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Determining the effectiveness of the water conservation implementations within the City of Tempe's neighborhood grant program

Description

Two large sectors of water consumption within cities are: city owned irrigated landscape (such as parks) and household consumption. A related, third sector of consumption that has very little research behind it is shared landscapes in residential communities. Neighborhood communities,

Two large sectors of water consumption within cities are: city owned irrigated landscape (such as parks) and household consumption. A related, third sector of consumption that has very little research behind it is shared landscapes in residential communities. Neighborhood communities, including those with formal Homeowner’s Associations and informal Neighborhood Associations, have common landscapes they are responsible for up-keeping and irrigating. 208 neighborhood communities exist within the City of Tempe. Each year the city provides $30,000 in grant funding to these 208 neighborhoods to implement water conservation projects. This thesis focuses on ten neighborhoods who had applied and were granted funding to implement a conservation project between the years 2011 and 2016. My findings showed that this program has not been effective in reducing water consumption, wither due to the lack of implementation or the small-scale of the projects. From my research and synthesis, I suggest a layer of accountability be added to the program to ensure projects are effective and participants are implementing their projects and that the program is effective overall. This study provides the City of Tempe with relevant and viable information to aid management of water consumption and conservation within neighborhoods.

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2019-05

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Social-Life Cycle Assessment: Oil Extraction in Section 1002 of the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Description

Drilling in Section 1002 has been an ongoing debate since the region was designated as a potential area for drilling projects, pending congressional approval in 1980. In 2017, the area was officially opened up for oil and gas development through

Drilling in Section 1002 has been an ongoing debate since the region was designated as a potential area for drilling projects, pending congressional approval in 1980. In 2017, the area was officially opened up for oil and gas development through its passage in the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This act requires 2 lease sales of 400,000 acres, with an allowed 2,000 acre physical footprint (not including pipelines, ice roads, or gravel mines). Using Social-Life Cycle Assessment methodology to assess the process of oil extraction in Section 1002, significant benefits and drawbacks of drilling in this region, with economic, cultural, and social impacts ranging from the local level to the state level to the national level were identified.

Stakeholders impacted by oil development in the Section 1002 region include the Kaktovik community who lives within the Program Area, the Gwich’in people who live south of ANWR, the corporations who will be leasing the land, as well as the employees who will be working on the projects. These stakeholders share similar values and interests, however, when it comes down to the attainment of these values, there are significant differences in opinion. This debate comes down specifically to the desire to ensure stability for one’s family and community, as this means 2 different things to the majority stakeholders on this issue: The Inupiaq and the Gwich’in. The Inupiaq ,who live in Kaktovik specifically ,are particularly keen on the idea of drilling in the Section 1002 region, because the revenues and opportunities that come with the oil and gas development provide access to better standards of living and a more westernized way of life. The Gwich’in, however, value their relationship to the land and the caribou that are at risk of significant change. These 2 groups are critical to the debate, but the state and federal governments have the final say, and a financial incentive to move forward with the lease sales.

Utilizing the S-LCA framework, life cycle impacts of drilling on society are found using indicators that are identified and assessed using both qualitative and quantitative means. Although some conclusions are uncertain due to the forward-looking nature of this S-LCA, the Increasing/Decreasing trends can be identified and confidently attributed to the specific indicators.

Significant Results:
Significant issues this study has highlighted include the resulting impacts, both positive and negative, on the communities affected by oil and gas development in Section 1002. Significant stakeholders include the Kaktovik community, the Gwich’in people, the oil and gas workers in the state of Alaska, and the oil and gas companies themselves. The local residents are the most affected by the impacts of development, with significant issues pertaining to potential for significant lifestyle change, the increased risk of impact on subsistence species, the risks associated with pollution, and the effect on the economy through revenues and job availability.

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2019-05

Heterogeneous Catalysis for Organic Reactions

Description

This honors thesis is focused on two separate catalysis projects conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Javier Pérez-Ramírez at ETH Zürich. The first project explored ethylene oxychlorination over supported europium oxychloride catalysts. The second project investigated alkyne semihydrogenation over nickel

This honors thesis is focused on two separate catalysis projects conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Javier Pérez-Ramírez at ETH Zürich. The first project explored ethylene oxychlorination over supported europium oxychloride catalysts. The second project investigated alkyne semihydrogenation over nickel phosphide catalysts. This work is the subject of a publication of which I am a co-author, as cited below.

