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Sustainability News

Two short films explore sustainable food and water harvesting

May 22, 2020

Two new short films Holding on to the Corn and Plant the Rain, produced by students in the School of Sustainability and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in a class taught by Peter Byck, highlight the benefits of a local regenerative food system.

Holding on to the Corn

Holding on to the Corn explores how Hopi spiritual beliefs, ceremonies and agricultural practices centered on corn are being re-established by tribe members. The original intent of the film’s proponents was to create sustainable agriculture and promote healthy access to food, only to discover that their tribal traditions and experiences provided all the knowledge they needed to succeed.

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Now emerging from a sustainable business incubator: “Together We Brew”

May 22, 2020

From his experiences in the beverage business, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Nicholas Shivka was painfully aware of how hard it is for local businesses to compete with the global giants. He knew that local business start-ups lack the financial support cities provide to multinational corporations interested in establishing a local presence. Those companies promise the addition of new jobs in exchange for tax breaks and other “attraction” incentives offered by city officials enamored with Fortune 500 companies, while local businesses receive minimal support and suffer financial disadvantages in the local economy.

Shivka saw a need to encourage and support local entrepreneurs in their quest to build sustainable businesses by creating a sustainable business incubator program. Using the co-op ownership model, sustainability methods, and participatory practices, he partnered with MSUS students Hanna Layton and Huda Khalife, under the guidance of Professor Arnim Wiek from the Sustainable Food Economy Lab, to build an educational program for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in sustainable food production. To test the program, they began the incubation of “Together We Brew,” a sustainable beverage business, with a group of Phoenix entrepreneurs.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumnus David Ginn

May 8, 2020

One of the many changes David Ginn experienced as he moved from rural Pennsylvania to metropolitan Phoenix was the increase in his concern for the growing climate crisis. Motivated to do something about it, he decided to enroll in the Master of Sustainability Leadership program at Arizona State University.

“The focus on global and strategic perspectives in sustainability seemed like a great trajectory for the program, and the subject matter of the curricula for each course seemed very interesting to me,” Ginn said. “I was not from a traditional sustainability background for my undergrad studies, so this seemed like the perfect bridge into the field.”

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Societal planetary boundaries: When global society endangers the future of our planet

Medium | May 8, 2020

people walking in crowdIn the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Societal Planetary Boundaries: When Global Society Endangers the Future of Our Planet," Sander van der Leeuw, Manfred Laubichler and Peter Schlosser discuss the unstable state of our global societal systems and how we can change. "We are challenged to find and establish a completely new structure for current societal dynamics, and to do so within the Environmental and Societal Planetary Boundaries," the authors write.

You can read the piece on Medium. To ensure you don’t miss any Global Futures Laboratory Medium posts, follow our Medium channel directly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn where we announce all new posts.

Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Laura Friedman

May 6, 2020

Overworked and experiencing health issues, Laura Friedman knew she needed to make major life changes. So, when her son recommended she go to college, she didn’t hesitate.

“I researched online graduate school degrees and learned that Arizona State University was ranked No. 1 in the country for innovation,” Friedman said. “I found the Master of Sustainability Leadership program and I believed combining and expanding the sustainability leadership themes with my technology career would enable me to make a valuable career shift.”

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumnus Joseph Aubert

May 4, 2020

Joseph Aubert was looking to make a career change when he discovered corporate sustainability. Excited by the opportunity, he applied to Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Leadership (MSL) program.

“My impression of the MSL was that it flipped that paradigm, and was much more 'macro' in scale, focusing on the big picture instead of the day-to-day management,” Aubert said. “A culture of sustainability needs to start at the top, which is where I want to be.”

This May 2020, Aubert is graduating from the program and will continue his journey to help bring about meaningful change in the world. In the following Q&A, get acquainted with Aubert and his future plans.

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Meet Executive Master of Sustainable Leadership alumnus Dan Colton

May 4, 2020

Although he had been taught to live sustainably before he even knew the meaning of the word, Dan Colton’s interest in sustainability wasn’t sparked until he got to — of all places — law school.

“I was in law school taking classes such as Environmental Law, Water Law, and a newly formed class called Sustainability," Colton said. "I realized then that there are some incredibly powerful tools in our society that can help us responsibly use the world's resources in a way that protects them and makes them available for future generations. From that point on, I was always looking for ways to tie my profession back in to my interest in sustainability.”

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ASU faculty and staff work to increase Latino representation

April 28, 2020

Alycia de Mesa is elated.

