Tag Archives: Global Institute of Sustainability

Website helps users make more sustainable decisions

The number of opportunities to make “clean, green and well” decisions continues to grow rapidly. In the last decade alone, more than 460 “eco-labeling” schemes have emerged, providing a vast amount of information on consumer products and services. But paying attention to detail reveals a web of complex, sometimes conflicting information that can be hard to decipher and even harder to put to everyday use.

Enter Andrew Krause, a recent graduate of ASU’s School of Sustainability (SoS) master’s program who has been working on simplifying, as well as customizing the concept of sustainability to suit everyone’s needs. Krause, along with his mentor and senior scientist at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability George Basile and two former classmates, has launched the action-oriented online social platform eEcosphere.

Krause, a native of Sonoma, Calif., joined SoS because its unique approach integrates the new field of sustainability science with behavior change – two vital elements when it comes to budging the needle on sustainability and key principles that ultimately inspired the creation of eEcosphere.

He says the social web platform is underpinned by years of scientific research, conducted by Basile and other scientists, which focuses on sustainability planning and tools that help individuals and businesses take action across the globe. He hopes the website will help people adopt a more eco-conscious lifestyle by making it fun, easy and effective.

“Everyday, the person makes a variety of decisions, driven by default, often outdated habits,” Krause says. “Take, for example, the way we choose to do laundry. There are a number of emerging opportunities to be smarter – like using less water and a non-toxic detergent during the process – but changing habits may be hard.”

According to Krause, who has led various sustainability-related ventures in the past, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to making the world a better place.

“A person may already be saving energy but might need help with water conservation; someone else might need help with both,” Krause elaborates. “eEcosphere helps people identify and adopt ideas that match their personal sustainability goals. It embeds a scientific approach in the decision-making process and encourages people to take action as a group using the social web.”

In 2011, ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative awarded Krause and his team $18,000 to develop the eEcosphere venture. The award enabled the start-up to incorporate as a legal business and reach key fundraising milestones. Krause assumed the leadership role and spent early days hiring software developers and copywriters, and networking with sustainability experts.

“The Edson grant helped our vision come to life faster,” Krause says. “We’ve built eEcosphere multiple times to make it more compelling to individuals and clients who’ll ultimately use our product.”

Krause and Basile are now putting the online platform through the ultimate user test: the ASU community. eEcosphere is playing a key role in ASU’s various sustainability campaigns, including the Zero-Waste Initiative. A preview of the website has been unveiled this week in hopes of collaborating with nearly 82,000 members of the Sun Devil family to help the university meet its goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2015.

“Modifying waste management habits at such a huge scale requires collective action on the part of students, faculty and staff,” says Krause. “eEcosphere will engage with the university community, collect and analyze detailed insight regarding user preferences, and provide new updates and incentives to help people stay motivated and informed.”

Krause says ASU is the perfect live laboratory for eEcosphere.

“This institution is leading sustainability efforts internationally,” Krause explains. “If we can facilitate good ideas at ASU, we can help other large-scale enterprises do the same with their customers as well.”

Basile adds to that thought.

“The ASU platform has been vital to the evolution of eEcosphere,” Basile says. “The institution has helped us incubate forward-thinking ideas, and permitted us to take risks and embark on adventures.”

Krause credits Basile, an internationally recognized sustainability veteran himself, for much of his drive and success as a student entrepreneur. Basile, in return, has nothing but high praise for his pupil.

“At 26, Andrew has already proven his ability to help innovative new ventures get off the ground,” Basile says with pride in his voice. “He has also passed along business finance, internship and job opportunities to fellow students. I’ve waited for a generation of students who’d align themselves with the concept of sustainability and find ways to take action. Andrew represents that generation. He is an informed, driven millenial.”

Krause says the time has come for a concept such as eEcosphere to be successful in the marketplace of ideas.

When asked what the future looks like to him, he asks:

“Is it cliché to say, ‘bright?’”

Join the live preview of eEcosphere by becoming an early user at www.eEcosphere.com.

Sustainable Energy in Arizona - AB Magazine November/December 2011

Boone named interim dean of School of Sustainability

Christopher Boone, professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS) and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has been named the interim dean of the School of Sustainability, effective July 1, 2013. Boone has served as the associate dean for education of the school since July 2010.

“Chris Boone is an outstanding scientist and scholar whose extensive work in urban sustainability and world poverty exemplifies the very mission of the school,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “As associate dean he has helped lead the efforts to educate a new generation of students whose passion is to find solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges of the world. With Chris as interim dean the school is well-positioned to further enhance its academic programs and help students create solutions that will reshape our quality of life.”

Boone succeeds Dean Sander van der Leeuw, who will continue to further the school’s research and academic interests. Van der Leeuw will return as a member of the board of directors for the Global Institute of Sustainability and continue to serve as co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Network, as well as chair of the Consortium for Biosocial Complex Systems. He also retains intellectual responsibility for the Global Institute of Sustainability Climate Impact and Adaptation Center.

“Chris Boone has been an important figure in the development of the School of Sustainability, the first such school in the country, and he will be an important leader of the next stage of development of this unique academic unit,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, ASU executive vice president and provost.

Boone joined ASU in January 2006 as an associate professor and gained full professorship in April 2010. His research centers on urban sustainability, environmental justice and vulnerability, urban socio-ecological systems, global environmental change, human-environmental interaction, geographic information systems (GIS) and public health.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the School of Sustainability,” Boone said. “I see this as a really important continuation of the work Professor Van der Leeuw did to strengthen the school. ASU serves as an international model for blending sustainability education and research with practice. I am confident we will continue to be a leader in sustainability.”

Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, said he is excited about working with Boone, having “enjoyed working with him previously on sustainability concepts. I consider him to be a scholar of the highest caliber and deeply committed to sustainability and sustainability education. He, Rob Melnick and I will make a great team to lead GIOS and SOS in the coming years.”

Boone is the recipient of grants from prestigious organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a member of the executive committees of SOS and GIOS.

In 2009, Boone headed a provost’s committee to develop a minor in sustainability. He also serves on the supervisory board for the Social Sciences and Health, and Global Health programs. He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Urbanization and Global Environment Change program, and the Steering Committee of the Workshop on Climate Change in U.S. Cities in Support of the National Climate Assessment.

Boone currently serves on the editorial boards of journals such as International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development and Environmental Justice. He is also the associate editor of the nature-society section of the journal Current Research on Cities and co-editor of a new book series called New Directions in Sustainability and Society.

Boone received his graduate and doctoral degrees in geography at the University of Toronto before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability is the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States with a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Established in spring 2007, the School is part of the Global Institute of Sustainability, which is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. The School of Sustainability offers undergraduate and graduate programs and minors, as well as doctoral and professional leadership programs. Visit http://www.schoolofsustainability.asu.edu.

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

Walton Investment To Accelerate Sustainability Efforts

ASU To Use $27.5 Million Walton Investment To Accelerate Sustainability Efforts

The Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation is providing $27.5 million to Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) to develop and deploy promising solutions to sustainability challenges including energy, water, environment, climate, urbanization, social transformation and decision-making in local, national and global contexts and to educate future leaders in sustainability. The investment to ASU is designated entirely for program support.

The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Fund will support four strategies over the next five years that:

  • Deliver sustainability solutions to the front line through a sustainability consulting service, training of practitioners and educating youth.
  • Seed fund the most promising, high-impact ideas in sustainability research.
  • Build an international sustainability network by implementing a global sustainability studies program and establishing sustainability solutions centers on three continents.
  • Train the next generation of sustainability scholars, government and non-governmental practitioners through a fellowship program.

“Rob and Melani Walton have been integral in helping ASU realize its sustainability vision with Rob as a board member of GIOS, facilitating the creation of the nation’s first School of Sustainability, and now, with this investment,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Their commitment will significantly advance our work to find local solutions to global problems that will help us create a sustainable way of life.”

The Waltons have long supported sustainability and conservation programs. Melani Walton is active with the Nature Conservancy of Arizona and Conservation International, in addition to other philanthropic organizations. Rob Walton is co-chair of the board of directors for sustainability at ASU and a director of Conservation International, as well as chairman of the executive committee. He also is chairman of the board of directors of Walmart.

“Our intent with our investment is to develop sustainability strategies that ensure the long-term economic viability and continuous evolution of the programs seed funded by this grant,” said Rob Walton. “We want to educate future leaders and empower current scholars so they will effectively apply knowledge to action, creating a better world for all of us.”

The Walton sustainability initiative at ASU will be led by Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability and Presidential Professor of Practice in the School of Sustainability, and Sander van der Leeuw, dean and professor, ASU’s School of Sustainability and co-director of ASU’s Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative.

“This is a major investment in civilization’s future,” emphasized R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., chief executive office of the ASU Foundation for a New American University. “Some people want to see change and then others – like Rob and Melani Walton – enable the type of change we must see to ensure a sustainable future.”

Arizona Solar Center, Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

Arizona Solar Center Hosts Solar Lecture Series

Making your home energy efficient and sustainable will help the environment and your pocketbook in the long run. But, knowing how and where to begin can be a daunting task with the different types of green technology. You may ask, what is the difference between passive solar and active solar? Should I build or remodel with earthen plaster or straw bales? How much can I save by using these sustainable adaptations in my home? To help you out, the Arizona Solar Center is hosting a solar lecture series on home improvement that is free and open to the public.

These questions will be answered during the Arizona Solar Center’s Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability on October 20 and the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours October 22 & 23.

Arizona Solar Center Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

President of the Arizona Solar Center, Dan Aiello, is excited to have Mick Dalrymple, from the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, host the Solar and Sustainability lecture on October 20. Dalrymple will discuss sustainable modifications and renovations that he implemented on his own home, such as the incorporating green building materials, equipment and lighting. Dalrymple’s goal is to attain zero energy dependency, Aiello says.

“[Dalrymple] has a bunch of examples that people can relate to because we all live in something,” Aiello says. “His presentation will be, ‘this is what I did, this is why I did this, and this worked and this didn’t work.’ [The lecture] is something people can come to and take information away on what’s appropriate for the desert, energy efficient and environmentally appropriate.”

The lecture will lead into the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours that weekend. The tour’s downloadable guide will be available on the Arizona Solar Center website. The sites on the tour will include:

  • An artist’s studio/residence in Mesa created from recycled materials,
  • The upper part of the loft is constructed from an old Volkswagen bus,
  • Scottsdale homes that include passive/active solar technologies,
  • Water catchment,
  • Straw bale constructions, and
  • Green architecture, as well as homes in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

“If we plan our buildings right we get enough sun [in Arizona], even in the winter, to warm our houses,” Aiello says. “We can use the sun to heat water; generate electricity or any number of things.”

[stextbox id="grey" caption="If You Go:"]

Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability – My Way – with Mick Dalrymple

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

2011 Valley of the Sun – Tour of Solar and Sustainable Buildings

Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 2011
8 a.m.

Location:
City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Facility
Granite Reef Rd., just north of the intersection of Granite Reef and McDowell roads

Free and open to the public.

[/stextbox]

Check out the Arizona Solar Center events calendar for more information on the upcoming solar lecture series and solar tour as well as other events.