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USA Triathlon: A race toward sustainability

April 7, 2020

Led by his passion about sustainable change in the sports industry, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Brian Boyle decided to create a sustainable event guidebook for USA Triathlon events. The project focuses on providing resources, capacities, and strategies to manage and mitigate the overall sustainability footprint of USA Triathlon (USAT) events with an emphasis on outcomes and behaviors that adhere to sustainability principles.

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Single-use plastic survey

April 7, 2020

Computer illustration of four hands holding four puzzle pieces that fit togetherThe ASU Conservation Innovation Lab and the S.W.A.T. Lab invite you to participate in a research study about single-use plastics (SUP) and effective policymaking.

To participate, all you need to do is complete a 10-minute survey.

This survey aims to determine the SUP footprint of ASU affiliated individuals by evaluating weekly use and disposal of single-use plastics. The SUP footprint will serve as a referral tool for institutions and governments when designing plastic-related policies that are shaped specifically to the city’s plastic consumption, management and perception.

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Integrated pest management in Senegal

April 6, 2020

Braedon Kantola and Alana Burnham with Senagalese farmers
This article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the Schoool of Sustainability

Imagine you are in Senegal, working on a farm. It's your livelihood, your culture, and a part of your well-being. You grow millet, rice, maize, sugarcane, maybe even some wheat. You do all you can to take care of your farm and your family. Yet, there is cause for concern: locusts. When they swarm, they eat all of your crops, sometimes up to a hectare’s worth of hard work. How could this have been prevented? What can be done to empower communities?  One way is by stopping locusts before they swarm. That’s what Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) student Braedon Kantola is working on for his culminating experience and what he did on his recent trip to Senegal.

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Science and business: Working together for sustainability

IASS Potsdam | April 3, 2020

In what ways can science and business sectors collaborate to build sustainable societies?

This vital question was the focus of the second Global Sustainability Strategy Forum, where 25 leading experts in both sectors came together via video conference to discuss how scientists and businesses could work together more effectively. The dialogue at the forum was based on three main questions, co-developed by members of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and Sander van der Leeuw, a distingushed sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability:

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Landscape Analysis of key organizations working in sustainable livestock systems

April 3, 2020

The map linked here illustrates a range of actors and instances of their multi-stakeholder collaborations on specific sub-themes within animal agriculture.  While this is already a complex web of players it is not meant to be exhaustive, it is rather an indicative list arrayed in clusters of key institutions and the categories in which they are primarily engaged (in many cases these are simplifications, because organizations also work across these categories).  The reach of the map attempts to capture the international landscape, but owing to limitations of space, for some branches they are limited to the North American context.

To the extent possible, the entries are provided hyperlinks to organizational websites, and in the case of collaborations, to the page describing their membership.

Livestock Futures – reading a mindmap to develop insight into relationships

April 3, 2020

Please download this PDF for the map.

The description of a complex mix of issues surrounding industrial animal agriculture is here presented visually in a mind map – a methodology and a toolset for visualizing a system through a core idea and the main themes that branch from it, as well and the inter-relationships and layers of context under main themes. These can be developed individually or in a group process, and can serve to develop dialogue while offering the option to ‘navigate’ to different sub-themes as those sharing the map determine where to focus. Visual cues as to the hierarchy of ideas can be conveyed with the shapes and colors in the map, and solid or dashed lines can suggest levels of relationship.

More subtle and complex dynamic tools, such as KUMU allow for the mapping of causal relationships and can be designed to jump to other maps related to the node picked to follow down a particular path and reflect other hierarchies and dependencies in a system.

Here is the written narrative following ‘round the dial’ presented in clockwise sequence:

Not all animal sourced foods are created equal...

  • In terms of nutritional value,
  • Or in the efficiency with which they convert feed into food for humans
  • Or in in terms of impacts on the environment...
  • Livestock production systems provide ecosystem services (and dis-services) depending on the scale and their technical configuration

Animal sourced foods are being consumed at uneven levels...

  • either regionally, or
  • Within countries
  • Or at local levels;

Strong cultural and historic associations with particular animal species persisting in different contexts.

Different scales of animal production also co-exist

  • And have complex social, economic and environmental functions
  • And these scales are shifting, with a trend to larger and more concentrated operations...
  • these transformations bring multiple impacts...

Important ramifications overlapping in the other ‘hot topic’ papers... in italics

Diets and human health

  • Preferences on protein translating into environmental impacts
  • Industrial production processes creating vulnerabilities in animal diseases (loss of immunological firebreaks) as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Dislocation of small-scale animal keepers into marginal areas, forest edges - links to zoonotic disease transmission with wild animal trade

Food waste

  • Generation and re-use of organic matter for animal consumption

Nature-based solutions

  • Crop-livestock integration on farm to reduce nutrient concentrations or deficiencies borne of the separation of animal and cropping systems
  • Sourcing animal foods from grazing non-arable lands, or alternative feed proteins (insects, etc.)
  • Utilizing animals for restoration of degraded landscapes

Just transitions

  • Social dislocation and economic outcomes borne of rapid industrialization of animal agriculture

Sun Devils Together: An empathetic approach to ASU student homelessness

March 31, 2020

This article was co-written by William Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability and Paul Prosser, Project Partner Liaison at the School of Sustainability. 

