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Sustainability News

Cornell: The one question I hate getting about my home's solar roof

April 27, 2021

It’s not uncommon for friends, family, and neighbors to ask sustainability scientist Ryan Cornell about his home’s solar power. And he loves most of the questions. It’s a chance to talk about a subject he enjoys, while encouraging people to think about adding solar to their own homes. Most questions are pretty straightforward: How much energy does it produce? Does it produce enough electricity to power your cars? What happens when it is cloudy?

The fact that it is possible to power an entire house and two cars with today’s technology seems to intrigue most people. It also inevitably leads to another question. The question that drives Cornell a little bit crazy: When will the roof pay for itself?

"It is a completely valid question," says Cornell, "and while there are problems with the question itself, I still understand why someone wants to know. The problem with the question is that it is a gross oversimplification."

Read the article in Slate to see what Cornell says about fossil fuels, human health and peer pressure.

May 12-14: Latin American perspectives on post pandemic

April 27, 2021

The World Academy of Art & Science regional event Perspectives on Post Pandemic is being organized to examine different perspectives on social, economic, political, educational and environmental matters, taking into account the plurality of realities in Latin America. View the agenda and register.

Despite the sizable number of studies and analysis inspired by the deepening of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still face several major uncertainties. This event aims to discuss ways for a humanitarian recovery that ensures environmental sustainability. WAAS believes that the integration of sciences and arts within a humanistic framework and with deference to the environment and cultural diversity can effectively give rise to public policies leading to global recovery and social transformation. This event will include visions and perspectives of Latin American WAAS members, and invited speakers from the rest of the world. The need to build social and political systems that are more resilient and less susceptible to future crises makes imperative the promotion and encouragement of wide-ranging dialogues. This meeting will be an opportunity to exchange ideas among peers, and identify ways to better understand the reality that we are currently experiencing.

Kyl Center releases new story map about Arizona's watersheds

April 27, 2021

Water both nurtures and erodes our land. Changes in the land affect our water quality and supply.

Any story about watersheds is a story about both water and land. This story map connects our water supply to the landscapes we depend on, both natural and built environments. It drills down into the complex relationships between land and water by examining forest health, wildfires, climate change, and our state's amazing biodiversity.

Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute, the University of Arizona's Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), and the National Forest Foundation developed this story map on watershed function and health so that teachers and students, interested community members, and water users can better understand Arizona's forest-water connection.

New book: Resilient Urban Futures

April 27, 2021

A new open access book, Resilient Urban Futures, addresses the way in which urban and urbanizing regions profoundly impact and are impacted by climate change. Editors include Urban Resilience to Extremes SRN members Zoé Hamstead, sustainability fellow David Iwaniac, Timon McPhearson, Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Elizabeth Cook and School of Sustainability adjunct faculty member Tischa Munoz-Erickson.

The editors and authors show why cities must wage simultaneous battles to curb global climate change trends while adapting and transforming to address local climate impacts. This book addresses how cities develop anticipatory and long-range planning capacities for more resilient futures, earnest collaboration across disciplines, and radical reconfigurations of the power regimes that have institutionalized the disenfranchisement of minority groups.

Although planning processes consider visions for the future, the editors highlight a more ambitious long-term positive visioning approach that accounts for unpredictability, system dynamics and equity in decision-making.

This volume brings the science of urban transformation together with practices of professionals who govern and manage our social, ecological and technological systems to design processes by which cities may achieve resilient urban futures in the face of climate change.

TSC Summit 2021 goes virtual: The future of resilient supply chains

April 27, 2021

TSC Summit 2021 gathers TSC members, partners and invited guests to bring big ideas, on-the-ground solutions and deep dives into transparency to tackle the path towards more sustainable consumer products. Through a mix of global content covering major issues in supply chains and scalable system changes, TSC tackles what it means to be resilient, together, in the face of worsening climate change and increasing pressure from consumers on brands and retailers.

This event is free to anyone from ASU: select "Arizona State University" from the Company Name drop-down. View the schedule and register.

Attendance for every day except Tuesday, May 11th will be restricted to TSC members and invited guests only. Because this event is virtual, there is no limit on TSC member registrations. All TSC members attend for free. TSC Summit will be presented virtually on the Pathable platform.

Greg Asner, Haunani Kane discuss coral reefs, indigenous knowledges and role of youth for Earth Day Celebration

April 24, 2021

ASU Global Futures Laboratory celebrates the 52nd Earth DayTwo of the planet's leading ocean biologists, Greg Asner and Haunani Kane from the Global Futures Laboratory's Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, joined ASU vice president and vice provost for Global Futures, Peter Schlosser, for an extensive conversation as part of a celebration of the 52nd annual Earth Day. In addition to providing a glimpse into one of the center's newest tools, the Allen Coral Atlas, Asner and Kane spoke extensively about the importance of indigenous perspectives and knowledge in understanding the greater biodynamics of our oceans' biomes such as coral reefs.

