Home Page Display: 
 
image title

Morrison-Cronkite News poll shows 2 in 5 know someone with painkiller addiction

ASU-released poll shows 1 in 7 adults know someone who overdosed on pain pills.
April 12, 2017

Major survey released by ASU shows sweep of opioid abuse and addiction epidemic

A major poll released by Arizona State University on Wednesday shows 2 in 5 adults in Arizona know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, a finding that shows the sweep of the opioid abuse and addiction epidemic.

The Morrison-Cronkite News Poll, “Arizonans’ Opinions on Opioids and Addiction,” also showed 1 in 7 Arizona adults know someone who has died from an opiate pill overdose.

“Our polls continue to add key insight and data on important and complex issues facing the state and nation including in this case, opioid availability, abuse and addiction,” said Thom Reilly, director of Morrison Institute for Public Policy. “The findings show how widespread this epidemic manifests itself across a variety and multiple demographics. Poll results should help policymakers, medical professionals, community groups and the public better address this serious problem through improved awareness, policies and practices.”

The survey — a joint project between ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS — builds off the Cronkite News documentary “Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction,” Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Christopher Callahan said.

“The Morrison-Cronkite News Poll is part of our continued commitment to reporting on this critical health issue that impacts so many people,” Callahan said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 78 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses in the U.S.

The Cronkite School’s 30-minute, commercial-free documentary on prescription opioid abuse was produced by more than 100 students under the guidance of 15 faculty members. It reached more than 1 million Arizonans in January.

Nearly 60 percent of Arizonans said they believe opioid painkillers are “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to get, despite continual efforts by the state and federal governments to further regulate and restrict the drug’s availability. The poll showed nearly 3 in 5 Arizona adults believe “prescription painkiller abuse makes a person more likely to use heroin or other illegal drugs.”

The poll showed the use of prescription pain relievers among Arizonans with ongoing pain increases with age (18–35 years old: 23 percent; 36–64: 38 percent; 65–plus: 41 percent). Overall, 36 percent of Arizonans in chronic pain use prescription pain relievers.

Throughout the poll report, comparisons were made to the national findings from the Henry I. Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll from November 2015. The Morrison-Cronkite News Poll’s findings were similar to the national Kaiser Family Foundation Poll.

The Morrison-Cronkite News Poll, conducted March 11–18, interviewed 800 randomly selected Arizona adults. The sample was quota-selected from 18 strata based on age, gender and race to match the demographic characteristics of Arizona based on the latest Census data. The sampling frame included both landline and cellular telephones, and interviews were conducted in Spanish as needed. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The complete Morrison-Cronkite News Poll and coverage from Cronkite News can be found at cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/04/12/perscription-opioid-addiction-az-poll.

In the past two years, Cronkite News has been committed to providing in-depth and sustained coverage of Arizona’s opioid epidemic.

In addition to the “Hooked Rx” documentary, Cronkite News has produced numerous stories on the opioid epidemic. In 2015, students produced “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” which reached more than 1 million Arizonans and won numerous prestigious journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and Arizona’s top Emmy Award. Both Hooked documentaries were produced in partnership with the Arizona Broadcasters Association.

 
image title

Q&A: Former NAACP head calls for-profit prisons 'morally corrupt'

April 12, 2017

Civil rights leader Benjamin Jealous slated as keynote speaker at ASU Law conference 'The Corporatization of Criminal Justice'

Human rights advocates and other critics of the private prison industry say profit-driven corporations have influenced the length and severity of sentences, disproportionately harming communities of color and contributing to social inequality and oppression.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department announced plans to end relationships with private prisons. But under the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the policy, which the president campaigned on, saying private prisons work better than federally run detention centers.

The reversal angered the activist community and put the issue back in the spotlight. To that end, a national conference, “The Corporatization of Criminal Justice,” is being hosted Friday at the Beus Center for Law and Society on Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus, featuring panel presentations, national figures, scholars, attorneys and advocates discussing the role of private prisons in mass incarceration and detention. 

Former head of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous has been slated as the keynote speaker.

Jealous, who now helps steer minorities into tech jobs, spoke to ASU Now, saying the for-profit prison system is “morally corrupt” and needs to be reformed.  

Question: I tried locating a scholar or panel member in support of the privatization of mass incarceration but couldn’t find any takers. Why do you think that is?

