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US Department of Education to host listening sessions on climate adaptation

August 2, 2021

On January 27, 2021, the Biden Administration issued Executive Order (E.O.) 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.The order revitalizes past Federal efforts to enhance adaptation and bolster resilience by requiring each Federal agency to devise a Climate Adaptation Plan. The plans are a first step in leveraging Federal agencies to demonstrate climate leadership through both policy and example.

Given the opportunity presented by the creation of these Climate Adaptation Plans, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will host virtual “Listening Sessions” with the public. The aim of these sessions will be to support an exchange of ideas around the opportunities for Federal climate leadership within ED. These sessions will inform the agency’s Climate Adaptation Plan and subsequent implementation and explore the connections between climate, the safe reopening of schools, and ongoing efforts to advance educational equity.

The Listening Sessions will be hosted by ED via Microsoft Teams meeting. Visit the website to learn more. Topics and dates are as follows:

  1. Equity in Sustainable Schools: Targeting Underserved Populations for Federal Support, Aug. 3, 2 p.m. ET
  2. School Infrastructure and Federal Programs, Aug. 5, 2 p.m. ET
  3. Career Opportunities in the Green and Blue Economy, Aug. 18, 2 p.m. ET
  4. Incentivizing Outdoor and Environmental Education, Aug. 23, 2 p.m. ET
  5. Postsecondary Sustainability, Aug. 30, 2 p.m. ET

Global Futures faculty join international team to examine how extreme events can be future indicators

July 30, 2021

Arizona wildfire caused by lightningTwo ASU faculty affiliated with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Michael Barton and Sander van der Leeuw, joined an international panel of 31 natural and social scientists to write a newly published article in Nature Geoscience that investigates abrupt shifts in the Earth's past and how they can be used to predict the future.

The article, Past abrupt changes, tipping points and cascading impacts in the Earth system, was published today an made available with open access by Nature Geoscience.

"We are increasingly concerned about the potential for abrupt changes resulting from human impacts in coming decades," said Barton, director of education and professor at the School of Complex Adaptive Systems. "Equally important, however, are societal dynamics that can make seemingly resilient human systems vulnerable to abrupt economic or political change--or even collapse--from otherwise manageable environmental fluctuations. Study of past socio-environmental tipping points can give us important insights needed to plan for future ones."

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Sept. 29: Free ASU project management summit open to faculty

July 27, 2021

The 2021 ASU Project Management Summit is a FREE half-day virtual event for project managers and those interested in project management to meet and share project management knowledge. Participants will learn how to Level Up! their skills, career, and projects, and will have the opportunity to learn about project management tools and resources.

This event is for practitioners, faculty, staff, and students of all levels, whether they are new to project management or seasoned professionals and features distinguished speakers on topics focusing on four tracks: Military Veterans in Project Management, New to Project Management, Advanced Project Management, and Organizational Tools and Resources. You can also learn about PM course and degree programs at ASU, which are now available to view prior to the event and listed on the event agenda.

Those holding PMI certifications, such as the PMP®, can earn 15+ PDUs for participating, as sessions will be recorded, and also available on demand after the Summit.

Learn more and register.

Silova, Jenik to present climate action project at COP26

July 27, 2021

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on the climate crisis for nearly three decades, and we still face major challenges. A group of Arizona State University educators are reaching out to youth for solutions.

“Scientists have warned us that the planet’s systems are dangerously close to irreversible tipping points. Children and youth are well aware that we live in environmentally precarious times and that they face an uncertain future,” said sustainability scholar Iveta Silova, professor and director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Yet, schools and universities continue to reproduce the hierarchical ‘man over nature’ relationships in an ongoing pursuit of economic growth.”

She believes this requires a complete paradigm shift and that our very future survival depends on our capacity to make this shift.

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Beschloss accepts new triple-appointment

July 27, 2021

Sustainability scholar Steven Beschloss is taking on a new role within the university as a professor of practice with triple-appointments in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Global Futures.

Beschloss is eager to transition into his position as a professor of practice, where he will have the opportunity to teach about narrative storytelling while continuing his work of leading the Narrative Storytelling Initiative across the university.

“I think ASU is still at an early stage in positively disrupting higher education and fulfilling its potential to influence society and build a more just world. I’m excited to be a part of it,” Beschloss said. “This triple appointment represents my strong belief in transdisciplinary thinking and collaboration that pulls together faculty and students who are motivated to ask significant questions — including about the state of our planet, our democracy and the roles we can play in driving societal and global change.”

Read the full article in ASU News.

Sigma Xi seeks civic science fellow

July 27, 2021

Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society, seeks a Civic Science Fellow for Science Policy and Engagement.

The Fellow will work with the Sigma Xi leadership team to develop a platform that provides empirical evidence, guidance, and resources to help scientists gain a better understanding of the policy process and successfully engage in policymaking.