Project 1 Abstract: Ethylene Oxychlorination
The current two-step process for the industrial process of vinyl chloride production involves CuCl2 catalyzed ethylene oxychlorination to ethylene dichloride followed by thermal cracking of the latter to vinyl chloride. To date, no industrial application of a one-step process is available. To close this gap, this work evaluates a wide range of self-prepared supported CeO2 and EuOCl catalysts for one-step production of vinyl chloride from ethylene in a fixed-bed reactor at 623 773 K and 1 bar using feed ratios of C2H4:HCl:O2:Ar:He = 3:3 6:1.5 6:3:82 89.5. Among all studied systems, CeO2/ZrO2 and CeO2/Zeolite MS show the highest activity but suffer from severe combustion of ethylene, forming COx, while 20 wt.% EuOCl/γ-Al2O3 leads to the best vinyl chloride selectivity of 87% at 15.6% C2H4 conversion with complete suppression of CO2 formation and only 4% selectivity to CO conversion for over 100 h on stream. Characterization by XRD and EDX mapping reveals that much of the Eu is present in non-active phases such as Al2Eu or EuAl4, indicating that alternative synthesis methods could be employed to better utilize the metal. A linear relationship between conversion and metal loading is found for this catalyst, indicating that always part of the used Eu is available as EuOCl, while the rest forms inactive europium aluminate species. Zeolite-supported EuOCl slightly outperforms EuOCl/γ Al2O3 in terms of total yield, but is prone to significant coking and is unstable. Even though a lot of Eu seems locked in inactive species on EuOCl/γ Al2O3, these results indicate possible savings of nearly 16,000 USD per kg of catalyst compared to a bulk EuOCl catalyst. These very promising findings constitute a crucial step for process intensification of polyvinyl chloride production and exploring the potential of supported EuOCl catalysts in industrially-relevant reactions.

Project 2 Abstract: Alkyne Semihydrogenation
Despite strongly suffering from poor noble metal utilization and a highly toxic selectivity modifier (Pb), the archetypal catalyst applied for the three-phase alkyne semihydrogenation, the Pb-doped Pd/CaCO3 (Lindlar catalyst), is still being utilized at industrial level. Inspired by the very recent strategies involving the modification of Pd with p-block elements (i.e., S), this work extrapolates the concept by preparing crystalline metal phosphides with controlled stoichiometry. To develop an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional hydrogenation catalysts, nickel, a metal belonging to the same group as Pd and capable of splitting molecular hydrogen has been selected. Herein, a simple two-step synthesis procedure involving nontoxic precursors was used to synthesize bulk nickel phosphides with different stoichiometries (Ni2P, Ni5P4, and Ni12P5) by controlling the P:Ni ratios. To uncover structural and surface features, this catalyst family is characterized with an array of methods including X-ray diffraction (XRD), 31P magic-angle nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS-NMR) spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Bulk-sensitive techniques prove the successful preparation of pure phases while XPS analysis unravels the facile passivation occurring at the NixPy surface that persists even after reductive treatment. To assess the characteristic surface fingerprints of these materials, Ar sputtering was carried out at different penetration depths, reveling the presence of Ni+ and P-species. Continuous-flow three-phase hydrogenations of short-chain acetylenic compounds display that the oxidized layer covering the surface is reduced under reaction conditions, as evidenced by the induction period before reaching the steady state performance. To assess the impact of the phosphidation treatment on catalytic performance, the catalysts were benchmarked against a commercial Ni/SiO2-Al2O3 sample. While Ni/SiO2-Al2O3 presents very low selectivity to the alkene (the selectivity is about 10% at full conversion) attributed to the well-known tendency of naked nickel nanoparticles to form hydrides, the performance of nickel phosphides is highly selective and independent of P:Ni ratio. In line with previous findings on PdxS, kinetic tests indicate the occurrence of a dual-site mechanism where the alkyne and hydrogen do not compete for the same site.

This work is the subject of a publication of which I am a co-author, as cited below.

