Scholarships aid sustainability students exploring policy and diversity

June 14, 2013

Clean Air Cab, a local sustainable taxi cab company, has awarded two School of Sustainability students with scholarships to fund their education in the upcoming year. Incoming freshman Maria Eller plans to study diversity and sustainability while senior Sean Martin plans to explore sustainable consulting.

"We designed our scholarships to reward individuals who share our same values in conserving our ecology and creating sustainability within their thinking as it pertains to their actions, community projects, and future business structures," says Steve Lopez, founder and owner of Clean Air Cab.

Both Eller and Martin say the scholarship will take some pressure off and allow them to focus more on their studies.


GreenBiz Group, The Sustainability Consortium, and ASU Global Institute of Sustainability partner on weeklong Sustainability Solutions Festival

Institute Press Releases

June 12, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. and PHOENIX, Ariz. – June 12, 2013 – GreenBiz Group, The Sustainability Consortium, and the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will be coming together for the Sustainability Solutions Festival, a unique and powerful partnership among three leadership institutions.

The three entities have agreed to align interests and audiences as part of the weeklong series of events to be held in Phoenix, February 15-22, 2014. The week will include the 2014 GreenBiz Forum, sustainability-focused innovation fairs, a green "Un-gala" and meetings and workshops for the board and network of The Sustainability Consortium and other events.

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Sustainability Scientist earns environmental education award for water research

June 11, 2013

The AZ Water Association recently awarded Sustainability Scientist and Professor Peter Fox the Nathan Burbank Environmental Educator Award for teaching and mentoring students on the water industry in AZ. Fox is a professor of environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

"Both his work mentoring students and his research on drinking water have greatly benefited the state of Arizona," says Edd Gibson, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. "He is a great colleague and contributor to our school and the community."

Fox's research interests lie in sustainable water systems, water reuse, and desalination.


Engineering students to help sustain rural communities in Kenya

June 11, 2013

Members from the ASU chapter of Engineers Without Borders will visit the rural area, Bondo Rarieda, Kenya to provide assistance on a defective dam as part of the Kenya Water Project. The dam has been breached several times due to the rainy season, not allowing the communities to capture and store the excess water for use.

"Our plan is to design this system, teach [local residents] how to build it properly and explain to them why it makes a difference," says Danielle Worger, an industrial engineering graduate student and the co-program manager for the project.

The project aims to equip the locals with the knowledge and training needed to upkeep neighboring dams in order to provide long-term, sustainable solutions.


Work to improve water systems, energy sustainability earns NSF support

June 6, 2013

This summer, Senior Sustainability Scientist and School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy assistant professor Mary Laura Lind will begin her research as part of a $400,000 National Science Foundation grant awarded earlier this year. Under her direction, engineering graduate and undergraduate students will investigate transport properties of membranes at the nanoscale.

This research will help inspire better water filtration and waste water technologies while also finding a way to use the filtered materials as sources for biofuel. Lind and her team hope to find more energy-efficient methods of transporting and filtering water.

“Her work on membranes for liquid phase applications, especially water purification and treatment, is an important part of ASU’s overall research thrust in energy and sustainability,” says ASU chemical engineering Regents’ Professor Jerry Lin.


Recycling, 'Office Space'-style

Sustainability In Action

June 5, 2013

office space recycleSitting in your gray cubicle, writing a note on a Post-it using a bright red pen so you really remember to email Stan tomorrow and what happens? The ink in that plastic pen runs out just when you finish the “t” in “Stan.” Now what will you do with the pen? A trash can is right below your desk, but what if your red pen could give life to a new blue pen?

Enter ASU’s Materials Management team

In 2009, a group of employees from ASU Stores and Mail Services saw unwanted office supplies piling up in the trash and decided to do something about it. Back then, Mail Services was already collecting CDs, VHS tapes, and cell phones while ASU Stores was gathering toner cartridges for recycling. When the two departments merged in 2011 to create ASU Materials Management, their recycling and reuse efforts multiplied. Since then, the team has saved 400 pounds of CDs, DVDs, plastic jewel cases, more than 150 cell phones, and over 17,000 toner cartridges from the landfill—not to mention countless pens, markers, and rubber bands.

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Biodiesel Magazine: Arizona State University student creates algae-inspired art

June 4, 2013

ASU School of Art student Phillip Carrier will spend two summer semesters as an artist-in-residence at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) creating a piece of work that combines science, technology, and art. Under the College of Technology and Innovation and the LightWorks initiative, AzCATI is a national testbed for algae research and development for biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and other biomass.

"Great minds, from scientists and researchers to philosophers and poets, must work together to create a cultural shift toward a sustainable existence," says Gary Dirks, director of LightWorks and  the Global Institute of Sustainability. "Artists like Philip tell stories that instruct us or stimulate us into thinking about what that future is going to look like."

