Skip to Content

Phoenix names a heat officer, with a goal of easing the risk of rising temperatures

October 12, 2021

Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, introduced new heat mitigation officer, David Hondula, outside City Hall. Photo from, taken by Brandon Loomis

"Phoenix has appointed one of the leading experts on urban heat to run a program the city hopes will save lives and reduce urban temperatures even as climate change warms the surrounding desert.

Mayor Kate Gallego on Wednesday introduced David Hondula as director of the nation’s first publicly funded office of heat response and mitigation. The longtime Arizona State University environmental scientist and heat researcher will retain a post at the school but work full-time coordinating heat-reduction strategies."

Read the full story here on AZ Central

How to save more species before they're gone forever

October 8, 2021

ASU conservation scientist calls for more funding of the Endangered Species Act to combat escalating biodiversity crisis

by Marshall Terrill

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a delisting of 23 species that are believed to be extinct in the United States, joining about 900 species that have been documented as extinct around the world.

Even though the Fish and Wildlife Service produces this list annually, the numbers are becoming accelerated, according to Leah Gerber, a professor of conservation science in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences.

Continue Reading

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator hosts, “Joining Forces to Drive Change,” to celebrate 2nd Anniversary

October 6, 2021

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) hosted a pivotal UNGA virtual side-event, “Joining Forces to Drive Change,” on Tuesday, September 28 marking the 2nd anniversary of its launch.

WEA was established during UNGA 75 in consultation with six UN agencies and private-sector partner Mary Kay, with the impressive goal to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030. Moderated by WE Empower Co-Chair, Amanda Ellis, the event showcased a remarkable presenter lineup.

Continue Reading

Meet Senior Fellow Ricardo Salvador

October 1, 2021

In this series, we’re sitting down with the Swette Center senior fellows to catch up on food systems, innovation, and what makes a good meal. 

Read on for an interview with Ricardo Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Continue Reading

Using e-procurement systems to accommodate multiple sustainability objectives

October 1, 2021

Originally published in the LSE Business Review

By Yifan Chen, Nicole Darnall, Justin M. Stritch, and Stuart Bretschneider

A product’s price and quality are no longer the primary purchasing criteria for local governments. Environmental and social impact also needs to be considered. So, why aren’t all government using an e-procurement system to simplify the process? Yifan Chen, Nicole Darnall, Justin M. Stritch, and Stuart Bretschneider explored the issue. Their study suggests that governments are more likely to adopt an e-system if they have centralised structures.

Continue Reading

Project engages businesses in Peru to promote green growth, decrease deforestation

September 30, 2021

USAID-funded Amazon Business Alliance is led by the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. Entrepreneurs in Peru also lack resources to build viable enterprises that are reliant on those natural resources.

Image of the Amazon rainforest, one half in good condition with green trees, other half has been cleared completely only dirt and smoke remaining
Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. Photo by Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

To tackle these issues, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the Amazon Business Alliance (formerly the Amazon Development Entrepreneurial & Learning Alliance (ADELA) program) to “engage investors, entrepreneurs and conservation-focused businesses to promote green growth, and decrease deforestation and natural resource degradation, while improving community livelihoods.”Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

HUE partnership with City of Tempe for mobile cooling trailer looks forward to future

September 29, 2021

HUE and the City of Tempe unveiled a new project that will not only serve as a place of shelter from the brutal summer heat in the Valley of the Sun, but offer a place for the unhoused community to connect to resources. The mobile cooling trailer was made possible through the generous donation of local philanthropists, Jenny Norton and Bob Ramsey, and will be staffed by the city’s Homeless Outreach Prevention Effort (HOPE) team. 

Continue Reading

Spaces of Opportunity: Leading the Way for Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Phoenix

September 27, 2021

By Tucker Larson, Swette Center Student Worker

Located in South Phoenix at the northeast corner of Vineyard Road and 15th avenue is the Spaces of Opportunity Garden. The garden is a collaboration between four different nonprofit groups with the goal of transforming empty lots into a diverse agricultural and educational asset in the community. The four nonprofits involved are the Desert Botanical Garden, Unlimited Potential, TigerMountain Foundation, and Orchard Community Learning Center. Recently, John Wann–Ángeles, the director of the Orchard Community Learning Center, took some time to show us the urban agriculture collaboration.  

