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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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Recreational fisheries need new management, says sustainability scientist

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science | March 19, 2019

man stands at the back of a fishing boatSenior Sustainability Scientist Joshua Abbott is a principal author of a new opinion paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled “Governing the recreational dimension of global fisheries.” Abbott is an associate professor in Arizona State University's School of Sustainability and an affiliated faculty in the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

The paper discusses the importance of recreational fisheries and the need to improve their management and their inclusion in fisheries policymaking. “Recreational fisheries deserve to be considered on equal footing with commercial fisheries, particularly in mixed coastal fisheries,” the authors argue.

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ASU professor’s Mexico research garners local award for Latina/o achievement

ASU Now | March 11, 2019

Maria Cruz-TorresMaria Cruz-Torres, a senior sustainability scientist and an associate professor in the School of Transborder Studies, has been documenting a lesser-seen side of Sinaloa’s prized seafood industry — its female shrimp traders — for 20 years. This research project earned her the Victoria Foundation’s Eugene García Outstanding Latina/o Faculty Award last September. Launched in 1969, the Phoenix-based group was the first Latina/o community foundation in the United States and now hosts an award series honoring contributions in academia, civil service and the arts around Arizona.

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Freshly minted Regents' Professor plumbs geospatial data to make sense of the world

ASU Now | February 8, 2019

Stewart FotheringhamYou could say Stewart Fotheringham, a distinguished sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, is where he is now because of a dogged preoccupation with that perennial question of the human condition: Why?

“When I look at a map of disease rates across the country, for example, and I see there are clusters of high rates over here and low rates over here, what I want to know is why? What's causing that?” he said.

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Building a better future | January 28, 2019

Artist rendering of new ASU building ISTB7The Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 will serve as a new gateway to the ASU Tempe campus. The approximately 258,000 gross-square-foot, high-performance research facility will foster an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge generation and leading-edge research, including innovative endeavors focusing on the sustainability of food, water and energy.

In addition to public outreach and exhibit spaces, ISTB7 will house Global Futures, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, School of Sustainability, and the Institute of Human Origins. Designed by architect firms Architekton and Grimshaw, the facility is expected to be completed in 2021.

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Philosophy of sustainability science research project receives funding

January 15, 2019

Tree that looks like a brain inside profile of headC. Tyler DesRoches, an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainability, is part of a research team that recently won a €10,000 (approximately $11,400 grant) from the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science to develop a new research project entitled “Philosophy of Sustainability Science.” The primary purpose of this project will be to develop a systematic and philosophically sophisticated understanding of sustainability science, legitimize it as a field of science and propose effective strategies for its development.

DesRoches explained that a philosophy of sustainability science will answer many questions, including: “What, if anything, is distinctive about sustainability science? What makes sustainability science different from other scientific practices? What is the role of values, particularly ethical values, in sustainability science? Is ethics essential to sustainability science? Finally, sustainability scientists are keen to promote interdisciplinarity, but is scientific integration always a good thing? What conditions must be satisfied for successful interdisciplinary exchange?”

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Big power from a small container

ASU Now | November 29, 2018

Nathan JohsnonWith a $2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, an Arizona State University professor is working to improve on his solar-powered, electrical grid-in-a-box for use in far-flung corners of the world where power doesn’t reach.

Microgrids are small isolated power systems, such as on oil rigs, in rural villages or at military expeditionary camps. Nathan Johnson, an assistant professor in the Polytechnic School, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, created a solar-powered grid contained in a shipping container.

“Microgrids are often described as an on-grid system that can isolate,” said Johnson, who is also a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. In summer 2018, Johnson received a $2 million, two-year grant from the Office of Naval Research.

Read the full story on ASU Now.

DOE awards $4.5 million to ASU teams to discover new ways to harness carbon dioxide for reducing cost of biofuel

ASU Now | November 7, 2018

bursts of green lightThe U.S. Department of Energy has announced 36 projects that together have been awarded $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development. Two ASU research teams are among the grantees, with the grants to ASU totaling about $4.5 million.

The two teams are headed by sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability: Willem Vermaas, foundation professor in the School of Life Sciences and a member of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, and Bruce Rittmann, director of Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and regents’ professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

The DOE is investing $80 million to reduce the cost of algae-based, drop-in fuels to $3 per gallon by 2022, providing consumers with affordable, reliable transportation energy choices.

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Making the most of conservation money

ASU Now | October 25, 2018

black footed ferretOne of the balancing acts faced by conservation agencies is how to conserve and protect as many species as possible from extinction with limited funding and finite resources. In the U.S., conservation agencies are supported and guided by the Endangered Species Act, the seminal wildlife conservation law signed by President Nixon in 1973 that is currently being reviewed by Congress.

Over time, the number of threatened and endangered species added to the ESA has grown faster than the funding for their recovery. As a result, conservation agencies have struggled in making decisions about how to apply the available resources to the greatest effect.

The result of this inadequate funding has been that while the ESA has brought back many species from the brink of extinction, many of those species remain on “life support,” never fully recovering to independence once again. This adds fuel to the debate over the effectiveness of the ESA.

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Pioneering planetary management

ASU Now | January 23, 2018

Image of a GlobeWith the goal of harnessing the innovative capacity of academia and developing options for the sound management of our planet, ASU President Michael Crow announced the launch of the Global Futures Initiative in January 2018.

Global Futures will take the pieces ASU already has and fuse them together more tightly while breaking intellectual ground. It will build new and bigger collaborations; find untapped opportunities that lie between disciplines, schools and existing projects; and amplify ASU’s global impact.

That's according to Peter Schlosser, Vice President and Vice Provost of Global Futures, who was recruited from Columbia University to lead the effort.

“Global Futures is a platform from which to take a broad look at the trajectory of our planet and the role of global society in shaping it," said Schlosser, "to gather and synthesize knowledge from many frameworks and to fundamentally alter how we manage the planet in ways that achieve sustained habitability.”