Matching Items (15)

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Understanding the Social Value of Solar Energy Production in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Description

With an abundance of sunshine, the state of Arizona has the potential for producing large amounts of solar energy. However, in recent years Arizona has also become the focal point

With an abundance of sunshine, the state of Arizona has the potential for producing large amounts of solar energy. However, in recent years Arizona has also become the focal point in a political battle to determine the value and future of residential solar energy fees, which has critical implications for distributed generation. As the debate grows, it is clear that solar policies developed in Arizona will influence other state regulators regarding their solar rate structures and Net Energy Metering; however, there is a hindrance in the progress of this discussion due to the varying frameworks of the stakeholders involved. For this project, I set out to understand and analyze why the different stakeholders have such conflicting viewpoints. Some groups interpret energy as a financial and technological object while others view it is an inherently social and political issue. I conducted research in three manners: 1) I attended public meetings, 2) hosted interviews, and 3) analyzed reports and studies on the value of solar. By using the SRP 2015 Rate Case as my central study, I will discuss how these opposing viewpoints do or do not incorporate various forms of justice such as distributive, participatory, and recognition justice. In regards to the SRP Rate Case, I will look at both the utility- consumer relationship and the public meeting processes in which they interact, in addition to the pricing plans. This work reveals that antiquated utility structures and a lack of participation and recognition justice are hindering the creation of policy changes that satisfy both the needs of the utilities and the community at large.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

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The Process of an Energy Retrofit at ASU

Description

This study aims to teach the reader about the process of making a building more energy efficient at ASU. In this study the importance of energy efficiency in buildings will

This study aims to teach the reader about the process of making a building more energy efficient at ASU. In this study the importance of energy efficiency in buildings will be discussed as well as how building efficiency is important for the three tiers of sustainability. The case of energy efficiency in the environment, economy, and society will be outlined with the intent of creating urgency for the implementation of energy efficiency. Environment, economy, and society, the three tiers of sustainability fit the model of energy efficiency because efficient energy is a principle of sustainability. Efficient energy can fill the gap between our energy system at present and the energy system of the future. This document outlines the steps that ASU goes through when there is an energy upgrade to a building on campus. It also includes a mock audit of the Psychology North building at ASU. This mock audit serves as an example to justify how the steps outlined in this document can be used to initiate an energy retrofit. A person who reads this document will be able to understand the energy retrofit process. The main argument is that there is room for student inclusion in this process, by giving students the knowledge on how to initiate an energy retrofit they have the tools to be included. Practicing building efficiency on campus will help ASU to succeed in accomplishing numbers two and four of their sustainability goals: "1) Carbon Neutrality, 2) Zero Solid/Water Waste, 3) Active Engagement, and 4) Principled Practice" (ASU, 2011).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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An Evaluation of the Inclusivity of the Conservation Biology and Ecology Concentration at Arizona State University

Description

The mainstream American environmental movement has a reputation for being ethnically homogenous (i.e., white), especially within the field of conservation. Low minority involvement has been noted and discussed in the

The mainstream American environmental movement has a reputation for being ethnically homogenous (i.e., white), especially within the field of conservation. Low minority involvement has been noted and discussed in the conservation literature and within environmental organizations, but these discussions aren't always informed by the explicit social justice concerns critical to understanding the complex intersection of environmental and social issues. Communities of color have expressed concern for environmental and conservation issues, but often frame those issues in a different way than is common in mainstream conservation science, a framing that we can appreciate through a deeper analysis of the values and goals of the environmental justice (EJ) movement. A more thorough inclusion of EJ principles could be an effective method to increase ethnic diversity in the field of conservation, particularly within higher education conservation programs like the Conservation Biology and Ecology (CBE) concentration at Arizona State University. This thesis frames the broader challenge of diversity in conservation, the history and current state of the conservation movement, and the history of the environmental justice movement via a literature review. I then evaluate the university's CBE program on the basis of its diversity through an analysis of demographic data on undergraduate ethnicity from the School of Life Sciences. I conclude with a series of recommendations for enhancing the diversity of ASU's CBE program moving forward.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Nuclear Power in the US; A Sustainability Investigation

Description

Is nuclear power sustainable when compared to other energy sources? A truly sustainable energy source provides an environmental benefit, minimizes costs to consumers both socially and economically, and continues to

