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New study shows soil as significant carbon sequestration driver

ASU Now | September 17, 2020

rich soil with single sprout illuminated in sunlightAs harmful atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, understanding the planetary carbon balance has become the single most important scientific question.

A new report by two leading ecological scientists at Arizona State University quantified the global soil carbon sequestered by roots plus the amount leached into the soil. They revealed that climate and land-use are major influencers of belowground carbon sequestration. The study, “Global patterns and climatic controls of belowground net carbon fixation,” also found that the amount of carbon sequestered belowground changes with precipitation but its effect varies among large vegetation types.

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ASU launches Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory to transform the world for a better future

ASU Now | September 9, 2020

Artist rendering of new ASU building ISTB7The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory represents the next quantum leap in the evolution of Arizona State University as one of the world’s premier centers for studies of sustainability, Earth's life-supporting systems and the future of life on our planet.

In rethinking traditional approaches to academic work and public engagement — often too slow to ensure needed impact — the Global Futures Laboratory aims to engage with speed and urgency to address the existential threats facing the planet and global society. To complete these goals, the lab encompasses a new College of Global Futures, a major research institute called the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, a solutions service called the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, and engagement initiatives.

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ASU joins global research cohort to launch new center focused on society’s relationship with oceans

ASU Now | August 21, 2020

men on a beach holding a large net near a boat, walking toward the ocean Arizona State University, through its partnership with Conservation International, joins the University of Washington and the Nippon Foundation to announce the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center. The Ocean Nexus Center is an interdisciplinary research initiative that focuses on social equity, ocean sustainability and climate change. The Ocean Nexus Center will bring uncompromised, critical voices to policy and public conversations that will help enable research and policy engagement. The new center is supported by the Nippon Foundation’s investment of $32.5 million over 10 years.

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If “the economy” is collapsing, how do people survive?

Medium | August 6, 2020

busy marketOur latest Medium article, written by the Human Economies Working Group at the ASU Global Futures Laboratory, explores the relationship between the formal and informal economy, particularly in this period of crisis. The authors write: "A growing number of innovative economists and other scholars...are challenging us to reevaluate our profit- and growth-driven economy on the basis of an ethics of inclusion and sustainability. We need an understanding of economic activity that reflects its complexity and is centered on the long-term well-being of humans and the rest of the planet."

You can read the piece 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.

Announcing the 2020 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge Awardees

July 22, 2020

WE Empower Challenge LogoThe Global Business Challenge honors women who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge – a global business challenge led in partnership by Vital Voices Global Partnership and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU – today announced the six social entrepreneurs selected as their 2020 Awardees.

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Global Futures Laboratory, Foreign Policy bring together global experts to discuss links between COVID-19 and climate

July 2, 2020

On Tuesday, Arizona State University’s Global Futures Laboratory, in partnership with Foreign Policy, convened a panel of leading global thinkers to discuss the surprising but powerful links among the coronavirus, climate change and inclusive governance.

“Scientists warn, COVID-19 is not a black swan event. Rather, as astrophysicist Adam Frank has pointed out, it’s a ‘fire drill’ for climate change,” explained Amanda Ellis, director of global partnerships at ASU Global Futures Laboratory. “We need to build back better and create a new normal to keep our planet habitable. To do that, we must call out the failures of global governance and the inconsistencies of national governments.”

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Societies in conflict

Medium | June 5, 2020

In the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Societies in Conflict," Craig Calhoun — University Professor of Social Sciences in the School of Sustainability — draws parallels between recent racial justice protests in the United States and 1989 protests for democratic freedoms in Tiananmen Square, China.

You can read the piece 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.

Societal planetary boundaries: When global society endangers the future of our planet

Medium | May 8, 2020

people walking in crowdIn the latest thought leader piece from the Global Futures Laboratory, "Societal Planetary Boundaries: When Global Society Endangers the Future of Our Planet," Sander van der Leeuw, Manfred Laubichler and Peter Schlosser discuss the unstable state of our global societal systems and how we can change. "We are challenged to find and establish a completely new structure for current societal dynamics, and to do so within the Environmental and Societal Planetary Boundaries," the authors write.

You can read the piece 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.

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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