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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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Gober retires from ASU, establishes student water prize

ASU Now | March 17, 2020

This month, Pat Gober will be retiring from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning full-time faculty to focus on research and professional service projects. Gober, a population geographer and demographer, was the founding director of the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Over the course of her 45-year tenure at ASU, Gober held a range of appointments including a term as chair of the Department of Geography, where under her leadership it grew into a nationally-ranked geography doctoral program. She also held appointments as distinguished honors faculty fellow in Barrett, The Honors College; policy research associate, Morrison Institute for Public Policy; senior sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; and interim director in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban planning.

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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.

ASU professors contribute to federal food waste report

ASU Now | March 5, 2020

A new federal report by ASU professors highlights how nearly a third of the food produced in the United States never makes it to the grocery aisle, instead ending up in landfills. The research shows that the entire food chain is fraught with unpredictability, from how much it rains to how many farm workers show up for harvest, to which apple will be plucked from the bin. Literal tons of food are thrown away at nearly every step.

Sustainability Scientists Tim Richards and Ashok Mishra, both professors in the W. P. Carey School of Business, were on the nationwide team of researchers who produced the report.

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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 faculty generates innovative idea to change behavior

ASU Now | February 11, 2020

Man stands on ASU campus with crossed hands and smileOne of the many challenges we face in the journey to create a more sustainable planet is that although more people are now aware of the problem of climate change, that awareness does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior. At Arizona State University, student organizations discovered this roadblock when they noticed intensively publicizing information did not result in as much success as they hoped in regards to meeting the university’s sustainability goals. So to address this, Kendon Jung, the Coordinator for Educational Outreach and Student Services and the chair of the City of Tempe sustainability comission came up with an innovative idea: creating a new interdisciplinary class.

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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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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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ASU biologist starts magazine to save bees

ASU Now | January 25, 2020

2 million blossoms logoDestruction of biodiversity can sometimes feel like such an overwhelming problem, the average person has no idea where to begin if they want to make a difference. To those who feel this way, Arizona State University biologist Kirsten Traynor has a suggestion: Start with bees.

In the face of the climate crisis, all sorts of animals are facing extinction. But while the average person may not be able to do much about rhinos, tigers or birds, they can certainly help bees.

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Marchant is named AAAS fellow

ASU Now | January 23, 2020

Gary MarchantDistinguished Sustainability Scientist Gary Marchant was recently elected by his peers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – one of eight fellows named in the Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering sector, for distinguished contributions to research, teaching and outreach at the intersections of law, science and biotechnology, including important work with legislative, executive and judicial groups.

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National Academy of Sciences honors Elkins-Tanton

ASU Now | January 22, 2020

Lindy Elkins-TantonThe National Academy of Sciences has announced that Sustainability Scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton has been awarded the 2020 Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship. The Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship is awarded to a scientist making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth and whose lectures will provide solid, timely, and useful additions to the knowledge and literature in the field.

The prize was awarded to Elkins-Tanton for her lasting contributions to the study of the physics of Earth and for illuminating the early evolution of rocky planets and planetesimals. She will be awarded a $50,000 prize and funds to present a series of Day Lectures, which are provided by the Arthur L. Day Bequest. The award will be presented on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C., at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting and will be available via live webcast.

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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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ASU emeritus professor advocates for the environment through art

ASU Now | January 18, 2020

drawing of desert landscapeEmeritus professor Mark Reader has a unique way of advocating for the environment: Art.

Reader is a talented painter with a history of protesting going back to the '60s. In 1967, he had just moved from Pennsylvania and was teaching political theory at Arizona State University when Arizona began to experience the harmful effects of automobile exhaust and smokestack emissions. According to Reader, the visibility back then was so bad one couldn’t see Camelback Mountain on some days. Alarmed by the situation, he joined other protesters to demand clean air and water as part of the original Earth Day.

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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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Project Cities puts student talent on the map

ASU Now | January 14, 2020

Person presenting for project citiesThe city of Apache Junction, Arizona has a complicated relationship with the 125 mobile home and RV parks within its city limits. Some of the parks are well managed and provide an attractive, affordable option for low income residents. But many are deteriorating, unsightly and do not conform to contemporary city codes, presenting a detriment to Apache Junction’s image as it works to attract visitors and boost economic growth.

In an effort to address this, the city partnered with the new-at-the-time Arizona State University program Project Cities, a program launched in 2017 to “connect higher education with local communities, creating a powerful combination of knowledge and know-how.” Apache Junction was the inaugural community partner during the 2017–18 academic year and renewed its partnership through the spring 2019 semester.

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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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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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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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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.

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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