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The Environmental, Social, and Economic Impacts of Remote Work

Description

COVID-19 brought so much uncertainty into the world and has molded this project into what it is today. The first project journey that was chosen was meant to show the impact of how much plastic waste was being produced at

COVID-19 brought so much uncertainty into the world and has molded this project into what it is today. The first project journey that was chosen was meant to show the impact of how much plastic waste was being produced at Starbucks. Then due to COVID-19 yet again, it changed into how much paper waste there was within the State of Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) Business and Professions Division (BPD). DOL BPD is a state agency division that licenses over forty plus professional and business licenses to the residents of Washington state. Due to the pandemic, the project transformed into how the three pillars of sustainability impacts remote work within BPD. BPD is in this new and unique paradigm where the deliverable that was brought forth as this project completed are, “The 9 Benefits of Sustainability through Remote Work” (Appendix D) where this specifically showed DOL why remote work is sustainable and how it should be implemented even further throughout the agency. This list was put together with the benefits that best fit DOL BPD.

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2021-02-11

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Understanding the Social Impacts of Power Outages: A Case Study Comparison Across U.S. Cities

Description

Society is heavily dependent on a reliable electric supply; all infrastructure systems depend on electricity to operate. When the electric system fails, the impacts can be catastrophic (food spoilage, inoperable medical devices, lack of access to water, etc.). The social

Society is heavily dependent on a reliable electric supply; all infrastructure systems depend on electricity to operate. When the electric system fails, the impacts can be catastrophic (food spoilage, inoperable medical devices, lack of access to water, etc.). The social impacts, defined as the direct and indirect impacts on people, of power outages must be explored as the likelihood of power outages and blackouts are increasing. However, compared to other hazards, such as heat and flooding, the knowledge base on the impacts of power outages is relatively small. The purpose of this thesis is to identify what is currently known about the social impacts of power outages, identify where gaps in the literature exist, and deploy a survey to explore power outage experiences at the household level. This thesis is comprised of two chapters, a systematic literature review on the current knowledge of the social impacts of power outages and a multi-city survey focused on power outage experiences.

The first chapter comprised of a systematic literature review using a combined search of in Scopus which returned 762 candidate articles were identified that potentially explored the social impacts of power outages. However, after multiple filtering criteria were applied, only 45 articles met all criteria. Four themes were used to classify the literature, not exclusively, including modeling, social, technical, and other. Only papers that were classified as “social” - meaning they observed how people were affected by a power outage - or in combination with other categories were used within the review.

From the literature, populations of concern were identified, including minority demographics - specifically Blacks or African Americans, children, elderly, and rural populations. The most commonly reported health concerns were from those that rely on medical devices for chronic conditions and unsafe generator practices. Criminal activity was also reported to increase during prolonged power outages and can be mitigated by consistent messaging on where to receive assistance and when power will be restored. Providing financial assistance and resources such as food and water can reduce the crime rate temporarily, but the crime rate can be expected to increase once the relief expires. Authorities should expect looting to occur, especially in poorer areas, during prolonged power outages. Gaps in the literature were identified and future directions for research were provided.

The second chapter consists of a multi-city survey that targeted three major cities across the United States (Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; and Phoenix, AZ). The survey was disseminated through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and hosted by Qualtrics. 896 participants from the three cities qualified to complete the full version of the survey. Three criteria had to be met for participants to complete the full survey including residing in one of the three target cities, living at their primary address for a majority of the year, and indicate they had experienced a power outage within the last five years.

Participants were asked questions regarding the number of outages experienced in the last five years, the length of their most recent and longest outage experienced, if they owned a generator, how they managed their longest power outage, if participants or anyone in their household relies on a medical device, the financial burden their power outage caused, and standard demographic- and income-related questions. Race was a significant variable that influenced the outage duration length but not frequency in Phoenix and Detroit. Income was not a significant variable associated with experiencing greater economic impacts, such as having thrown food away because of an outage and not receiving help during the longest outage. Additional assessments similar to this survey are needed to better understand household power outage experiences.

Findings from this thesis demonstrate traditional metrics used in vulnerability indices were not indicative of who experienced the greatest effects of power outages. Additionally, other factors that are not included in these indices, such as owning adaptive resources including medical devices and generators in Phoenix and Detroit, are factors in reducing negative outcomes. More research is needed on this topic to indicate which populations are more likely to experience factors that can influence positive or negative outage outcomes.

