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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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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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Climate change, the apocalypse and skepticism

ASU Now | February 7, 2020

Despite the near universal consensus confirming the phenomenon of climate change, climate skepticism still poses a significant barrier to developing more environmentally conscious policies. One particular segment of the population — the Christian right — is the most skeptical major religious group in America regarding climate change. However, the reasons behind their skepticism are not what one would expect.

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Australian wildfires illustrate urgent need for collective action

Medium | February 3, 2020

Image of Australian wildfireAcross the globe, wildfires continue to occur with increasing frequency and higher intensity. The world watched in shock as the still-burning flames in Australia engulfed thousands of homes, scorched millions of acres and burned alive more than a billion animals. The unprecedented disaster has experts worried.

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "A world on fire: Will we respond?," Peter Schlosser, Clea Edwards, Steven Beschloss, Nina Berman and Upmanu Lall discuss the impacts of the devastating fires in Australia and our collective responsibility to act. "It is the responsibility of all of us — Australian or not — to take this staggering moment to work for change on a global scale," they say.

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Christiana Figueres inspires action to cut carbon emissions in half this decade

January 31, 2020

Christiana Figueres Wrigley Lecture ASUAt the Wrigley Lecture held on January 30 at Arizona State University, climate leader Christiana Figueres said extreme events like the Australian wildfires are foretelling of things to come if we continue to sleepwalk into the future. "That world is possible, but it is not inevitable," she said.

Figueres is recognized internationally as a diplomatic leader on climate change. From 2010 to 2016, she was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. During her tenure, Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. To accelerate the global response to climate change, Figueres founded Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose-driven enterprise focused on social and environmental change. On February 25, 2020, Figueres is launching her new book, "The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis."

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Sunny day flooding in Norfolk, Virginia

January 27, 2020

Image of a car driving through flood water in VirginaWith Hurricane Dorian threatening in late August 2019, staff from Arizona State University traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to investigate and film flooding due to the climate crisis. Norfolk is the site of the largest Naval base in the world and vital to U.S. national security. The city is also the first location in the U.S. where the threats and complications from sea level rise began in earnest.

This nine-minute documentary was produced by Steven Beschloss for the Global Futures Laboratory and co-produced, shot and edited by Kirk Davis for Knowledge Enterprise.

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ASU workshop tackles questions surrounding the transition to a sustainable future

ASU Now | January 24, 2020

Peter SchlosserThere is near unanimous consent that we need to transition to a sustainable future. The real question is, how do we do so?

In an effort to address this vital question, Arizona State University’s intellectual network the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) held an open workshop titled “What Will It Take to Transition to a Sustainable Future?” on January 22. The workshop was held at the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center and it brought together leaders from universities, businesses, government and civil society to discuss potential solutions to the critical, complex challenges of sustainability and the future of our planet.

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We can course correct and save the melting Arctic

Medium | December 18, 2019

Two polar bears walking across thin Arctic iceThe Arctic is experiencing climate change more dramatically than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, the Arctic Ocean is expected to be virtually ice-free in the late summer within 20 years. These rapid changes not only affect life in the Arctic, but also the entirety of the planet.

In the newest article from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Rapid Changes in the Arctic: This Story is Not Just about Polar Bears," thought leaders Peter Schlosser, Stephanie Pfirman, Clea Edwards, Nina Berman, Steven Beschloss, Rolf Halden and Manfred Laubichler discuss the changing Arctic and what needs to be done to course correct. "To be clear, this is not all doom and gloom. There is a path forward," they say.

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Rethinking corporate value with the Global KAITEKI Center

ASU Now | November 8, 2019

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi Chairman of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings CorporationYoshimitsu Kobayashi, Chairman of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, visited Arizona State University on Oct. 24 to kick off the Global KAITEKI Center's activities. This center is a partnership between ASU and the KAITEKI Institute, MCHC’s think tank and research institute. Kaiteki is “the sustainable well-being of people, society and planet Earth."

At the launch event, Kobayashi and ASU President Michael Crow shared their visions for a sustainable future, and the two organizations pledged to work together to advance these goals. In a new Q&A in ASU Now, Kobayashi explained how kaiteki became a driving principle for MCHC, how kaiteki can be applied in business management and why partnerships between industry and academia are essential to achieving this ambitious vision.

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The power of narratives to connect people around climate change

ASU Now | October 10, 2019

Author Earl Swift on a panel discussion about "Chesapeake Requiem" and climate change storytelling at ASU Cronkite journalism schoolAcclaimed journalist and author Earl Swift made two presentations at Arizona State University on October 8 and 9 to discuss his latest nonfiction book, “Chesapeake Requiem," which tells the story of Tangier Island, Virginia — the United State's first town to be lost to climate change.

In advance of his visit, Swift was interviewed by local NPR affiliate KJZZ, where he spoke about his experience living on Tangier Island and the greater implications of climate change on the fate of U.S. towns. "What we need to do is develop a rubric for which communities we save and which we surrender, because it's pretty clear we don't have the time, the money or the means to save every place that's going to be threatened," Swift said.

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This Youth Movement is more than a moment

Medium | September 27, 2019

Youth of a community rallying for climate actionSince September 20, more than 6 million people have marched worldwide as part of the Global Climate Strikes, spurred on by a youth movement laser focused on making climate policy a priority. In the latest article from Global Futures Laboratory thought leaders, "Why the Youth Movement Matters," Peter Schlosser, Steven Beschloss and Nina Berman look at the wave of young people who are organizing and rallying around the notion that the climate crisis is not a future problem - it is a now problem.