D. Albani; K. Karajovic; B. Tata; Q. Li; S. Mitchell; N. López; J. Pérez-Ramírez. Ensemble Design in Nickel Phosphide Catalysts for Alkyne Semi-Hydrogenation. ChemCatChem 2019. doi.org/10.1002/cctc.201801430

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2019-05

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Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Arizona

Description

Climate change, as it becomes more prevalent, is putting a much harsher strain on the resources of the world, specifically food, energy, and water. With this in mind, now is the time to make a change and begin working towards

Climate change, as it becomes more prevalent, is putting a much harsher strain on the resources of the world, specifically food, energy, and water. With this in mind, now is the time to make a change and begin working towards a more sustainable future for everyone. Arizona is an especially susceptible location that has the opportunity to be the leader of this change. In order to effectively manage this movement through governance, a food-energy-water nexus approach is required. This approach recognizes and accounts for the intricate relationships between these industries in order to promote more resilience and balance throughout the nexus. While the main focus in Arizona tends to be on water, and rightfully so, it is important to understand the intricacies of the food, energy, and water systems together. Right now, the system is fragile and needs a new, more complex approach. Ultimately, legislation that intertwines water rights with agriculture regulation and energy production goals, while also including equity and justice measures, have the capacity to work towards limiting the effects of climate change that Arizona will see. Arizona has the opportunity here to either provide a cautionary tale to other regions of how mismanagement can lead to destruction or can showcase the legislative success that the nexus governance approach can provide.

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2020-05

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Struggle for Existence: Mexican Gray Wolves in the American Southwest

Description

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and a recovery program is underway in Arizona and New Mexico to restore its population. However, the wolf is struggling to recover due to high mortality, which is a result of continued human hostility toward it. This thesis examines historical and current human attitudes toward the wolf and the implications that they have had on the extermination and recovery of the subspecies. An overview is given of wolf biology, the history of wolf extermination and recovery, and recent events relating to the recovery of the wolf. Negative impacts on ranching, hunting, and human safety are the main reasons for opposition toward wolves and wolf recovery; these concerns are analyzed, and solutions to them are proposed, with the goal of addressing them while fostering non-lethal coexistence with the wolf. In addition, opposition to wolves and wolf recovery is tied in with larger socio-political issues and is influenced by the representation of the wolf in culture; these issues in the context of wolves are also analyzed.

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2017-05

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A Tale of Two Canyons: Abiotic factors and the distribution of a pathogenic fungus in southeastern Arizona

Description

Chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has played a significant role in global amphibian declines. Researchers studying Bd aim to gain a better understanding of how this pathogen survives in unique microhabitats to

Chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has played a significant role in global amphibian declines. Researchers studying Bd aim to gain a better understanding of how this pathogen survives in unique microhabitats to promote persistence of amphibians in their natural habitat. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has worked for the last 12 years to recover populations of Chiricahua Leopard Frogs to ensure the species survives in the Huachuca Mountains in southeastern Arizona. During this time, the department tested for Bd throughout their release sites. As a result of large differences in prevalence noted in prior sampling for Bd in Miller and Ramsey canyons, I investigated abiotic factors that could explain these differences. I analyzed water samples from two canyons in the Huachuca Mountains and used nutrient analysis and filter extraction to test for differences in abiotic factors between these two sites that could affect Bd transmission. Results show that Ramsey Canyon was a positive site for Bd, while Miller Canyon remained negative. Results from water temperature estimates as well as a test for 30 elements revealed possible reasons for differences in Bd transmission between the two canyons.

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2017-05

Educational Workshops to Bring Awareness of Animal Related Careers in the Framework of Animal Welfare and Conservation

Description

American youth are not well exposed to animal- and nature-related careers. This is especially important to consider due to the recent push to be more environmentally conscious. In addition, youth are spending less time outside and more time in front

American youth are not well exposed to animal- and nature-related careers. This is especially important to consider due to the recent push to be more environmentally conscious. In addition, youth are spending less time outside and more time in front of screens. This is driving down biophilia strength. The combination of a weaker connection with nature and more screen time has been connected to a new condition named Nature-Deficit Disorder. In order to expose youth to animal- and nature-related careers while attempting to combat the growing presence of Nature-Deficit Disorder, a three day teaching program named Wild Careers was created. This program was presented to teens in December 2015 through a partnership with the education department of Arizona Animal Welfare League. The curriculum was centered on highlighting relevant careers and background information. Topics such as animal welfare and conservation were taught as cornerstones during the program due to their encompassing importance to the career fields in question. It was felt to be important to inform participants about the context of these fields through specially planned activities and guest speakers. Participants were challenged to conduct online research, think critically, and get hands-on during this program. Wild Careers also exposed the participants to animals and the relevant species management stories. The surveys given before and after the presentation of the created curriculum provided evidence that supported an increased understanding of careers and enjoyment of participants. I propose that other non-formal teaching environments should be created that target exposing youth to animals, nature, and related careers.