Carrier will find inspiration at the many algae test beds on the Polytechnic campus. His completed artwork will be on display on the Polytechnic campus's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 3.


Sustainability alum takes the 'hazard' out of 'hazardous waste'

June 4, 2013

Bradley Baker graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012. Now, he works as a hazardous waste compliance officer at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Waste Programs Division. He learned at a young age that our resources are finite, and taking care of them takes personal and group responsibility.

In his position, Baker inspects local businesses and facilities to make sure they are following hazardous waste regulations.  Baker says his real-world experience from internships helped him gain his position.

"Find an internship, whether it is paid or unpaid," he tells fellow students. "I have well over a year's worth of experience doing unpaid internships, and I would not have been able to apply for the jobs I did without them."


One Degree: Icing the Heat Island Effect

Thought Leader Series

May 29, 2013

A Thought Leader Series Piece

mick-headshotBy Mick Dalrymple

Note: Mick Dalrymple is a LEED-accredited professional and co-founder of the Arizona Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. He is the ASU project manager of Energize Phoenix, an initiative that aims to save energy, create jobs, and improve local neighborhoods along a 10-mile stretch of Phoenix's light rail. Recently, Dalrymple has been promoting the Global Institute of Sustainability's 2013 Energy Efficiency Idea Guide for Arizona

Imagine what would happen if an array of stakeholders made a concerted effort to cool the overnight low temperature of downtown Phoenix by one degree. For starters, more people would spend their evenings outdoors, increased economic activity would boost local businesses and tourism dollars, and roughly 21 million kilowatt hours (nearly $2.1 million) of energy would be saved per year.

But most importantly, Phoenix would become a real example to the world that we all can work together to positively change our climate.

Such is the power of One Degree, a simple concept that describes a tremendously complex and ambitious (but doable) challenge to create concerted change that improves community sustainability.

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Employee program to recycle small things gets big results, campus award

May 24, 2013

RecyclingTo assist ASU's 2015 zero waste goal, the ASU Materials Management team has organized a collection service for used and unwanted office supplies. Since it first started, the collection service has rounded up more than 400 pounds of CDs, DVDs, plastic jewel cases and more than 150 cell phones in addition to 17,200 toner cartridges and 2,500 writing utensils.

"It’s the little things that add up," says Maureen King, manager of Materials Management. "Each act does not have much impact by itself, but collectively all this work leads to the larger goal of creating a sustainable future."

Mail Services reuses the rubber bands, while ink and toner cartridges and utensils are sent out for recycling.


Panama canal watershed offers test bed for ASU reforestation study

May 24, 2013

fig_1In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, two ASU scientists published their study on the Panama Canal watershed, an area under review for reforestation in order to compensate for increased cargo ship use and more channels. Charles Perrings, a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, is the co-author alongside Silvio Simonit from ASU's Ecoservices Group.

The duo's paper examines the interactions and outcomes of multiple ecosystem services provided by reforestation including water flows, carbon sequestration, and timber production.

"Our research provides an insight into the importance of understanding the spatial distribution of the costs and benefits of jointly produced services," says Simonit.


ASU awarded Think Green Grant, will expand composting program

May 23, 2013

Arizona State University is awarded a $4,000 Think Green Grant from Waste Management, Inc. and Keep America Beautiful. ASU proposes to expand its Green Bin program by having ASU Facilities Development Management Recycling program staff collaborating with the ASU School of Sustainability in a capstone class. The students will develop ideas to divert ASU's waste from the landfill.

"This gives us the opportunity to connect academics with operations by asking School of Sustainability students to innovate solutions to Green Bin organics collection expansion," said Alana Levine, ASU Recycling Program Manager. "Students will actually see their ideas realized at ASU and establish a collection model for other communities to use."

ASU is aiming to be a zero waste university by 2015.


Students, faculty 'show' sustainability at open house event

May 23, 2013

Arizona State University's School of Sustainability hosted its year-end open house and project showcase on April 24 where students and faculty got to show off their innovative course assignments and partnerships. For example, students in Professor David Manuel-Navarrete's Sustainability Leadership and Social Change course introduced their video highlighting ASU's transformation towards university-wide sustainability.

"Since the School was first established, we have put value on diverse learning and teaching strategies that simulate professional team settings, address real-world sustainability issues and involve community members as project partners," says Katja Brundiers, the School's university-community liaison and the event's organizer.

The event created new collaborations as part of the School's Project-and Problem-Based Learning. Students and faculty interacted together one-on-one as well as with members of the public. The event was part poster session, part mixer, part lecture, and part discussion.


Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2013

May 23, 2013

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University has announced its list of top 10 new species discovered during 2012. More than 140 species were nominated and the international committee chose according to appropriate nomenclature and official 2012 naming.

"Sustainable biodiversity means assuring the survival of as many and as diverse species as possible so that ecosystems are resilient to whatever stresses they face in the future. Scientists will need access to as much evidence of evolutionary history as possible," said Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration at ASU and a sustainability scientist at ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability.

The top species include a carnivorous sponge, a glow-in-the-dark cockroach, flowering bushes, a false coral snake, and a new monkey.


Slate Magazine: Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is not enough

May 23, 2013

Last week, carbon dioxide amounts in the Earth's atmosphere reached past 400 parts per million, according to Mauna Loa Observatory. This is the highest its been since humanity's beginning. ASU's Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss says mitigating climate change will need more than reducing emissions; we need to extract carbon that's already in the atmosphere.

Krauss writes in a Slate Magazine Future Tense article:

"Though there could be huge advantages to directly extracting carbon dioxide from our atmosphere instead of from its source, there has been almost no R&D funding to explore making it a reality. Meanwhile, literally hundreds of billions of dollars have been put into subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production."


School of Sustainability Alumni Chapter wins first place in Sparky's Membership Mania competition

May 15, 2013

sparky-membership-mania-2013Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability Alumni Chapter won first place in the Sparky’s Membership Mania Competition for the second consecutive year. This competition provides a $500 cash award to the ASU Alumni Chapter with the largest increase in membership each year. Thank you to the many School of Sustainability graduates who have joined the School of Sustainability Alumni Chapter. We appreciate your talents, expertise, and connection to your alma mater! Pictured left to right: Alissa Pierson (ASU Alumni Association), Brigitte Bavousett (School of Sustainability Alumni Chapter President), Dr. Christine Wilkinson (ASU Alumni Association).

Student connects art, sustainability through experiential learning

May 14, 2013

Omaya Ahmad, a fellow with Arizona State University’s Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools program and a School of Sustainability doctoral student, integrates sustainability in Greenway Middle School's curriculum and established courses.

Particularly, Ahmad teaches environmental sustainability to seventh-graders and societal sustainability to eight-graders. Through Greenway's partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Ahmad was able to use local artwork to give her students real-life lessons outside the classroom.

“I wanted to do my fellowship in the Paradise Valley Unified School District because I graduated from a school in that district,” says Ahmad. “They matched me to Greenway, because of the opportunities with the honors core there. It was such a great match. It was gratifying to watch the students learn, and I learned a lot, too.”


Scientists use crowd-sourcing to help map global CO2 emissions

May 13, 2013

To locate global power plants and record their greenhouse gas emissions, Arizona State University scientists are calling on citizens for help.

The researchers, including Sustainability Scientist Kevin Gurney, developed a website with a Google Earth interface that makes it easy for everyday people around the world to enter information. The website, "Ventus," aims to create a complete list of global power plants, something that does not exist and is needed to fully comprehend the global carbon emissions cycle.

"Through Ventus, people around the world can play an active role in helping to solve the climate change problem," Gurney said. "We hope to gather a global team of people who want to make a difference—and do so, right now. The information we gather from Ventus can ultimately help determine what we as a society can do locally and globally about climate change."

Watch the video »


Faculty Spotlight: Shauna BurnSilver

May 13, 2013

Before becoming a Sustainability Scientist and professor in the School of Sustainability, BurnSilver was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa. She received her doctoral degree in human ecology from Colorado State University. BurnSilver combines all facets of science—like common property theory, landscape ecology, conservation, and vulnerability—to provide useful research for decision-making. She co-authored a paper with researchers from Colorado State University and the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, Africa that describes a new model for conducting research. The model advises to include local people at the very beginning of the research process and then work with them to disseminate the results at a community level. The paper received Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award for 2012.

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ASU experts offer roadmap to Medicare sustainability

May 11, 2013

Three ASU researchers recently published the book, "A Roadmap to Medicare Sustainability," in hopes of illuminating how current Medicare is chipping away at the security of future dependents. To make Medicare more sustainable in the long-run, Denis Cortese and colleagues Natalie Landman and Robert Smoldt suggest raising the eligibility age, develop a premium support model, establish true pay for medical providers, and work on tort reform.

Right now, Medicare is a major contributor to the U.S. federal debt due to the growing costs as Boomers begin to retire.

"Medicare must be fundamentally reformed and made sustainable in a manner that is fair to seniors, their children and their grandchildren who are or will be paying the taxes for the Medicare program," said Smoldt, associate director of ASU’s Healthcare Delivery and Policy Program. "Bold action and consistent leadership on several fronts are required."