Is nuclear power sustainable when compared to other energy sources? A truly sustainable energy source provides an environmental benefit, minimizes costs to consumers both socially and economically, and continues to do so in both the short and the long term. Taking the zero-carbon nature of nuclear generation as its net environmental benefit, this paper the evaluates the economic and social costs of nuclear power to determine if nuclear power's reputation as "unsustainable" is warranted. The sustainability of nuclear power is evaluated in two main categories. The first part focuses on the economics of nuclear power. There are many preconceived notions regarding nuclear power and its associated industry. This section addresses those notions to determine their validity given recent data. The prevalent types of nuclear plants across the U.S., the economics of the stages of nuclear energy production, and its competitiveness relative to other energy sources are addressed, culminating in an evaluation of its modern economic attractiveness as well as its future economic viability. A sustainability assessment would not be complete without addressing the social costs of an energy source, as a sustainable source must be both economically and socially viable. If it can be established that nuclear power can provide energy at lower rates and at a lower cost in terms of externalities, then it would be considered truly sustainable. To investigate those externalities, the second part of the analysis focuses on the human costs associated with the various stages of nuclear energy production. Those costs are then compared to those of alternatives sources of power, and selected case studies are examined to illustrate the ultimate risks associated with nuclear power operations. By quantifying these aspects and comparing the results to alternatives in the field, a better understanding of nuclear energy technology and its potential is achieved. The reader can then ascertain whether nuclear power's reputation as being "unsustainable" is, or is not, a reputation it deserves.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Industrial Food Systems: The Destruction Behind the Discourse

Description

This paper offers a radical critique of consumer capitalism and consumer activism through advertisements from Industrial Food Systems. I examine advertisements from Monsanto, Industrial Beef Farmers, and Waste Management in

This paper offers a radical critique of consumer capitalism and consumer activism through advertisements from Industrial Food Systems. I examine advertisements from Monsanto, Industrial Beef Farmers, and Waste Management in order to critique the rhetoric that these companies use and reveal the environmental destruction they are attempting to obscure through the strategic use of language and symbols. I argue that a deeper anti-capitalist analysis of Industrial Food Systems is necessary to subvert consumer activism and greenwashing tactics and to curb environmental destruction.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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National Parks: Preserving the American Concept of Wilderness

Description

In “The Trouble of Wilderness,” William Cronon (1995) states the concept of wilderness, historically, is based on the romanticized ideal of the “untamed” frontier that influenced the American expansion ideals

In “The Trouble of Wilderness,” William Cronon (1995) states the concept of wilderness, historically, is based on the romanticized ideal of the “untamed” frontier that influenced the American expansion ideals in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including the initial conservation movement. This idea of wilderness is defined by “empty” lands that needed to be utilized by the civilized Anglo-Americans, or lands that needed to be preserved from human alterations. Wilderness was separate from humans and, therefore, was also thought to be land that had been unaltered by human touch. The disappearing frontier was being turned into farmlands and civilization, so the Anglo-Americans, the ones who culturally viewed undeveloped land as a place for recreation, wished to save the ‘wilderness’ that was not yet being used. But as will be discussed it was in fact being used just not by the Anglo-Americans. This wilderness that they were trying to preserve became the national parks, such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. Under this rationale, Indigenous peoples were forced off the land to create the illusion of these places fitting this romanticized idea of wilderness. This essay examines the national parks in context of this concept of wilderness being free from humans and how national parks rationalized the removal of Indigenous people from these “wild” lands by using this concept of wilderness. Specifically, it uses the history of Yellowstone and Yosemite parks, which are some of the first parks to enter the National Park System, as sites of understanding how the idea wilderness was conceptualized by the American government during the late 1800s as places that are separate from humans. This essay argues that these ideals are based on racist and xenophobic approaches that the early United States government used in regards to relationships with Indigenous people. To discuss these ideas, this paper will examine the language used in early government documents regarding the policies of the national parks along with art and writings from this time period to show how the public and government viewed these national parks and the Indigenous people in the surrounding areas. Particularly, this paper will consider the original documents that established the national parks and the language that was used in these documents. It will then compare these policies from the origins of the national parks to the policies in place now regarding Indigenous people, such as the reparations that are trying to be made in these areas.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Water management and justice in the borderlands: perspectives from and analysis of the Santa Cruz River Basin