"I think a lot of my experiences on the canoe (as navigator with the Polynesian Voyaging Society) allowed me to develop a relationship with my work as a scientist," said Kane, who joined ASU as an assistant professor and researcher this year. "Coming upon an island and seeing the island first by the color of the clouds, the reflection of the lagoon and then the tips of the coconut trees, and then spending time with the people there, it really helped me to shape my understanding of how islands and reef island systems are impacted by changes in climate."

Watch the entire conversation.

ASU recognized as nation's most impactful for second straight year

April 24, 2021

ASU is #1 in teh US for global impact.With sustainability long held as a core value across the entire university and home to the nation's first comprehensive Global Futures Laboratory, ASU was again ranked by Time Higher Education as the top US institution when it comes impacts made addressing 17 specific goals aimed at achieving a better world for 2030, known as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ASU also retained a top-ten international ranking, tied at #9 with last year's top ranked-institution globally, University of Auckland in New Zealand.

ASU scored a total of 95.8 points out of 100, with highest scores pertaining to goals for Sustainable Cities and Communities (93.4, second overall globally); Responsible Consumption and Production (89.7, fourth); Eradicating Poverty (87.1, third); Clean Sanitation and Water (82.3, fifth); Climate Action (81.8, fourth); and Life Below Water (89.5, seventh). Each SDG includes a set of targets and indicators designed by the United Nations and adopted in 2015 to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

Learn more

Deep-sea exploration breakthrough to guide future space exploration missions

April 13, 2021

Scientists from Arizona State University, who are a part of the Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog (SUBSEA) program, have pioneered a new approach to the scientific process of geochemical exploration for our Earth and beyond.

Sustainability scientist Everett Shock of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and former ASU postdoctoral scholar Vincent Milesi worked with teams onboard the Ocean Exploration Trust’s (OET) Exploration Vessel Nautilus to use deep-sea exploration on Earth as an analog for hydrothermal systems on other ocean worlds.

In so doing, they designed and tested a new concept of operations that could help change the paradigm of planetary exploration. Their new approach is detailed in a recent article, Forward geochemical modeling as a guiding tool during exploration of Sea Cliff hydrothermal field, Gorda Ridge, published in the journal Planetary and Space Science. The abstract follows. Read the full story on ASU News.

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How 'food security' is quickly becoming national security

April 13, 2021

On March 15, Daniel Sarewitz, Arizona State University professor and Issues in Science and Technology editor-in-chief, moderated the webinar “What Does ‘Food Security’ Really Mean?” to discuss the weaknesses in our food supply systems and the future threats the country faces as we work to strengthen those systems.

The fight against food insecurity has grown in importance over the past decade, as a growing number of underserved communities are living in food deserts — areas that have limited access to food that is both affordable and nutritious. Although the work being done to tackle food insecurity typically happens on a local level, food insecurity is a rising concern for the United States on a global scale. Read the full story on ASU News.

Maynard hosts podcast with former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman

April 13, 2021

The ASU Interplanetary Initiative has announced their partnership with Slate on a new podcast — Mission: Interplanetary hosted by former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and sustainability scholar Andrew Maynard.

Each episode features the hosts engaging with experts about the big questions, challenges and mysteries humans face as we venture out to explore the solar system and beyond. You can find it on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Dehgan speaks at FIU State of the World conference

April 13, 2021

Sustainability professor Alex Dehgan, who is CEO and co-founder of Conservation X Labs, was a panelist at the five-day State of the World 2021 conference hosted by Florida International University and ASU's McCain Institute for International Leadership. The topic of the panel was the Paris Climate Agreement and what happens now that the U.S. has rejoined.

While rejoining the Paris climate agreement was an important and necessary step to reducing climate change’s effects in the United States, it was the first step on a long road toward ensuring a sustainable future.

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April 20: Podcasts for engaging with non-academic audiences

April 12, 2021

Podcasts are an effective, engaging way to engage audiences on timely scientific issues. Join two ASU Sustainability Scientists on April 20 at noon AZ time for a robust discussion on their popular podcasts aimed at increasing public engagement on science topics. Register here.

Among other roles at ASU, Athena Aktipis directs the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative. She studies cooperation across systems from human sharing to cancer. She produces the livestream Channel Zed, chairs the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting, hosts the science podcast Zombified, and authored the book, The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer.

Andrew Maynard is a scientist, author, and internationally recognized expert and thought leader in emerging technologies and their responsible and ethical development and use. Maynard hosts the new podcast, Mission: Interplanetary for Slate and authored Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow, which explores our collective relationship with the future and our responsibility to it.