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2020-07-20

A Sustainability Analysis of Workforce Housing Development Tools

Description

Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area are experiencing a housing crisis, both in terms of affordability and supply. While the number of affordable and available units has been shrinking, a separate trend has emerged that is also adding pressure to

Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area are experiencing a housing crisis, both in terms of affordability and supply. While the number of affordable and available units has been shrinking, a separate trend has emerged that is also adding pressure to the housing market, particularly for renters—a demand for transit-oriented, walkable, sustainable communities. As governments invest in projects and infrastructure falsely branded as sustainable, environmental gentrification often occurs resulting in displacement of current residents. Without new, moderately priced housing being built, displaced residents remain housing cost burdened. Workforce housing, priced to serve lower-middle to middle-income residents, offers a release from the pressure on the housing market, but innovative models for workforce housing development are necessary to navigate the regulatory and financial barriers in place. During a Solutions Round Table event facilitated by my client, a variety of potential tools for mitigating the housing crisis and removing barriers to workforce housing development were discussed. Based on conversations documented during the event, a robust list of workforce housing development tools was created. With the help of my client, the list was winnowed down to six tools for focused research—off-site construction, cohousing, land banks, missing middle infill models, community land trusts combined with limited equity cooperatives, and public-private partnerships. This project describes these tools and outlines best practices for developing and implementing them in the Valley. The best practices are organized to serve as guidance for the private sector and public sector separately, and for embedding health and social equity. Each tool is assessed using a simplified version of Gibson’s (2006) sustainability criteria, combined into four dimensions—environment, social, economic, and holistic. The findings from the assessment are embedded as guidance throughout the final product, a white paper, which will be delivered to Urban Land Institute (ULI) Arizona District Council Task Force for Health, Equity, and Housing Affordability, my client for this project.

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2020-05-26

Our Greener Home Energy Toolkit: DIY Home Energy Solutions for Johnson City, TN

Description

This study examines the creation of a sustainability toolkit that can be implemented in many communities, beginning with Johnson City, Tennessee. This project began in 2019 and will continue to grow indefinitely. For this project, a toolkit that will allow

This study examines the creation of a sustainability toolkit that can be implemented in many communities, beginning with Johnson City, Tennessee. This project began in 2019 and will continue to grow indefinitely. For this project, a toolkit that will allow the public to have access to the tools and information they need in order to make their homes more energy-efficient will be created. It will be stocked in the local library in Johnson City Tennessee for free use to the public, as long as they have a library card, they can check out the toolkits. The toolkits will be used by the public, then returned to the library so that they can be restocked and checked out again. This study looks at the market, business and organizational research and the infrastructure of the project. Methods of research included looking at how the need for a change came about, who will benefit, existing similar programs and how they will be used in conjunction with this project, current organizational structures attached to the project, current team infrastructure and what resources are needed to fill the voids. Findings include what financial resources will be required and how they will be acquired, as well as resources that are currently available for this project and what is still needed in order for this project to be successful. As a result of this project, at least two libraries in the Johnson City area will be stocked with several energy toolkits for free and a partnership for future project expansion will have been established. This study looks at the process and what was learned during the implementation of the project.

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2020-05-18

Sustainability for Young Learners Courses

Description

Children are our future businesspeople, policy makers, and educators. As such, during their careers and throughout their life, they will be the leaders making tough decisions on how to respond to extreme heat phenomenon, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns,

Children are our future businesspeople, policy makers, and educators. As such, during their careers and throughout their life, they will be the leaders making tough decisions on how to respond to extreme heat phenomenon, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and the increased presence of greenhouse gases, which could thrust our Earth into irreversible change if emissions are
not reduced drastically over the next few decades.

When evaluating the required Next Generation Science Standards for elementary school, these standards do not include environmental literacy or sustainability themes in either second, third, or fourth grades, with little mention via one standard in first, fifth, and sixth grades. Overall, the Next Generation Science Standards do not adequately prepare students for the sustainability problems of
the future nor do the standards help connect students to the natural environment by not connecting the standards to real world climate issues. Not educating students about sustainability topics in elementary school passes the responsibility off to higher grades with optional science classes, where this sustainability education could be missed altogether.

