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ASU hosts AZDA Summit with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak

April 11, 2022

USDA Sec. Tom Vilsak address the AZDA Summitt at ASU“Out of crisis, it is incumbent upon us to create something better…something more resilient.” Secretary Tom Vilsak, United States Department of Agriculture

Featuring 26 speakers and over 200 Arizonans in attendance – nearly 140 in person – the Arizona Department of Agriculture and ASU Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems co-hosted the 4th annual Arizona Food Summit at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium San Tan Ford Club March 23 and 24 for two days of information sharing and discussion on how best to move forward on creating a sustainable, healthy food system for all Arizonans. You can click here to watch the recordings of the full event.

The days were packed with speakers from across the food system spectrum. The event opened with US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Secretary Vilsack emphasized the need to link food security with nutrition security and to better translate science to help people make informed choices. Vilsack further challenged Arizonans to engage, to bring young people into agriculture and food work, to support our local farmers, and attend to nutrition security.

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Hands Over: Sustainable, Community Conscious Construction

March 29, 2022

By Ella Schneider, WE Empower Intern

“Our aim is to set an alternative for our building activities that will allow us to reduce our carbon emissions, reduce our energy consumption in buildings, improve our indoor air quality and create sustainable solutions that will create a real community development approach”. - Radwa Rostom

Radwa RostomRadwa Rostom - CEO and Founder of Hand Over Projects- Egypt

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Middle East and North Africa

Modern building techniques used by most design and construction companies are not environmentally sustainable. Hand Over aims to transform the construction industry through the use of natural and renewable materials. Founded by Radwa Rostom, a multiple award winning civil engineer, Hand Over fosters sustainable development through its approach to individual projects, buildings and spaces in addition to directly providing homes for underprivileged communities.

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Women in Digital in a Male-Dominated Industry

March 29, 2022

by Danyelle Kawamura, WE Empower Intern

“We believe technology does not have any gender and we have proved that women can do the coding and technical things.” – Achia Nila, founder of Women in Digital

Achia NilaAchia Nila, founder of Women in Digital, Bangladesh

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Asia-Pacific

Over 15 years ago, Achia Nila discovered there were little to no women in the tech field. Since then, she has successfully brought women and girls into the tech field and continues to promote education and empowerment through technology. Her aim is to create digital platforms that “support, promote, and empower women in areas of IT.” In alignment with UN SDG 4: Quality Education, she has trained and empowered over 10,000 women and girls in Bangladesh and continues to work towards promoting women’s digital literacy.

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Accelerate2030: An Innovative Take on Advancing Entrepreneurship

March 29, 2022

By Danyelle Kawamura, WE Empower Intern

“We have some eight and a half years to go into 2030 and this is a journey we really can’t do alone.” – Alexandra Boëthius, Strategic Lead of Accelerate2030

Alexandra ‘Santu’ Boëthius, Strategic Lead of Accelerate2030 and Co-founder of Impact Hub Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Europe and North America

Alex Boethius

Alexandra Boëthius is the Strategic Lead of Accelerate2030, which identifies and supports innovative companies tackling the SDG’s in emerging and developing countries. Boëthius began her journey while obtaining her M.A. in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. Boëthius’ thesis focused on the role of women’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in ensuring the implementation of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Turkey. Boëthius went onto volunteer at an NGO, the National Centre Against Violence, whose goal is to combat domestic and sexual violence against women and children in Mongolia. She continued her journey as an intern for UN Women in Tbilisi, Georgia with a focus on migrant and refugee populations.

It is evident that Boëthius’ efforts throughout both her education and professional career have focused on the implementation of a wider gender lens in all her areas of interest. She has continuously promoted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and this has manifested into Accelerate2030.

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Transformative Technology - The Future of Agriculture

March 29, 2022

By Ella Schneider, WE Empower Intern

“ I am passionate and dedicated to not only advancing the world of global agriculture, but also forging a path of success for innovative female farmers and leaders in the future. - Shari von de Pol

Shari von de PolShari von de Pol - CEO of CATTLEytics Incorporated - Canada

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Europe and North America

From a career in Computer Engineering to earning her doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, Shari von de Pol began her journey in improving animals through innovative technology while also galvanizing people to envision their goals and bring new ideas to fruition in this space. CATTLEytics Incorporated uses Agricultural Technology, a system to collect and use animal data, to shape local and global farms to become more economically and ecologically sustainable. With a growing population and increase in climate change, revolutionary agriculture data utilization is of the utmost importance to not only feed the population but to decrease resource use.

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Nanas y Amas: Building prosperity through dignified domestic work

March 29, 2022

By Danyelle Kawamura, WE Empower Intern

Claudia Esparza“Our mission is to promote domestic work with dignity as a powerful tool to build prosperity.” – Claudia Esparza, Founder of Nanas y Amas

Claudia Esparza, Founder of Nanas y Amas

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Latin America and Caribbean

For over 12 years, Claudia and Nanas y Amas has provided decent work opportunities and empowered domestic workers to achieve economic independence. In alignment with UN SDG1: No Poverty and UN SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Nanas y Amas puts domestic workers in a healthier position to network, own their lives, and achieve their dreams while having access to work and the ability to economically support their families.

