of obtaining sustainable drinking water. One person working to make that a reality is Arizona State University professor Cody  Friesen.

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High school students from Chandler receive $50,000 grant

March 25, 2020

Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative awarded an innovative team of science students from the Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus with a $50,000 grant for their work on a heat stroke prevention device. With funding, these 9th and 10th graders will build a prototype of the device to test on student athletes.

According to Rachna Nath, a science teacher for the ACP-Erie campus, she and the students have been working with Chandler Innovations on the project since August 2019. After testing the device, they will report all data collected to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, of which HUE is a unit.

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ASU professor works to mitigate impact of extreme heat in Tokyo Olympics

March 23, 2020

Editor's note: Although this summer's Tokyo Olympics have been postponed due to COVID-19, there is a possibility they will be rescheduled to next summer. With Tokyo's extreme summer heat and humidity, dangers to health would remain. The following information holds true for August in Tokyo, including August 2021.

This summer’s Tokyo Olympics are expected to be one of the hottest Olympic Games on record. According to Jennifer Vanos, an assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, long-term climatology tells us that the question is not if it will be hot and humid in Tokyo, but rather how much hotter than normal it could be. In an effort to obtain more precision on these marginal differences and how the extreme heat will impact athletes, spectators and volunteers, Vanos and an interdisciplinary group of global researchers just published a paper in the journal Temperature.

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How to act cooperatively in the face of a pandemic

March 16, 2020

ASU psychologist Athena Aktipis and collaborators weigh in 

Cooperation is essential during a pandemic. As societies deal with the rise of disease in different ways, a consistent theme is that knowing how diseases spread and evolve can put you in a much better position to evaluate what is or isn’t a real threat.

We asked Arizona State University’s resident expert on cooperation, Athena Aktipis, and some of her collaborators about how to encourage cooperation during a pandemic. Aktipis is an assistant professor of psychology in the ASU Department of Psychology who studies cooperation and cheating and co-directs the Human Generosity Project.

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Discover resources for remote learning and teaching

March 16, 2020

Hands typing on laptop computer at deskAs ASU continues to monitor COVID-19, the university is temporarily transitioning classes wherever possible to remote teaching and learning, starting March 16, 2020. The university’s primary goal is the continuation of classes and the commitment to high-quality delivery of learning. ASU has collected all the resources available to you on one website so that you are prepared to teach, learn and work through digital remote options.

Locust plagues are devastating countries across Africa

ASU Now | February 21, 2020

LocustRight now, there are hundreds of billions of locusts wreaking havoc on vegetation across Africa. Experts are sounding the alarm, including United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who said the swarm has the potential to be "the most devastating plague of locusts in any of our living memories if we don't reduce the problem faster than we're doing at the moment."

The outbreak has hit East Africa particularly hard as many countries in the region are heavily dependent on agriculture. Locust swarms devastate food crops and raise food insecurity, an issue many of the countries already struggle with. According to the UN, the swarms are the largest in Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years and the largest in Kenya in 70 years. In Kenya, Joseph Katone Leparole — who has lived in the hamlet, Wamba, for most of his 68 years — described the plague as being similar to an umbrella covering the sky.

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How a decision made in China affects Arizona's recycling programs

ASU Now | February 19, 2020

In a global economy, it is not unusual for decisions made on one end of the world to affect what goes on in the opposite end of the globe. So, when China decided in 2018 to limit the number of reusable materials it accepted from the United States (due to their recycling facilities becoming overwhelmed), many Arizona cities like Mesa, Tucson and Casa Grande were compelled to reduce or eliminate their recycling programs.

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Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability celebrates 15 years

February 17, 2020

Wrigley HallIn 2004, Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow convened a meeting in Temozón, Mexico, of a small but distinguished group of intellectual leaders who were exploring a new idea: sustainability science. Could sustainability be a core value of a large public research university?

It would have to instruct and inspire new generations. It would have to solve pressing real-world problems. And it would have to walk its talk.

On the 15th anniversary of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU has proven it can do all of that and more. Read more about the accomplishments and evolution of the ASU Wrigley Institute in these ASU Now stories:

ASU engineer works to increase solar panel efficiency

ASU Now | February 8, 2020

Zachary HolmanAs we continue to grapple with the adverse effects of climate change, there is a renewed urgency about the need to transition to renewable sources of energy. However, transitioning comes with its own set of challenges, some of which include the high costs of some alternate sources of energy and questions about their efficiency. One renewable source of energy that ticks both of the previous boxes is solar energy.

Solar energy, while quite expensive, still remains one of the most promising sources of alternate energy. It’s why researchers at the Holman Research Group in Arizona State University have been working on innovative ways to reduce its cost. Led by Zachary Holman, an associate professor of electrical engineering and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the research team has published new findings in the science journal Joule that show how a minute change to the industry-standard silicon wafers significantly enhances solar cell composition.

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Current locust swarms emphasize the importance of GLI researchers

February 4, 2020

Locust swarm location mapPakistan. Somalia. Ethiopia. Kenya. Locust swarms of near biblical proportions are currently wreaking havoc across a wide swath of southwest Asia and east Africa.

