Matching Items (14)

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

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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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  • 2016-12

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Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Arizona

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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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  • 2020-05

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

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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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  • 2015-12

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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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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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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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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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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Media Witnessing for Environmental Justice

Description

Media witnessing and storytelling for environmental justice (EJ) provide an avenue to understand the relationships between “multiple realities of environmental injury” and to analyze “fleeting phenomena with lasting form; thereby

Media witnessing and storytelling for environmental justice (EJ) provide an avenue to understand the relationships between “multiple realities of environmental injury” and to analyze “fleeting phenomena with lasting form; thereby transforming phenomena that are experienced in a plurality of lives into publicly recognized history” (Houston, 2012, 419, 422). This creates opportunities to challenge and eradicate the oppressive structures that deem certain individuals and groups disposable and ultimately protect the possessive investment in whiteness. Therefore, for the purposes of EJ, media witnessing creates space for dynamic, citizen-based storytelling which can undermine narratives that promote the life versus economy framework that has perpetuated oppression, injustice, and state sanctioned violence. Media witnessing in an EJ context demonstrates the potential for collective understanding and action, political opportunities, and healing.<br/>This paper is an analysis of the process of media witnessing in regards to the Flint Water Crisis and the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and will apply an EJ lens to this phenomenon. It will discuss how media witnessing in response to these two crises can be used as a precedent for understanding and utilizing this framework and digital storytelling to address the crises of 2020, primarily the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. It will then examine how the intersectionality of race, gender, and age has implications for future media witnessing and storytelling in the context of EJ movements. Finally, it will explain how media witnessing can motivate holistic policymaking in the favor of EJ initiatives and the health and wellbeing of all Americans, as well as how such policymaking and initiatives must acknowledge the double-edged sword that is social media.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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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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  • 2017-05

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Earth, Society, and Justice: An Annotated Syllabus for a Political Geology Course Informed by Decolonial, Radical, and Environmental Justice Theories

Description

Geology and its tangential studies, collectively known and referred to in this thesis as geosciences, have been paramount to the transformation and advancement of society, fundamentally changing the way we

Geology and its tangential studies, collectively known and referred to in this thesis as geosciences, have been paramount to the transformation and advancement of society, fundamentally changing the way we view, interact and live with the surrounding natural and built environment. It is important to recognize the value and importance of this interdisciplinary scientific field while reconciling its ties to imperial and colonizing extractive systems which have led to harmful and invasive endeavors. This intersection among geosciences, (environmental) justice studies, and decolonization is intended to promote inclusive pedagogical models through just and equitable methodologies and frameworks as to prevent further injustices and promote recognition and healing of old wounds. By utilizing decolonial frameworks and highlighting the voices of peoples from colonized and exploited landscapes, this annotated syllabus tackles the issues previously described while proposing solutions involving place-based education and the recentering of land within geoscience pedagogical models. (abstract)

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Disconnected: investigating the social and political conditions shaping Mexico City's air quality regulatory environment

Description

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables contributing to this persistent problem. A historical background reveals current programs and policies implemented to improve Mexico’s City air quality. Mexico City’s current systems, infrastructure, and policies are inadequate and ineffective. There is a lack of appropriate regulation on other modes of transportation, and the current government system fails to identify how the class disparity in the city and lack of adequate education are contributing to this ongoing problem. Education and adequate public awareness can potentially aid the fight against air pollution in the Metropolitan City.

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Date Created
  • 2018