Description

The Santa Cruz River Basin shared by Northern Sonora and Southern Arizona is one example of transboundary water resources in the borderlands region that accurately portrays the complexities of binational

The Santa Cruz River Basin shared by Northern Sonora and Southern Arizona is one example of transboundary water resources in the borderlands region that accurately portrays the complexities of binational management of common pool resources, such as water. Industrialization fueled by trade liberalization has resulted in migration to and urbanization along the border, which have created human rights issues with the lack of water and sanitation, groundwater overdraft of the shared aquifers, and contamination of these scarce resources. Effluent from wastewater treatment plants continues to play increasingly important roles in the region, the use of which has been a source of tension between the two countries. Contributing to these tensions are the strains on binational relations created by border militarization and SB 1070. A shift in water management strategies to increase pubic participation within decision-making, increase the flexibility of the water systems, and increase cross-border collaboration is needed to ensure human and ecological sustainability in the Santa Cruz River Basin. By incorporating direct communication and local capacity as per common pool resource theory, recognizing the connections and implications of management actions through socio-ecological systems understanding, and promoting the organic drivers of change through ecologies of agents, just and vigorous futures can be envisioned and advanced.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Morals in transition: imaginaries and American national identity through three energy transitions

Description

This dissertation explores the functional purpose of imagination as it is enacted in the context of shaping large transitions in sociotechnical systems. Large sociotechnical systems undergoing profound transitions embody instantiations

This dissertation explores the functional purpose of imagination as it is enacted in the context of shaping large transitions in sociotechnical systems. Large sociotechnical systems undergoing profound transitions embody instantiations where societies experience profound changes in the ‘rules of the game’ that underpin the conduct of daily life. The forms of imagination that guide these transformations, known in the political theory literature as ‘imaginaries,’ play a profound yet undertheorized role in transition of sociotechnical systems from one configuration to another. Expanding on this relationship, the study draws on three case studies of energy systems change in the United States during 20th and 21st century. Each case study explores unique element of how actors at a variety of levels – transnational governance, regional electrification, and in-home energy marketing – define and the possibilities for ideal human and technological action and interaction through a transition. These actors defining the parameters of a new form of systems operation and configuration are as equally focused on defining how these new configurations shape fundamental ideas that underpin American democratic sensibility. Moreover, in the process of articulating a new configuration of energy and society – be that in terms of managing global resource flows or the automation of energy use in a residential home – questions of what makes an ideal member of a society are interlinked with new contractual relationships between energy producers and energy users. Transitions research could and should pay greater attention to the normative commitments emergent systems actors – as it is in these commitments we can chart pathways to redefine the parameters that underpin emergent transitions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Impact of social supports on persistent women engineers perspectives from the United States and India

Description

Lower representation of women in the engineering and computer science workforce is a global problem. In the United States, women in engineering drop out at a rate higher than

Lower representation of women in the engineering and computer science workforce is a global problem. In the United States, women in engineering drop out at a rate higher than their male counterparts. The male/female ratio in the engineering workforce has remained stagnant despite growing percentages of graduates. Women dropout due to familial responsibilities and they leave to take positions in other industries. In India, women are also employed at a lower rate than men. Many studies address the reasons why women leave, but few studies address why they stay. Those that do, address the personal and organizational characteristics that enable women to persist. Little research was found regarding the social supports that further women's ability to persist in the male-dominated field of engineering. This study surveyed 173 men and women engineers in the United States and India as well as collected qualitative data. The research focused on the social supports of family, friends, a special person, supervisors, coworkers, and professional networking, to determine how they support engineering persistence in the four demographics. The participants were scored on their level of persistence and the impact of social supports was evaluated against it. All supports were significant, although not for all demographics. Social supports of family, friends and a special person were more important to the sample of engineers from India, a collectivist culture. The importance of the supervisor relationship to women in the United States was reaffirmed. Professional networking, informal or formal, was the only support significantly related to persistence across all demographics. In the qualitative data there was a strong theme; coworkers are their friends and they support them in their engineering life. As companies re-think their organizational environment and attempt to change engineering culture and long-standing attitudes, women can engage in creating strong social supports and assist in building quality professional networking opportunities. A strong web of support strengthens a woman engineer’s ability to persist during difficult times and provides them opportunities for personal and career growth. It can also be a vehicle for furthering diversity and inclusion in their organizations.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016