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Collaborative workshop on sustainable future wins honor

April 15, 2010

Sustainability embodies the idea of transformative change and social-environmental stewardship. It compels us to think beyond linear projections of the past into systemically exploring and constructing alternative futures that foster the goals of intra- and inter-generational equity.

Motivated by these ideas, a team of faculty from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University collaborated with community partners to design a graduate-level workshop course that engaged students with stakeholders to systematically explore and develop future scenarios for agriculture in Central Arizona, to assess them using sustainability principles and to explore options for transitioning to more sustainable future states. Their efforts were recognized with a President's Award for Sustainability.

As opposed to the commonly used methodology of projecting past trends linearly into the future which suggests that non-Indian agriculture in central Arizona will be phased out by 2050, the students developed three alternative scenarios with inputs from the stakeholders.

The scenarios were termed as: Nearly Las Vegas, Agricultural-Urban Partnership and Powered by Arizona. These scenarios have been presented in three public forums to the community and have generated a lot of interest in collectively visioning what we as a society desire for the future and the steps we need to take to reach there.

Team members:
Rimjhim Aggarwal, School of Sustainability
Jim Holway, Sonoran Institute
Arnim Wiek, School of Sustainability
Susan Ledlow, School of Sustainability
Katja Brundiers, School of Sustainability
Summer Waters, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Erin Taylor, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Julia Bausch, School of Sustainability
Manjyot Bhan, School of Sustainability
Edgar Cardenas, School of Sustainability
Jessica Fox, School of Sustainability
Anna Krithis, School of Sustainability
Genevieve Metson, School of Sustainability
Yun Ouyang, School of Sustainability
Haley Paul, School of Sustainability
Carissa Taylor, School of Sustainability
Alicia Woodbury, School of Social Transformation
Lee Farr, ASU student