An instructor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, she and her colleague Maria Coca Ascencio, a graduate of the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program, have recently been voted on to the executive board of the ASU Chicano/Latino Faculty & Staff Association (CLFSA) for leadership positions. De Mesa is serving as president-elect and Coca Ascencio is secretary of the association.

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Meet sustainability alumna Taylor Reimann

April 28, 2020

Inspired by her love for nature but dismayed by its degradation, Taylor Reimann was determined to pursue sustainability from an early age.

“Growing up, my family continued to frequent our favorite Arizona gems, but over time things began to look different,” Reimann said. “These things were hard for me to see, and as I got older I realized that it wasn’t just my home that was suffering, this was happening in a lot of people’s  backyards. When it came time to decide on a career path, there was nothing I felt stronger about than sustainability.”

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School of Sustainability alumna provides tips on reducing food waste

Phoenix New Times | April 23, 2020

As we try to tackle the wicked problem of climate change, one of the biggest and most important hurdles is the transformation of our food systems. While that may sound like a daunting task, the good news is there are little changes we can make each day to bring us closer to that transformation. One of these changes is reducing food waste, a concept that has found a passionate advocate in sustainable restauranteur Danielle Leoni.

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ASU ranked top in US, 5th in world pursuit of UN sustainability goals

ASU Now | April 22, 2020

Arizona State University ranks top in the U.S. and fifth in the world out of 766 institutions in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global ranking is a jump from last year’s 35th place.

In the annual rankings published by Times Higher Education magazine, ASU scored 96.3 out of 100 points. It was the top American university in the rankings. Only three American universities placed in the top 100. ASU beat the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Penn State.

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Exploring sustainability literacy through nature journaling in school gardens

April 20, 2020

Dedicated to fostering sustainable change through education, School of Sustainability master's student Julia Colbert helped implement nature journaling in local elementary school classrooms.

“Education has always been a significant part of my life. No matter where I go, what I do, and who I spend time with, I find myself gravitating towards education spaces,” Colbert said. Read more from Colbert in her Q&A.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Solutions alumnus Garr Punnett

April 14, 2020

Garr Punnett had been working in television production when he realized he wanted something more. Inspired by the environmentally conscious fashion brands he had recently discovered, he decided to obtain a degree in sustainability.

"A sustainability degree has provided me a different lens through which to view the world," said Punnett, who graduated with a Master of Sustainability Solutions. "I believe there is a lack of social and environmental empathy when constructing business models and my degree allow me to act with a better degree of certainty what I believe our future economy should look like."

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USA Triathlon: A race toward sustainability

April 7, 2020

Led by his passion about sustainable change in the sports industry, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Brian Boyle decided to create a sustainable event guidebook for USA Triathlon events. The project focuses on providing resources, capacities, and strategies to manage and mitigate the overall sustainability footprint of USA Triathlon (USAT) events with an emphasis on outcomes and behaviors that adhere to sustainability principles.

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Sun Devils Together: An empathetic approach to ASU student homelessness

March 31, 2020

This article was co-written by William Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability and Paul Prosser, Project Partner Liaison at the School of Sustainability. 

All students in Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) program are required to design and execute a culminating experience project, with the goal being to partner with a community to confront a current sustainability issue. For their project, students Maryam Abdul Rashid, Skyliana Dosier, and Omar Sanchez are creating awareness about student homelessness, breaking down the corresponding stigmas, and improving access to services for homeless students in partnership with ASU’s Dean of Students office. The project explores the three fronts where homeless students experience the most insecurity: housing, health, and food.

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Meet online sustainability senior Samantha Selway

March 26, 2020

A medical condition forced Samantha "Sammy" Selway to transition to online schooling. It was while she was in the process of doing this that she found Arizona State University's sustainability degree.

"After I had decided to leave [another university] because of the Misophonia, the director of their Disability Resource Center told me about ASU’s online programs and then I found the sustainability major," Selway said. "It was perfect and looking back, having to leave in-person college seems like a blessing in disguise."

Selway is a senior at ASU pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in sustainability with a focus in energy, materials and technology. Continue reading to get acquainted with Selway, her propensity to power through the obstacles of life and her research project.

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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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Meet sustainability senior Nick Johnson

March 17, 2020

Inspired by sustainability, public transit and urban spaces, School of Sustainability senior Nick Johnson took on a year-long internship with Valley Metro.

“As I continued my studies it became clear that these urban spaces are also capable of manifesting strong and environmentally responsible communities. From then on I knew that I am most passionate about working towards creating more sustainable cities that have robust transit networks, walkable spaces, and human-oriented design."

The passion he felt has manifested in projects, student leadership and fostering a culture of sustainability, right here in the valley. Read more about Nick Johnson in his Q&A.

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