According to the United Nations, the swarms are the largest in Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years, and the most severe in Kenya in 70 years. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Pakistan’s special assistant to the prime minister for information and broadcasting, called the infestation the “worst in more than two decades.” Both Pakistan and Somalia have declared national emergencies as they struggle to contain the impact of the pests' invasion. As a testament to the significance of the threat, Somalia’s Ministry of Agriculture warned that the locusts posed “a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation.” It was a sentiment echoed by Qu Dongyu, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.

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Australian wildfires illustrate urgent need for collective action

Medium | February 3, 2020

Image of Australian wildfireAcross the globe, wildfires continue to occur with increasing frequency and higher intensity. The world watched in shock as the still-burning flames in Australia engulfed thousands of homes, scorched millions of acres and burned alive more than a billion animals. The unprecedented disaster has experts worried.

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "A world on fire: Will we respond?," Peter Schlosser, Clea Edwards, Steven Beschloss, Nina Berman and Upmanu Lall discuss the impacts of the devastating fires in Australia and our collective responsibility to act. "It is the responsibility of all of us — Australian or not — to take this staggering moment to work for change on a global scale," they say.

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In an interdisciplinary effort, ASU researchers develop a framework to help decide sustainable futures

Science Direct | February 1, 2020

Image of wind turbinesAs we continue to witness the devastating impacts of climate change, there is a consensus that we as a human population need to transition to a more sustainable way of living. But with so many ideas and proposals, how do we decide which pathways are best? Experts from Arizona State University have created a tool to help: The Sustainable Future Scenarios (SFS).

According to a new paper published in the journal of Landscape and Urban Planning, "The co-production of sustainable future scenarios," the SFS “offers guidance to co-produce visions and transition pathways of positive futures that develop and integrate interventions for sustainability transformations of social-ecological-technological systems.”

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Christiana Figueres inspires action to cut carbon emissions in half this decade

January 31, 2020

Christiana Figueres Wrigley Lecture ASUAt the Wrigley Lecture held on January 30 at Arizona State University, climate leader Christiana Figueres said extreme events like the Australian wildfires are foretelling of things to come if we continue to sleepwalk into the future. "That world is possible, but it is not inevitable," she said.

Figueres is recognized internationally as a diplomatic leader on climate change. From 2010 to 2016, she was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. During her tenure, Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. To accelerate the global response to climate change, Figueres founded Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose-driven enterprise focused on social and environmental change. On February 25, 2020, Figueres is launching her new book, "The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis."

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Sunny day flooding in Norfolk, Virginia

January 27, 2020

Image of a car driving through flood water in VirginaWith Hurricane Dorian threatening in late August 2019, staff from Arizona State University traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to investigate and film flooding due to the climate crisis. Norfolk is the site of the largest Naval base in the world and vital to U.S. national security. The city is also the first location in the U.S. where the threats and complications from sea level rise began in earnest.

This nine-minute documentary was produced by Steven Beschloss for the Global Futures Laboratory and co-produced, shot and edited by Kirk Davis for Knowledge Enterprise.

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The wisdom of indigenous foodways

January 27, 2020

top down view of dining table with food being sharedA food summit co-sponsored by Arizona State University brought indigenous voices to the forefront of a conversation about transforming our food system.

The ASU Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, Food Tank and the University of Hawaii, West Oahu partnered for the inaugural Food Tank Summit, “The Wisdom of Indigenous Foodways." The event, which took place on January 22 at ASU Skysong, featured 22 speakers, almost all of them Native American or Native Hawaiian. Indigenous celebrity chefs Mariah Gladstone and Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, were also present.

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ASU workshop tackles questions surrounding the transition to a sustainable future

ASU Now | January 24, 2020

Peter SchlosserThere is near unanimous consent that we need to transition to a sustainable future. The real question is, how do we do so?

In an effort to address this vital question, Arizona State University’s intellectual network the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) held an open workshop titled “What Will It Take to Transition to a Sustainable Future?” on January 22. The workshop was held at the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center and it brought together leaders from universities, businesses, government and civil society to discuss potential solutions to the critical, complex challenges of sustainability and the future of our planet.

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ASU center makes global impact on ecology, conservation science

ASU Now | January 22, 2020

Global Airborne Observatory plane flying over coastlineFrom working to save Hawaiian coral reefs during the 2019 Pacific Ocean warming event to empowering hundreds of students and researchers with data from the largest constellation of satellites currently in orbit, Arizona State University’s recently launched Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science is already making waves.

Established in January 2019, the center expands upon on a vision that Greg Asner, director of the center and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, began 18 years ago at the Carnegie Institution for Science on the campus of Stanford University. It’s based on Asner’s lab work of global coral reef mapping, measuring plant biodiversity in tropical forests and hiring and supporting new faculty with a similar vision of discovery and conservation impact.

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Creating a sustainable fashion industry

ASU Now | January 17, 2020

Mannequins wearing different outfitsAccording to the United Nations Environment Program, 20% of the global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions can be traced back to one source: the fashion industry. The UNEP estimates that these statistics are “more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.” Alarmed by these numbers, Arizona State University students, staff and alumni, including the Business of Fashion group at ASU, are working to change it.

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