April 22: Ayanna Thompson, author of new book, Blackface

March 30, 2021

Join us at this special Changing Hands Bookstore event with Ayanna Thompson, Regents Professor of English and director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at ASU. The event will be moderated by Steven Beschloss, an award-winning writer, editor, journalist, filmmaker, and the Senior Director of Narrative Development within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory.

Why are there so many examples of public figures, entertainers, and normal, everyday people in blackface? This important book explains what blackface is, why it occurred, and its 21st-century legacies. Blackface examines that history and provides hope for a future with new performance paradigms.

A limited number of free tickets are available for this Earth Day event. You can support the independently owned Changing Hands Bookstore by purchasing the book when you register. You will receive the Zoom link by email within 24 hours of the event. Registration and more information.

Virtual 2-day workshop on public interest technology draws attendees from five continents

March 29, 2021

ASU’s College of Global Futures has completed a unique two-day virtual workshop for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on March 24-25 on Public Interest Technology (PIT) in international development. The live workshop, which drew attendees from numerous time zones around the world, explored synergies in the application of technology to the advancement of human wellbeing.

Professors Mary Jane Parmentier and Faheem Hussain served as co-hosts for the event, which featured presentations from scholars and researchers from Africa, Europe, Australia and the United States. Breakout presentation topics demonstrated the diversity of ideas in the field —from bridging the digital gender divide, to increasing agricultural yields through the use of sensor technology, to a lack of data regarding human trafficking.

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ASU contributes to Global Alliance for Equity in Leadership report

March 26, 2021

While gender equality is improving in higher education institutions, professions and industry, globally women are still in the minority amongst CEOs, board and executive members of major companies, professors and political leaders.

A new report from the Global Alliance for Equity in Leadership (GAEL), What Will It Take: Equality In Leadership By 2030 outlines 10 action plans that articulate the practical actions Government, Universities and Industry must take to close the leadership gender gap.

GAEL exists to deliver programs, research and advocacy, to transform the pathways to leadership for all genders, to ensure the profile of executive leadership across 10 major sectors is inclusive and sustainable, to see the leadership gender gap close by 2030.

Working group members included sustainability scientists Wanda Dalla Costa, Ira Bennett, Dave White and Rimjhim Aggarwal, among many other contributors from ASU and beyond. The report is a product of the PLuS Alliance, of which ASU is a member.

Deadline extended: Global Futures Research Accelerator

March 25, 2021

The global challenges facing society require novel approaches to use-inspired science with local-to-global impact. The Global Futures Research Accelerator empowers the Scientists and Scholars network to develop an ASU research enterprise strategy to increase competitiveness, funding success, partnerships and societal impact.

The Research Enterprise Strategy is a nuanced and novel approach to a complex and dynamic system. This program was created within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and Knowledge Enterprise Research Operations to help participants develop a proactive, capacity-building enterprise research strategy that aligns research priorities with resources informed by intellectual and organizational context. Participants will create a blueprint for a diverse research portfolio that includes plans for funding, partnership, and an ambitious yet realistic approach to scaling-up. Read the flyer to learn more.

Applications are open now and must be submitted by May 17. Early to mid-career faculty with a research focus are encouraged to apply. Classes are planned to run bi-weekly on Fridays, September 3, 2021 through April 29, 2022.

April 7: Solve Climate by 2030 event

March 24, 2021

Solve Climate by 2030 is a nationwide effort to spark Earth Month conversations on the challenge of rapid decarbonization across the country. Join us for a discussion on the ambitious, yet feasible actions that will spur a just, green recovery in Arizona.

ASU is one of 100 universities participating in Bard College's Solve Climate by 2030, taking place on April 7th. We will have a webinar that we will record and that Bard will share nationally and globally. It is a locally controlled, globally coordinated event. The focus of the webinar is on JUSTICE and on Big Ideas, Big Actions (for your region, for your state). Each of the three speakers will address 1 big action and 1 big idea that will lead us to "Solve Climate by 2030."

Registration and more information about ASU's event.

Cities of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures

March 23, 2021

A new book of science fiction, art, and essays from the Center for Science and the Imagination and Center for Energy & Society at Arizona State University explores how solar energy will transform the future of cities and the people who inhabit them. Created in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Cities of Light features stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, S. B. Divya, Deji Olukotun, and Andrew Dana Hudson. Get the book for free.

A webinar inspired by the book will be held Friday, April 2. More information and registration.

Read an essay by sustainability scientist Clark Miller and others; the piece is a slightly modified version of the book's final chapter. The Power of Customized and Inclusive Energy Futures.