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Rede NAMI: Women’s Empowerment through Urban Arts

March 29, 2022

By Ella Schneider, WE Empower Intern

“Our work aims to promote structural change in society, bringing knowledge through communication so that girls and women know how to fight for their rights and guarantee full access to the best possibilities of being in the world.” - Panmela Castro

Pnamela CastroPanmela Castro - Founder and President of Rede NAMI - Brazil

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Latin America and Caribbean

Fighting for gender equality to create a society free from violence towards women, Panmela Castro and the team of NAMI Network use art for cultural transformation through promoting women’s rights. Providing over 9,000 women with access to art education and financial independence, Castro creatively spreads information and laws about women’s rights to combat domestic violence.

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Could coral habitats be rebuilt on sunken warships?

February 21, 2022

Corals naturally growing on sunken warships in the PacificFaculty and researchers from the ASU Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, teaming with partners from the University of Hawaii, recently published a paper based on their survey of 29 sunked warships around the Bikini Atoll and Chuuk Lagoon in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Until these explorations, it was unknown if the hulls of the ships would sustain the development of biodiversity habitats based on ship size and hull material, location relative to natural reef, time since sinking, ocean currents and water depth. According to this study's findings, the team identified more than 9,100 types of corals that represented around 70 percent of the corals found in the natural reefs in the area. The team determined that ship length, but not water depth, positively correlated with relative abundance and richness at the genus level, meaning that very large wrecks can serve as havens for reef-building corals with a broad genetic diversity. Read more.

Global Futures Laboratory's Diane Pataki, Enrique Vivoni elected AAAS Fellows

February 17, 2022

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected two outstanding faculty from the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory to the newest class of AAAS Fellows, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community. Additionally, Sara Brownell, who has an appointment with the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, also was elected.

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Saving the seas with lighted nets

January 28, 2022

Green LED lights used to optimize fishing net usage

Study by ASU marine biologist shows illuminated nets save species — and fishers' backs

Gill nets are massive walls of netting that hang in the water. They’re designed to allow fish to get their heads through the netting but not their body.

The nets are the most widely used fishing gear the world over. However, they catch a lot more than fish; endangered, threatened and protected species like sharks, sea turtles and marine mammals get snagged in the nets and die.

Fishermen don’t want them, so they’re tossed overboard. Accidental captures are known as “bycatch.” Bycatch is a significant contributor to declines in endangered species around the world.

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How to create a carbon-neutral Arizona

January 28, 2022

As climate risks from ongoing drought and rising urban heatSolar power farm continue to grow, Arizona will need to find innovative ways to significantly reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Many of the state’s electric utilities, industries and cities are planning actions to nearly eliminate their own emissions by 2050. But reaching carbon neutrality for all of Arizona’s economy will require greater effort.

In a new research collaboration, Arizona State University and Salt River Project have developed important insights into the significant decisions that lie ahead in determining how to cut CO2 emissions throughout the state.

During the past 1.5 years, an ASU research team with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory examined the future of Arizona’s economy and energy systems. The team assembled several working groups with representatives from academia, industry, utilities, governments and non-profit organizations. Through participatory workshops, interviews and data collection, the researchers analyzed key findings and integrated them with relevant studies on low-carbon technologies and decarbonization options in the United States.

Four potential pathways to decarbonization emerged, with important implications for the state of Arizona.

Read more on ASU News 

Klaus Lackner joins Newsweek's America's Greatest Disruptors Hall of Fame

December 20, 2021

Klaus lackner in the CNCE labKlaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and a pioneer in the carbon capture research space, has been named to Newsweek's Hall of Fame for America's Greatest Distruptors. In a special edition published Dec. 15, Lackner was one of five initial innovators tapped to receive this honor, each recognized by the publication as "Visionaries whose career-long actions have had far-reaching impact."

Lackner, who in also is a professor with the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, was the first person to suggest the artificial capture of carbon dioxide from air in the context of carbon management. His work in this space has led to a partnership between ASU, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and the private corporation Carbon Collect to manufacture and deploy the Mechanical Tree, a passive energy carbon collection system. The first Mechanical Tree will be installed for testing at ASU's Tempe campus in early 2022. The research by Lackner and his team has also been recognized by Discover Magazine Discover as one of seven ideas that could change the world.

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Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences joins ASU's Global Futures Lab

October 26, 2021

Partnership will help researchers better understand ocean health; ASU now has two research centers devoted to monitoring Atlantic, Pacific

In a major development in the bid to deepen the understanding of the role that the ocean plays in climate science, Arizona State University President Michael Crow announced today that ASU, a leading research university, has established a partnership with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), one of the longest-serving research institutes dedicated to studying ocean processes in the Western Hemisphere.

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ASU receives $6.36M grant to launch Pacific Island research center

September 30, 2021

Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the center will support research into how Pacific Island communities can build resilience to extreme climate events

Fallen trees and a blue house sinking into floodwater.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced a five-year, $6.36 million research grant that will launch the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) program as a research center at ASU within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. This partnership with ASU is the next step in an ongoing effort of the Pacific RISA initiative to support communities in the Pacific region in becoming more resilient to the effects of climate change. The team will expand their research, advocacy and action from their home base on the Island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, leveraging support from the East-West Center, the University of Hawaiʻi Water Resources Research Center, various other stakeholders and now ASU, to address the most pressing regional and community-specific climate challenges.