You can read the response on Medium. To ensure you don’t miss any Global Futures Laboratory Medium posts, follow our Medium channel directly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn where we announce all new posts.

ASU scientists respond to new IPCC report

Medium | August 21, 2019

circular crop fields and desertificationAfter the United Nations IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land was released in August 2019, several Arizona State University scientists associated with Global Futures Laboratory wrote a response: “Recognizing the urgency of our climate crisis.” This response briefly summarizes the report and the strategies it describes to mitigate climate change and increase global food security. In addition, the response stresses the importance of acting with urgency, removing CO2 from the air and point sources, and engaging people who are most vulnerable to climate change.

You can read the response on Medium. To ensure you don’t miss any Global Futures Laboratory Medium posts, follow our Medium channel directly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn where we announce all new posts.

Crow, Schlosser outline origins of ASU’s Global Futures Laboratory

| July 12, 2019

In case you missed it, we recently published an op-ed on Medium called “Why we are launching the ASU Global Futures Laboratory,” co-written by our Vice President and Vice Provost Peter Schlosser and Arizona State University President Michael Crow. In this piece, Schlosser and Crow outline why ASU established the Global Futures Laboratory and what our initiative aims to do.

The op-ed is the first post on our new Medium channel, which we will use as a platform to share short op-eds from not only our leadership, but also the scientists and scholars within our network who are pioneering solutions to global sustainability.

To ensure you don’t miss any posts, follow our Medium channel directly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn where we will announce all new posts.

Kudos to good climate policy

May 17, 2019

By Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice provost for Global Futures and the University Global Futures Professor with joint appointments in the School of Sustainability, School of Earth and Space Exploration, and School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

Kudos to Bob Litterman for his continuing work on a possible carbon tax or carbon price and the role it would play in getting the world to take responsibility for the planet’s environment. Litterman, a founding partner and chairman of the Risk Committee at Kepos Capital and a member of the board for GIOS, was recently cited by Bloomberg Business for his work in proposing that a carbon tax be established. He has also said it should be pushed by the Republicans in the U.S. as a way to curb future carbon emissions.

Litterman recently noted that such a carbon price is not part of the Green New Deal, the major climate policy proposed by some Democrats, and that is good for Republicans, who should now take up that mantle and push for it in Congress.

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Carbon-capture technology moves to commercialization

ASU Now | May 2, 2019

Klaus Lackner examining machineArizona State University and Silicon Kingdom Holdings (SKH) have announced an agreement to deploy carbon-capture technology developed by Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions.

The proprietary technology acts like a tree that is thousands of times more efficient at removing CO2 from the air. The “mechanical trees” allow the captured gas to be sequestered or sold for re-use in a variety of applications, such as synthetic fuels, enhanced oil recovery or in food, beverage and agriculture industries.

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ASU students gamify sustainability education with Kahoot! quizzes

ASU Now | April 23, 2019

Children playing games on iPadsAs part of Arizona State University’s efforts to advance sustainability education for K–12 students, a faculty-led student group created a suite of Kahoot! games to teach sustainability concepts. Kahoot! is a widely used platform to play fun, educational games called “kahoots” that are popular in classrooms and other group settings.

Through a new capstone workshop called “Innovation in Science Communication,” three undergraduate School of Sustainability students created nine quizzes for a new Kahoot! campaign, ASU Sustainable Futures. Topics include designing for our future, environment, sustainable food, social justice and energy. The students were responsible for developing the content and then demoing the kahoots in several middle school classes.

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Sustainability scientist to explore farm labor shortages, immigration policy

ASU Now | March 28, 2019

An apple farmAn ASU Now story discusses the complicated matrix of farm labor, wages, costs and consumer prices when it comes to getting produce onto our plates. The growers who produce that produce have been sounding the alarm in recent years that the lack of farm labor is cutting into their livelihoods and leaving crops unharvested in the fields.

An Arizona State University professor has been examining the issue of farm labor and how immigration policy could affect how much we pay for vegetables. The research caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has given Senior Sustainability Scientist Timothy Richards, a professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business, a two-year grant to delve deeper. He will be working with colleagues at California Polytechnic State University and Cornell University.

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Saving the world from thin air

ASU Now | March 27, 2019

Klaus Lackner examining machineSenior Sustainability Scholar Klaus Lackner, director for the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, has created a machine that physically sucks greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. This machine gave a group of Arizona State University grads another idea: Instead of building the new technology, how about creating a marketplace that would incentivize carbon removal, whether by Lacknerian machines or some other method?

In 2018, the grads — Paul Gambill, Jaycen Horton and Ross Kenyon, along with Christophe Jospe, who worked for Lackner at CNCE — founded Nori. The Seattle-based company is flipping some basic ideas about climate change mitigation on their head. Instead of aiming to lower CO2 emissions, Nori focuses instead on Lackner’s notion of pulling out the carbon that’s already in the atmosphere. Instead of, say, taxing those who put CO2 into the air, they want to pay those who remove it.

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Authors, artists explore solar futures in new anthology

ASU Now | March 22, 2019

Colorful illustration featuring two people facing each other under the sunTo begin to imagine the difficulties, joys and adventures of human life powered by an energy system dominated by solar, last week Arizona State University published “The Weight of Light,” a free digital book featuring science fiction stories, essays and art exploring a variety of possible solar futures.

The book features four original science fiction stories — three of which take place in possible future versions of Arizona, with a fourth unfolding in a revitalized and transformed Detroit — each illustrated by an artist from the Phoenix community. The stories are accompanied by essays written by ASU faculty and graduate students in a wide range of fields, from electrical and systems engineering to public policy and futures studies.

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