The successful candidate must have earned a master’s or higher degree in a STEM or policy field. Please share with your contacts as appropriate. Apply by July 30.

PLuS Alliance releases 2021 snapshot report

July 27, 2021

Many contributors across the PLuS Alliance partner universities - executives, advisers, researchers, academics, educators, students and professional staff - bring expertise, passion and a collaborative spirit to help make PLuS Alliance a success. Released in June 2021, the 2021 Snapshot Report contains examples of their accomplishments.

Transforming Women’s Leadership Pathways selected as case study for SDSN conference

July 27, 2021

Transforming Women’s Leadership Pathways, an initiative of the PLuS Alliance, has been selected as a case study for the SDSN’s Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities to be showcased in the upcoming SDSN International Conference on Sustainable Development, set for Sept. 20-21. The case study is a joint submission between ASU, UNSW and King’s College.

The pioneering Transforming Women’s Leadership Pathways digital event in October 2020 brought together opinion shaping stakeholders to examine the evidence on the critical factors that limit women’s pathways to senior leadership in their fields, and to develop 10 action plans that articulate the practical actions Government, Universities and Industry must take to close the leadership gender gap. Sustainability scientists Erin Carr-Jordan and Miki Kittelson lead the higher education working group, while sustainability scientist Diana Bowman co-led the Politics and Policy group.

View and download the action plans: What will it take: gender equality in leadership by 2030.

Call for proposals: Scholarly borderlands

July 27, 2021

The spaces between fields—or the “borderlands” between disciplines—represent unique opportunities for social inquiry. Scholarly Borderlands, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), invites proposals for interdisciplinary working groups that ask novel questions, develop new frameworks, rethink methodological approaches, and find innovative answers. Scholarly Borderlands incubates high-risk, high-rewards research efforts.

This New Interdisciplinary Projects in the Social Sciences RFP is open exclusively to faculty of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences (CUF) member institutions. Proposed projects must be led by a principal investigator (PI) from a CUF institution in collaboration with one or two additional co-PIs. Working group leadership should represent at least two different disciplines, and preference will be given to teams with leadership from different institutions. The deadline for applications is Monday, September 13, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. eastern time.

Read more and learn how to apply on the SSRC website.

Heat and humidity will be a major factor for Olympic athletes

July 26, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics, starting July 23, will be remembered for three things: a complete lack of spectators, being postponed a year because of a pandemic and searing heat.

Sustainability scientist Jennifer Vanos, an Arizona State University biometeorologist in the School of Sustainability, has been studying the latter for more than two years, publishing a suite of papers on subjects including planning for spectator thermal comfort, a climatological analysis and the need to integrate heat management among athletes, climatologists, events operators, public health officials and emergency medical technicians.

Part of Vanos' research focused on big-picture climatological understanding of Tokyo. The other part honed in on urban differences. "Average temperatures will differ depending on where in the city you are, and the humidity can differ to get them to be higher on the coast than if you're inland a little bit or in the city where there's a little bit less sources of moisture from the ocean,” Vanos said.

Read more about Vanos' work in ASU News.

New paper on resilience of urban economic structures

July 26, 2021

Cities that undergo constant but measured change are better positioned to weather the impacts of economic shocks. That’s according to a new paper, Resilience of Urban Economic Structures Following the Great Recession, out earlier this year in the journal Sustainability. Sustainability scientist Shade Shutters is lead author.

In a recent post, John Plodinec summarizes the article; it’s an interesting perspective. Plodinec is the former associate director for resilience technologies at the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI), established in 2007 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with the support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Drawing on a parable, Plodinec compares Shutters to a wise forester, looking not at what makes trees fall, but what makes them stand.

You can read Plodinec’s piece here. The paper’s full abstract follows.

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Please complete this survey on forthcoming IPCC report

July 26, 2021

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its report from Working Group I on August 9. The topic is the physical science basis of climate change, and the approved chapter outline is detailed here.

Please take a moment to tell us how your work ties to the IPCC report in this four-question survey. Results will be used to understand ASU’s intellectual inventory on this topic, and may offer you the opportunity to engage with media and inform policy. Please feel free to forward the survey to ASU colleagues as appropriate.

Complete the Google survey here.

ASU’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative partners with United Nations Environment Programme on 2022 Global Report of Sustainable Public Procurement

July 15, 2021

The United Nations Environment Programme has partnered with Arizona State University's Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative (SPRI) and a team of researchers around the world to produce its 2022 Global Review of Sustainable Public Procurement. Building on the findings of the UN's first edition of the Global Review published in 2013 and the second edition published in 2017, this report will examine the state of sustainable public procurement (SPP) policies and practices globally.

