Tag Archives: sander van der leeuw

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.

dean of sustainability

UN Names Sander Van Der Leeuw, Dean At ASU, A ‘Champion Of The Earth’

Sander van der Leeuw, the dean of Sustainability at Arizona State University, is among the six winners of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award. Professor van der Leeuw, an archaeologist and historian by training, was recognized in the science and innovation category for his research in human-environmental relations and the scientific study of innovation as a societal process. He is one of 51 Champion laureates who have received the UN award since it was launched in 2005.

The Champion of the Earth honor is the UN flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders for their inspiration and action on the environment. The list of previous Champion laureates includes former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Chinese actress and environmental advocate Zhou Xun, Biomimicry Institute President Janine Benyus and former Soviet leader and Noble Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev.

This year’s recipients include Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Brazilian banker Fábio C. Barbosa, renewable energy entrepreneur Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, renowned Swiss aeronaut Bertrand Piccard and Kenyan Maasai conservationist Samson Parashina.

“Each of these six winners has stood up to be counted – often in the face of opposition from those not championing change but championing the status quo,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and the executive director of the United National Environment Programme (UNEP). “In doing so, these winners have and continue to display the political will, fresh thinking and creative solutions.”

Professor van der Leeuw, a citizen of the Netherlands, first directed a series of regional archaeological research projects in Syria, Holland and France aimed at understanding the long-term evolution of the relationship between societies and their environments.

Later, his work focused on bringing a long-term perspective to the problems of present-day desertification and land degradation, observing how changes in the natural environment are linked to technological, sociological and economic changes. This involved as many as 60 researchers from 11 European countries and focused on research areas in all the Northern Mediterranean rim states. His team was the first to bring the complex adaptive systems approach to bear on the problems of the environment.

“As an environmental change and sustainability scholar, I think the foremost challenge is not so much in the science, though there are many areas where we don’t know enough and more work needs to be done, but in communicating the inevitability of having to change our mindsets and attitudes to make sustainability the core of our everyday behavior – individual and political decision-making,” van der Leeuw said.

Van der Leeuw first came to ASU as a visiting professor in 2000. At the same time, he also was a visiting professor at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. He then became an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, a position he still holds. He returned to ASU in 2004 to become the founding director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2010, he was appointed dean of the School of Sustainability in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), a strategic research area in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

“Sander is internationally recognized for his intellectual leadership for understanding how Earth’s complex systems adapt to stress and the process of innovation and how both of these factors have affected human evolution and social change,” said Rob Melnick, executive dean at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and its School of Sustainability. “Most importantly, Sander’s teaching and research has significantly helped scores of students, faculty and researchers determine what can be done to ensure a successful, sustainable future.”

The Champions of the Earth awards were presented at a ceremony on June 4 in Rio de Janeiro as one of the official events leading up to the United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20. The conference is being held 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio where countries adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection. Thousands of world leaders and representatives from governments, the private sector and NGOs are expected to attend Rio+20, to held June 20-22, and focus their discussions on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and an institutional framework for sustainable development.

For more information on Sander van der Leeuw and the ‘Champion of the Earth’ award, visit United Nations Environment Programme’s website at unep.org.