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ASU, partners announce completion of Allen Coral Atlas mapping

September 9, 2021

Allen Coral Atlas sample mapping mageArizona State University alongside atlas founding partners at Vulcan Inc., National Geographic, Planet and the University of Queensland presented to the world a complete projection of the planet's coral ecosystems. The Allen Coral Atlas, named for the late Vulcan founder and celebrated philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul Allen, allows formal scientists, conservationists, policy makers and citizen scientists to fully explore the world's coral reefs and see in real time how oceanic warming causes bleaching or allows for rehabilitation.

“Our biggest contribution in this achievement is that we have a uniform mapping of the entire coral reef biome,” said Greg Asner, managing director of the Atlas and director of ASU’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation. “If you don’t know what you’ve got more uniformly, how would the U.N. ever play a real role? How would a government that has an archipelago with 500 islands make a uniform decision? (The atlas) lets us bring the playing field up to a level where decisions can be made at a bigger scale because so far decisions have been super localized.”

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New paper positions waste pickers as models of environmental stewards for circular economy

August 27, 2021

Waster picker collecting plasticA new paper published by a team from the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service that includes College of Global Futures associate professor Rimjhim Aggarwal examines the culture and economy of waste pickers. In the paper, published Aug. 10 in Sustainability, the authors demonstrate that waste pickers, typically part of extreme poverty communities based on or around landfills, have the potential to act as environmental stewards by mitigating the effects of waste, contributing to the resilience of urban systems, reducing greenhouse gas emissions through recovery of materials from waste streams and saving energy and preserving natural resources by enabling recycling and reuse.

"They play critical roles in waste management, but their full potential to contribute to the circular economy remains unrealized due to their marginalized social status, lack of recognition by authorities, and disconnection from the formal economy. Additionally, they face significant occupational hazards and social exclusion, and their livelihoods are at risk of being displaced by private-sector-led waste management approaches."

The paper was co-authored by Raj Buch, Alicia Marseille, Matthew Williams, Rimjhim Aggarwal and Aparna Sharma. Read the full report.

Dave White selected as Southwest chapter lead author for National Climate Assessment

August 23, 2021

Dave WhiteDave White, deputy director of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation and professor in the School of Community Resources and Development, has been tapped by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to represent the Southwest region as chapter lead author for the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment. White previously served as co-author for the complex systems chapter for the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment, published in 2018.

“I am honored to step into the lead author role for NCA5 for the Southwest, and I look forward to building an author team that represents the true diversity of our region,” White said. “Our primary goal is to develop actionable knowledge to address the climate crisis.”

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'Code-Red' megadrought is the Southwest's latest demand for collaborative innovation, says Dave White in Washington Post

August 23, 2021

Colorado River and Lake Mead low water levelsThe Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation's deputy director, Dave White, was featured in the Washington Post on Aug. 18 with his opinion piece on the US Bureau of Reclaimation's recent report on a record low water level for both the Colorado River and Lake Mead. In his opinion, White asserts that "nothing less than a water 'moonshot'" will be the only way forward to ensure that the needs of industry, agriculture and residents will be met.

"Debates over water rights and water usage are often emotional because people’s lives and livelihoods depend on this basic component of our existence. Solving the problem will demand unprecedented cooperation among competing parties, rapid technological innovation and thoughtful public engagement."

Read the full opinion.

A response to the Working Group 1 contribution to the IPCC 6th Assessment Report

August 14, 2021

Changing, by Alisa Singer (2021)The first working group’s contribution to the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “The Physical Science Basis” released on August 9, comes at a moment when our planet is experiencing multiple crises, some of which directly highlight the key findings of the report. To avoid additional, more extreme events, we no longer have decades to make choices to change what we can and should do to mitigate climate change – we must act now and act more boldly than previously envisioned in any of the current commitments.

The negative impacts of human activities on our planet affect not only the climate system but also social and environmental systems including water, energy, food, economies and public health. There is a high level of interconnectivity between these systems as well as between all environmental and societal systems, the ultimate drivers of change on our planet. We have outgrown the capacity of our planet to sustain “business as usual.” In other words, global society is asking our planet to give more than it has to offer. Unless we dramatically change our ways to more equitable and environmentally conscious ways we face a future in which life will be forced to severely adapt through sacrifice or planetary self regulation.

Yet, we do still face a future of hope. As we have seen with the COVID pandemic, an intersection of science, policy, humanities and resources guided by principles of equity, inclusivity and justice can drive unprecedented response and solutions at record speed. The challenge, with COVID and climate change, is to translate these solutions into meaningful and just collective action.

This idea — the opportunity of human action to positively and impactfully help shape our global future to ensure a habitable planet for all — is at the very essence of the work being done by more than 600 scientists and scholars here at Arizona State University. This is how the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory is shaping tomorrow, today.

Read our full response.

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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