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July 15 Info Session: Global Futures Research Accelerator

July 13, 2021

Application deadline extended for the Global Futures Research Accelerator, a program developed to empower the Scientists and Scholars network to develop an ASU research enterprise strategy to increase competitiveness, funding success, partnerships and societal impact. 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.

The Research Development Office is offering a virtual info session this Thursday, July 15, from 2-3 p.m. Arizona time. Learn more about the Fall 2021- 2022 Research Accelerator hybrid classes, meet the instructors and hear from a few of your peers from the first cohort.

Access the Zoom session or link to our application and flyer through InfoReady.

New Book: Fat in Four Cultures

July 13, 2021

Sustainability scientists Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich are co-authors (with Cindi SturtzSreetharan, Jessica Hardin and Sarah Trainer) of a new book, Fat in Four Cultures: A Global Ethnography of Weight.

The book looks at how people across four different cultures — Japan, the United States, Paraguay and Samoa — experience being fat. It examines how our bodies impact the way we talk, interact and fit into our social networks, communities and broader society.

What surprised all five scientists is that the thin ideal has sunk in across the world. Public health messaging in all four countries urges people to watch what they eat, control diabetes and keep a handle on their weight.

And people across the world all say the same things in response: I don’t have time to work out. The food near my office is unhealthy but it’s convenient. I know I should eat better, but healthy food costs too much. Yes, I know traditional food is bad for you, but it’s so delicious.

In all four countries, it became clear that if you want that body that society tells you is ideal, it’s going to be expensive and it’s going to take time. Read more in ASU News.

Connecting the dots: Redlining and heat resilience in Phoenix

July 13, 2021

With Arizona experiencing its hottest summer on record last year, identifying heat-mitigation strategies and solutions is already a complex issue, and the lasting effects of racially based redlining implemented throughout the 20th century only add to its complexity.

Redlining was the practice of denying loans to people of color and low-income individuals based on the financial risk of the area where they chose to live. Essentially, this process aided in the active separation of races during segregation.

On the Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America website, a map of Phoenix shows how the city’s neighborhoods were categorized by lenders in 1940.

Patricia Solis, executive director of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience (KER) at Arizona State University, and her team began by mapping and formulating a rich dataset. By linking heat-associated deaths, state programs, cooling centers, utility bills and more, Solis discovered that people who live in mobile homes were disproportionately affected by extreme heat.

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Nationwide survey reveals changes to habits and travel in the US

July 13, 2021

As normalcy begins to come back into our lives, what habits that we adopted during the pandemic are we most likely to continue? In a new article released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Arizona State University highlight their findings from a nationwide survey documenting potential behavioral changes Americans see themselves making.

Most notably, many Americans see themselves continuing to have telecommute, or work from home, options. In our pre-pandemic world, only 13% of survey respondents participated in telecommute work. But as this method of work became more normalized, 26% of respondents noted that they will be likely to continue telecommuting at least a few days every week.

“This is a large shift, and it comes with a number of cascading effects, including changes to rush-hour traffic patterns, changing demand for downtown services and changes in where people want to live and what they are looking for in a home and a neighborhood,” said sustainability scientist Deborah Salon, associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU and lead author of the article. Co-authors included sustainability scientists Sara Khoeini, Nathan Parker and Ram Pendyala, among others. Read the story in ASU News.

The article's abstract follows.

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ASU supports training sail in advance of Pacific circumnavigation

July 13, 2021

For blue-water sailors, the French Frigate Shoals is often thought of as a place with significant wildlife and deep cultural meaning. The Polynesian Voyaging Society hopes to train sailors in this spot in the Pacific Ocean. It’s all in preparation for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific Ocean in which ASU will play an important partner role.

“The Pacific Ocean voyage will serve as a point of coalescence for researchers and educators at ASU — and elsewhere — to imagine and create a future that helps make the planet more habitable and allows for new relations among peoples for shared purpose,” said Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, the university’s vice president of social advancement, President’s Professor, director of the Center for Indian Education, and ASU’s senior adviser to the president on American Indian Affairs.

“Our role is to support, amplify and enhance PVS’ message,” Brayboy said. “That message is: We all share one home — planet Earth." ASU will work with PVS to create a 'Third Canoe,' a virtual platform that will allow educators and students across the globe to virtually participate and learn.

Read more in this ASU News article.

Sustainability scientists among NSF CAREER award recipients

July 12, 2021

The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program identifies the nation’s most promising young faculty members and provides them with funding to pursue outstanding research, excellence in teaching and the integration of education and research. Often, these awards spur the creativity of the faculty member and helps set them on an innovative career path.

Four sustainability scientists are among ASU's most recent 16 CAREER award recipients. Margaret Garcia, Giulia Pedrielli, Jorge Sefair and Jennifer Vanos are featured in a recent article in ASU News. Read more about their work.