The Sustainability for Young Learners Courses were created to equip elementary school teachers with sustainability knowledge and resources to effectivity teach sustainability to their students. The Sustainability for Young Learners Courses infuse sustainability and environmental literacy Graduate Culminating Experience
Sharing Permissions Agreement into second through fifth grade science classes via the creation of detailed unit plans. Each course incorporates important sustainability themes into the required Next Generation Science Standards, to encourage teachers to adopt these unit plans without taking away limited class time to teach about sustainability. Rather than ending in doom and gloom, students finish each unit becoming the heroes of the story by creating their own solutions to combat climate change that they can implement into their own lives, communities, homes, and classroom.

Sustainability and climate related issues are already sweeping our Earth and the problem is likely going to accelerate as today's current elementary school students start their professional careers. Equipping young students with environmental literacy and sustainability knowledge can allow students to be ready to face real-world climate related issues in the future as well as today as these students serve as leaders within their communities and schools. By realizing the gap in the United States education system, the Sustainability for Young Learners courses is helping to create a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable society through education and knowledge.

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2020-05-18

WaterWorks4All

Description

Groundwater is the life blood of the earth. It is the most precious natural resource we have, and we cannot survive or thrive without it. Having access to secure water supplies is essential. There are millions of groundwater wells worldwide

Groundwater is the life blood of the earth. It is the most precious natural resource we have, and we cannot survive or thrive without it. Having access to secure water supplies is essential. There are millions of groundwater wells worldwide affected by intensive groundwater pumping. WaterWorks4All can help solve the over pumping of renewable groundwater in communities effected by water uncertainty and scarcity.
Groundwater pumping in the US is significant, rated second in the world. Countries pumping the highest quantities of groundwater per capita are located in arid zones, where surface water is scarce and unreliable and where agricultural irrigation is well developed. Furthermore, groundwater is a common pool and there is little awareness of the cumulative implications of intensive groundwater pumping can do to a community’s water supply, leading to an unsustainable water supply.
New Mexico has been experiencing water supply diminishment leading to uncertainty in water supplies due to worldwide, regional and local atmospheric climate changes caused by rising greenhouse gases. There is strong scientific evidence that the current long-term drying trend, driven by warming and precipitation deficits, could worsen for years or decades into the future causing water scarcity and uncertainty (Udall, 2017). There is an urgent need for more groundwater management interventions. WaterWorks4All, is a groundwater well monitoring and usage reporting mobile application (App) to assist in increasing longevity of declining groundwater resources by stopping wastage, encouraging efficiency and providing self-governed conservation behaviors in the Middle Rio Grande. This solution takes an adaptation practical approach to water planning and management by providing a water management tool for users who rely on groundwater for agricultural crop production and domestic use well sharing. WaterWorks4All begins as a pilot project in collaboration with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) (MRGCD, 2020), focused on a select group of users dependent on groundwater wells. During the pilot the App will be analyzed, designed, developed, and tested in a real world setting before it can be made available to thousands of water users.

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2020-05-15

On-Site Renewable Energy Battery Storage

Description

This document contains a feasibility study that explores the necessity, collaborations, and
possible methods of installing a 1 megawatt lithium-ion battery storage facility at San Diego Gas
& Electric’s Century Park campus located in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood in central

This document contains a feasibility study that explores the necessity, collaborations, and
possible methods of installing a 1 megawatt lithium-ion battery storage facility at San Diego Gas
& Electric’s Century Park campus located in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood in central San
Diego, California. The battery will serve purposes of adding renewable energy to the energy mix,
reducing operations costs via peak shaving, an educational component for the region, and
meeting stringent State of California and California Public Utilities Commission mandates for
both renewable energy and battery storage capacity.

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2020-05-15

A Case for Co-Ops

Description

Abstract
A Case for Co-Ops (AC4CO) is a digital media outreach project that is intended to explore methods for increasing the impact of sustainability solutions, by helping to translate research implications into practical approaches for sustainable business design. The goal