Continue Reading

Estimating the cost of plastic pollution interventions

September 24, 2021

Plastic pollution in the oceans is one of the biggest issues we face as a planet.

To identify potential solutions, members of the Conservation Innovation Lab, including PhD student Erin Murphy and CBO founding director Leah Gerber, recently published “A decision framework for estimating the cost of marine plastic pollution interventions”, in Conservation Biology. The paper, published with members of the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group, presents a framework for evaluating the net cost of marine plastic pollution interventions. The researchers also applied the framework to two quantitative case studies and four qualitative case studies to explore how context of implementation influenced net costs.

Download the paper here: Murphy et al. 2021

News adapted from Conservation Innovation Lab

AZ League of Cities & Towns 2021 Conference

September 23, 2021

On September 2, 2021, Sustainable Cities Network Director Anne Reichman and several Arizona city panelists participated in the AZ League of Cities & Towns Conference session “Resilient Cities & Towns: Reducing Risks and Seizing Opportunities.” During the session, the panelists touched on the importance of climate action planning for both small and large communities, integration of equity, and program improvements in the areas of transportation (EVs), solid waste, sustainable tourism and much more.

Continue Reading

Marisol Villalobos' eco-friendly agribusiness was inspired by a simple breadfruit

September 22, 2021

“I dare you to begin. And to connect with other dreamers in action.” —Marisol Villalobos, founder of Amasar

Marisol Villalobos, founder of Amasar, Puerto Rico

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Latin America & the Caribbean

Marisol Villalobos discusses her regenerative agribusiness, spotlighting the bountiful Breadfruit and its impressive nutritional qualities that help support local food security, along with empowering farmers in Puerto Rico to promote a dignified way of life. As told to WE Empower contributing author, Amanda Kiviaho, edited for length and clarity.

First there was Breadfruit, then there was Amasar

“My husband and I were away from Puerto Rico for a while as working professionals abroad, I as a microbiologist and he as a chemical engineer. While in Italy, my godmother called me one day and asked, ‘What [food] do you get there?’ and I said, ‘We get everything: yams, bananas, but I don’t have any breadfruit,’ and so she sent me a breadfruit all the way from Puerto Rico to Milan. That sparked our attention and I clearly remember that moment. We had a party that day and we ate the whole thing in different dishes. I remember saying to my husband, ‘Hey, what if we shipped breadfruits to Italy?’."

Continue Reading

Cooling Center Subgroup, MAG, and partners collaborate to provide heat relief to more than 25,555 Arizonans

September 20, 2021

Have you ever experienced the blistering heat of a summer afternoon in Arizona? Did you have water, shade, or air conditioning to provide heat relief and help cool you down? Unfortunately, there are Arizonans experiencing extreme heat that do not have consistent access to air conditioning or water, which can result in heat-related illness or even death. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has made finding heat relief even harder, but thanks to the collaboration of many Arizona partners, the Heat Relief Network continues to serve those in need during the hot summer months.

Continue Reading

Taking steps to solve the problem of phosphorus

September 18, 2021

To address the complex ecological, economic and sociopolitical challenges predicated by the rapidly expanding use of mined phosphorus in agriculture, the National Science Foundation has announced the creation of a major new research center.

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts to pursue a “25-in-25” vision. They are seeking to reduce human dependence on mined phosphorus by 25% and also to reduce current losses of phosphorus to soil and water resources by 25% within the next 25 years.

Funded by an initial five-year, $25 million grant and headquartered at North Carolina State University, the STEPS Center involves faculty, staff and students from eight other partner institutions across the country, including ASU.

Read more at ASU News.

Sept 22: Book launch and roundtable

September 17, 2021

Join the UREx SRN via Zoom on September 22, 2021, 2pm - 3:30pm Arizona time, for a roundtable discussion and launch of Resilient Urban Futures, a new book exploring the ways in which cities are profoundly impacted by climate change, and strategies for cultivating more resilient futures.