All students in Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) program are required to design and execute a culminating experience project, with the goal being to partner with a community to confront a current sustainability issue. For their project, students Maryam Abdul Rashid, Skyliana Dosier, and Omar Sanchez are creating awareness about student homelessness, breaking down the corresponding stigmas, and improving access to services for homeless students in partnership with ASU’s Dean of Students office. The project explores the three fronts where homeless students experience the most insecurity: housing, health, and food.

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Feeding the hungry: A day with the United Food Bank

March 31, 2020

Students packaging food. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe and the U.S., more and more Americans are facing food insecurity. Now more than ever, organizations like United Food Bank  and other Feeding America members are critical to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry — but they can't do it alone. Please consider donating your time, talent, or treasure here, and together we can weather this crisis! 

This blog post was written by Arizona State University graduate student Liz Broussard. In addition to studying Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership at ASU, Liz serves as a project coordinator at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), where she supports the Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative, a network of organizations working to improve access to healthy food and transform Mississippi food systems.   

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COVID-19: The ultimate stress test for our global futures

March 31, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 virus that has made a sudden, profound global impact, Dr. Osvaldo Sala along with other scholars within the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University have co-authored their most recent article "COVID-19: The Ultimate Stress Test for Our Global Futures." This article details the catastrophic consequences from lack of preparedness of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides solutions on how to effectively move forward from this crisis and how to minimize the devastating effects from future outbreaks.

COVID-19: The ultimate stress test for our global futures

Medium | March 30, 2020

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "COVID-19: The Ultimate Stress Test for Our Global Futures," 21 co-authors from across disciplines at Arizona State University explore how COVID-19 is shaking our societal foundations and revealing how vulnerable our systems are to shocks — even though we've long had evidence that something like this could happen. The authors discuss what this pandemic means for society, make connections to the way we as a global population are handling climate change, and outline opportunities for optimal future responses.

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CSPO's Issues in Science and Technology launches newsletter

March 30, 2020

CSPO, ASU's Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, edits Issues in Science and Technology , a science policy journal published in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Issues is launching a newsletter, and you can sign up on the journal's homepage at

The website's homepage also features articles on the COVID-19 pandemic, including an article by sustainability scientist Dan Sarewitz on the lesson to be learned from coronavirus on the appropriate role of science in helping to guide us toward a better future.

ASU-USAID Digi-Know webinar on digital ed strategies

March 30, 2020

The global pandemic has made digital technology in education more important than it ever has been before. In an April 8 USAID Digi-Know Webinar, sustainability scientists Mary Jane Paramentier and Faheem Hussain will present recent developments in education delivery using digital technologies and the emergence of artificial intelligence in education. They will also highlight the development of an independent, solar-powered, and educational library that provides localized educational content to resource-constrained locations around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about innovative digital initiatives transforming education in underserved and under-resourced areas of the world, or wondering how digital education might be relevant to your work, Register Now for this Zoom webinar.

Solve Climate by 2030: A Virtual Teach-In

March 30, 2020

On Tuesday, April 7, ASU will host one of 52 simultaneous state-by-state webinars as part of a virtual teach-in on climate solutions and justice presented by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. Sustainability scientist Jennifer Richter will moderate a two-part conversation, first with Patrick Graham of The Nature Conservancy, Hank Courtwright of Salt River Project, and Gary Dirks of ASU; then with youth voices Brian Mecinas and Perla Sanchez of Arizona Youth Climate Strike, and ASU senior Sarah Lucia Barbey representing Local to Global Justice.

The Solve Climate event features webinars with varying start times by state. Faculty and teaching instructors are encouraged to make a class about climate by assigning students to watch their state's webinar, then discuss it in the next class. Solve Climate offers teaching guides for discussion. International universities are welcome to participate.

Visit for more information. Register to attend the ASU event on our website.

ASU professor creates hydropanels to address water scarcity

ASU Now | March 30, 2020

According to the United Nations, the year 2050 could see more than 5 billion people suffer water shortages as a result of climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies. This forecast means that now more than ever, it’s important to create new ways of obtaining sustainable drinking water. One person working to make that a reality is Arizona State University professor Cody  Friesen.

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Seager hosts virtual talks on resilient healthcare infrastructure

March 27, 2020

Sustainability scientist Tom Seager has been part of the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technologies every year since 2013. This year's series on resilient healthcare infrastructure has gone virtual, adding new content related to the COVID-19 response to its ISSST2020 Keynote Series.

You can subscribe to the ISSST YouTube channel to find talks from previous ISSST programs, interviews, discussions, and new content generated by the ISSST2020 Thematic and Sessions Chairs.

Meet online sustainability senior Samantha Selway

March 26, 2020

A medical condition forced Samantha "Sammy" Selway to transition to online schooling. It was while she was in the process of doing this that she found Arizona State University's sustainability degree.

"After I had decided to leave [another university] because of the Misophonia, the director of their Disability Resource Center told me about ASU’s online programs and then I found the sustainability major," Selway said. "It was perfect and looking back, having to leave in-person college seems like a blessing in disguise."

Selway is a senior at ASU pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in sustainability with a focus in energy, materials and technology. Continue reading to get acquainted with Selway, her propensity to power through the obstacles of life and her research project.

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