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2016-05

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Effects of Framing on Public Support for Pro-Environmental Policies

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This thesis examines how the wording of proposed government policies can affect the level of public support that a given policy generates. By surveying 158 Phoenix residents, I tested the differing degrees of support that voters would have for a

This thesis examines how the wording of proposed government policies can affect the level of public support that a given policy generates. By surveying 158 Phoenix residents, I tested the differing degrees of support that voters would have for a proposed city ordinance, which would stop Homeowners' Associations from restricting the use of native desert plants in residential landscaping. The ordinance was framed in the survey as a self-governance issue or a water conservation issue. I found that the message frames had little effect on the overall level of support for the ordinance, since most residents had moderate support for the policy. However, participants who were either residents of Homeowners' Associations that did not have native plant restrictions, or native residents of Arizona, demonstrated greater levels of support for the self-determination frame of the proposed ordinance. These findings have implications for policy makers who use targeted messages to establish pro-environmental policies at the local level.

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2013-05

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Accredited Zoos and How They Inspire People to Care About Conservation

Description

Human activities around the world are threatening scores of wildlife species, pushing them closer to extinction. In order to address what many conservationists view as a global biodiversity crisis, it is vital that more people are inspired to care about

Human activities around the world are threatening scores of wildlife species, pushing them closer to extinction. In order to address what many conservationists view as a global biodiversity crisis, it is vital that more people are inspired to care about wild animals and motivated to act in ways that help protect them. The up-close experiences and personal connections that people form with wild animals in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) can help achieve this. However, it is not very well understood how different types of encounters within these zoos may inspire conservation mindedness and pro-environmental behaviors. During this thesis project, surveys were conducted at the AZA-accredited Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo to understand how interactive, hands-on animal experiences within zoos differ from passively viewing zoo animals when it comes to inspiring people to care about conservation. The Phoenix Zoo is home to two different species of giraffes, and guests can view them from the front of the Savanna Exhibit. Guests can also participate in the Giraffe Encounter, which is a much more interactive, hands-on experience. After surveying guests at both locations, the results showed that fewer people at the Giraffe Encounter responded that they often engage in pro-environmental behaviors. This may indicate that the people who participated in the Giraffe Encounter came to the zoo more for recreation and entertainment than to learn about wildlife. Despite this, more people learned something new about nature or conservation at the Giraffe Encounter than they did at the Savanna Exhibit. On average, guests also felt that the Giraffe Encounter motivated them to learn more about how to help animals in the wild than the Savanna Exhibit did. Overall, there is a strong correlation between having an interactive, hands-on experience with a zoo animal and caring more about wildlife conservation. However, more research still needs to be done in order to conclusively provide evidence for causation.

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2019-12

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Inspiring Young Learners in Arizona Through Sustainability and Reptile Conservation Education

Description

This 15-week long course is designed to introduce students, specifically in Arizona, to basic sustainability and conservation principles in the context of local reptile wildlife. Throughout the course, the students work on identifying the problem, creating visions for the desired

This 15-week long course is designed to introduce students, specifically in Arizona, to basic sustainability and conservation principles in the context of local reptile wildlife. Throughout the course, the students work on identifying the problem, creating visions for the desired future, and finally developing a strategy to help with reptile species survival in the valley. Research shows that animals in the classroom have led to improved academic success for students. Thus, through creating this course I was able to combine conservation and sustainability curriculum with real-life animals whose survival is directly being affected in the valley. My hope is that this course will help students identify a newfound passion and call to action to protect native wildlife. The more awareness and actionable knowledge which can be brought to students in Arizona about challenges to species survival the more likely we are to see a change in the future and a stronger sense of urgency for protecting wildlife. In order to accomplish these goals, the curriculum was developed to begin with basic concepts of species needs such as food and shelter and basic principles of sustainability. As the course progresses the students analyze current challenges reptile wildlife faces, like urban sprawl, and explore options to address these challenges. The course concludes with a pilot pitch where students present their solution projects to the school.

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2021-05