Abstract
A Case for Co-Ops (AC4CO) is a digital media outreach project that is intended to explore methods for increasing the impact of sustainability solutions, by helping to translate research implications into practical approaches for sustainable business design. The goal for this project is to increase public awareness regarding latent sustainability benefits offered by the proliferation of worker-owned social enterprises. In effort to achieve this goal, AC4CO pulls together a collection of information and resources regarding the design of worker-owned business models that implement social and environmental safeguards. This collated outreach material is hosted on a dedicated website, which decentralizes solutions by making educational material accessible to a diverse audience. Notably, AC4CO features edits from exclusive one-on-one interviews with leading academic scholars from the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU, who share their expert understanding of various sustainable business practices. Each expert offers insight into an integral piece within the constellation of considerations that are involved in the design of sustainable social enterprise models – from procurement policies to waste reduction strategies. Parallel to these interviews, AC4CO also showcases the design process for an emerging, sustainable worker cooperative, by highlighting the incubation of a local beverage business called Together We Brew. This incubation process was directed by fellow sustainability solutions graduate student, Nick Shivka, in collaboration with his ASU project partners, on behalf of their incubator program’s pilot cohort of worker-owner recruits. Weaving these aspects, AC4CO’s video components synthesize fundamental research-based knowledge of solution strategies into plainly spoken dialogue and augments the discussion with tangibility that is delivered through a visual narrative. This narrative lends plausibility to the task of designing business solution strategies, by providing viewers a look into the process as peers work together to figure out how to structure a cooperative business model that can present viable economic opportunity, while also promoting social equity and environmental protection. By stripping away scientific research jargon and simultaneously presenting a visual rendering of a theory of change, AC4CO’s approach frames the content of the video components in a way that enables an inclusive vision to be shared with a broad working-class audience. This method is intended to foster popular appeal, by distilling complex and varying issues into concise key points, while following a clear and coherent storytelling strategy for sustainability solutions. Functioning as a call to action, these video components serve a critical role in the overall digital media outreach project by piquing the curiosity of viewers and inspiring them to engage with the website to learn more. In doing so, the video components support the website’s central mission of providing a consolidated anthology of educational and resource tools, as a strategy for encouraging workers to join the movement by creating new sustainable and worker-owned social enterprises around the United States.

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2020-05-13

Strategic Pest Management Booklets for Farmers in Kaffrine, Senegal

Description

When Kaffrine, Senegal, is faced with the threat of a locust plague, farmers tend to struggle with determining what actions and when they should take place to prevent a plague from occurring. The inability of farmers to readily identify the

When Kaffrine, Senegal, is faced with the threat of a locust plague, farmers tend to struggle with determining what actions and when they should take place to prevent a plague from occurring. The inability of farmers to readily identify the early threats of a locust plague is a primary issue that has been affecting communities in Kaffrine for millennia. Locust plagues affect the functionality of Senegal’s ecosystems, the welfare of its social systems, and the peoples’ economic opportunities.

The project focuses on the creation of 300 pest identification booklets that provide five villages in Kaffrine the proper education to prevent locust plagues from forming. I have partnered with the Global Locust Initiative (GLI) to help make these booklets come to fruition as the booklets target the lack of early detection awareness that is at the root of locust plagues. By providing the villages with these booklets, the farmers and community members, will be more educated on how to identify and act on the early threats of a plague. Additional outcomes of creating these booklets are as follows: improved well-being of the farming community, increased millet yields, and enhanced global food system sustainability. As locusts are a migratory pest, it is recommended that more stakeholders are provided the proper educational material to help them identify the early threats of a locust plague to prevent negative externalities from being imposed on the surrounding ecology, individuals, and agriculture.

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2020-05-13

An Epic-Cure Crisis Mitigation

Description

The original intent of the project was to attempt to mitigate the complex sustainability issue of systematic food waste via creating a guide that would educate users how to create a food saving organization that prevents edible food from ending

The original intent of the project was to attempt to mitigate the complex sustainability issue of systematic food waste via creating a guide that would educate users how to create a food saving organization that prevents edible food from ending up in landfills. The guide was going to be based on a nonprofit organization my family and I founded called Epic Cure, that has activated programs that serve to relieve community food insecurity, encourage community connectedness, support environmental health, and empower youth with entrepreneurial opportunity. The development of the guide was going to be based on my personal experience developing and running the organization, as well as my understanding of sustainable systems and frameworks. However, the original scope and plan of this project has shifted considerably since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. I have decided to put the guide on hold so that I can step into a space of agency via working in real time, to adapt my organization so that we can continue to operate when we are most needed. This shift is a response to the health and economic crisis that continues to unfold daily. In order to sustain the wellbeing of communities, the adaptation of a food aid service in the time of the crisis is an imminent need. This project shift not only serves to provide emergency relief, but also to identify gaps in the food distribution system and the supply chains that NGOs like Epic-Cure rely on so that we might be more resilient in the face of future shocks to the systems.

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2020-05-13