Based on practical experience in participatory visioning in nine Latin American and U.S. cities, the volume provides tools for engaging urban communities in resilience strategies. Authors of this open access volume will discuss urban climate inequity, modeling and communicating the impact of extreme climate and weather, as well as visioning equitable, positive, and resilient futures.

Register and download the book.

UREx Future Cities podcast recognized by ESA

September 17, 2021

FutureCities podcast logoUrban Resilience to Extremes SRN's monthly podcast, Future Cities, has been awarded the Ecological Society of America's "Science Communication in Practice Award." This award is given to ESA members who represent excellence in public engagement and science communication.

Future Cities aims to increase awareness of, and to catalyze action on, urban resilience. The show examines this topic by discussing ongoing research, highlighting current efforts, and sharing stories of resilience in cities across the world. By exploring a wide variety of perspectives, the show digs deep into understanding the many dimensions of resilience and the ways in which cities prepare themselves for the extreme weather events of tomorrow.

The podcast, recently added to NSF's Science Zone Radio, has been downloaded about 15k times in the last year (from listeners across the world), reaching #77 on Apple’s "US Life Sciences Podcast" chart over the summer. Visit the UREx website for more details.

Sala to advise US Global Change Research Program

September 17, 2021

Osvaldo-Sala-Blue-ShirtBy Celina Osuna

In July 2021, Osvaldo Sala, founding director of the Global Drylands Center and Julie A. Wrigley Chair, Regents’ and Foundation Professor, was nominated by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to serve a three-year term on the Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

Established by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, the USGCRP is, as stated by their website, “a federal program mandated by Congress to coordinate federal research and investments in understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society.” Every ten years, the 13 different agencies that make up the USGCRP, including NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation, develop a strategic plan to help people understand the effects of global change on society.

As a leading ecologist in global change research, Osvaldo Sala has been recognized and nominated as a member of the NASEM Committee that convenes to advise the USGCRP in developing its strategic plan. The committee is composed of 28 experts from across the country representing an array of sectors and disciplines spanning the sciences, engineering, and medicine. It is a forum for interaction between the USGCRP and the relevant scientific communities and other interested parties. The committee also helps to identify issues of importance for the global change research community. In addition to assistance with the strategic plan, the NASEM Committee will also help USGCRP as they produce the 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5), which is a report submitted to the President and Congress every four years.

Call for applications: Knowledge Exchange for Resilience

September 17, 2021

The mission of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience is to support Maricopa County, Arizona by sharing knowledge, catalyzing discovery, and exchanging responses to challenges together, in order to build community resilience. Through its 12-month fellowship program, representatives from both the community and university come together to share knowledge, discover gaps or opportunities, and respond to challenges. Fellows conduct individual and collaborative research, meeting weekly for six months, then monthly for the fellowship's remainder. Approximately twelve fellows will be chosen for the 2022 cohort.

Successful academic fellow applicants may be tenure-track or non-tenure-track professors at any level (assistant, associate, or full), scholars with instructor or research appointments, or post-doctoral research associates in any discipline. Eligible applicants may be affiliated with any department, school, or research center across all Arizona State University campuses in Maricopa County.

Applications are due October 15, 2021. Learn more.

Making sense of complexity: A webinar series and explainer video

September 17, 2021

Trying to understand complexity and the concept of Complex Adaptive Systems? Learn from your colleagues in the School of Complex Adaptive Systems, College of Global Futures. Their webinar series, Making Sense of Complexity, launched in Spring 2021 and is published online.

If you want to start with something simpler, here's a basic explainer video published last Spring, featuring Michael Barton explaining complex adaptive systems using examples with which most people are familiar.

Ground-breaking climate program for corporate boards

September 17, 2021

Image by <a href="">Vincent Grenon</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>With climate issues demanding ever more attention from corporate boards, ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Thunderbird School of Global Management and the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School have partnered with Competent Boards to launch a new program to help directors navigate the complexities of climate change and its impact on their businesses.

The program is designed to give board members, senior executives, business professionals and investors an in-depth understanding of the fast-evolving threats and opportunities that climate change presents for companies around the world, large and small.

Those who enroll now can complete the 6-module online program before the start of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow on November 1. Read the press release.