Answer: There’s a deep strain of skepticism that runs through American people on this issue. Generally speaking, people who have freedom tend to be leery about others profiting off of taking that freedom away from their neighbors. That skepticism has been affirmed again and again.

The most glaring example are the two judgesJealous is referring to the 2008 “kids for cash” scandal where Pennsylvania judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were convicted of accepting kickbacks from a builder of two private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles in return for harsher sentences and increasing the number of residents there. in Pennsylvania who took bribes to send juveniles, who ordinarily would have not been incarcerated, to private juvenile prisons in order to help the company keep their bed count up. So there’s the potential for that type of corruption that makes most Americans leery under this system — profit-making for incarceration.

Q: When did the idea of for-profit prisons start, and how did it gain traction?

A: It became very popular in the last 20 years as a way to address overcrowding of prisons. This issue became urgent for me when I was president of the NAACP, and we were fighting to shrink prison systems across the South.

On the one hand, we enjoyed great bipartisan support, and on the other hand, one of our biggest obstacles was not the prison guards’ union, but actually private prison companies.

These companies have the audacity to do what no other business had ever done — they had actually required the state to guarantee them a 90 percent-plus bed count for 20 years or more. An issue like that may not be legally corrupt, but it’s certainly morally corrupt, and it contributes to the bankruptcy of our state.

Headshot of

Benjamin Jealous

Q: States wanted to get out of the prison business because it was costly, but it sounds like the for-profit system is costly, too?

A: Private prisons initially presented themselves as a financial solution as mass incarceration rates were going up. Now that states are focused on reducing incarceration, they not only have become a political obstacle but a financial one, as well. The sad irony is that their staffs tend to be less well-paid, less well-trained, and therefore more likely to commit abuse. You end up with a very powerful lobby protecting an inferior corner of the industry.

Q: Critics of the private prison system also claim it unfairly impacts people of color and creates social inequities and oppression.

A: If you talk to lawyers, they will focus on disproportionality, which is a real problem. If you look at this problem domestically, black and brown people are much more likely to be incarcerated than their white neighbors. However, it’s equally important to look at this internationally — we do not just have the most incarcerated black and brown people on the planet, but we also have the most incarcerated white people on the planet. Both populations are massively overrepresented.

We have 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated in our prisons, and a white male in America is just as likely to be incarcerated as a black male. The pain and the devastation is significant across racial groups when it comes to mass incarceration.

The reality is that there are perverse incentives for private prisons to underserve inmates, and that’s a major problem.

Q: The undercurrent seems to be that everybody is calling for reform, but no one’s actually doing anything about it because it’s a massive challenge that will take decades to sort out.

A: The good news is that we’ve been successful in creative bipartisan consensus on reform in a wide range of states. We’ve done it at the ballot box in California, and we’ve done it with legislators in Georgia, Texas, South Carolina and New York, for example. There’s a lot to be optimistic when handling mass incarceration. President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are not just out of step with the American people, they’re out of step with their own people.

Q: What do you hope this conference can achieve given that everybody will have the same point of view and essentially you’ll be “preaching to the choir”?

A: With David and Goliath, all David had to do was survive. The purpose of this conference is to inspire a wide range of activists and lawyers to keep on playing the role of David in this struggle.

The public is welcome to attend the conference. For information on registering, visit campus.asu.edu/content/corporatization-criminal-justice.

 
image title

Q&A: National award highlights excellence of Cronkite investigative journalism

News21 investigation into voter rights takes Editor & Publisher magazine award.
April 11, 2017

Investigative reporting is essential to an informed public: It has the power to uncover exploitation, fraud and wasteful spending.  

But even with the explosion of publishing platforms, media outlets and political experts in the internet age, watchdog journalism remains as challenging as ever.  

Recognizing its importance, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has made the practices of records searches, detailed research and in-depth data analysis an integral part of its curriculum.

Recently, the focus paid off when a News21 investigation into voter rights resulted in recognition from Editor and Publisher magazine. “Voting Wars: Rights, Power, Privilege,” an in-depth large-scale news package, picked up an Investigative Reporters and Editors award with one judge writing, “Students matched or outpaced professional publications to show erosions in voter rights.”

The "Voting Wars" investigation brought together 31 students from 18 universities who traveled to 31 states and interviewed hundreds of individuals. They also turned out more than a dozen stories, hundreds of photos and more than 30 videos. The series was featured in more than 80 media outlets, including NBC News, USA Today and The Washington Post.

Jacquee Petchel is the executive editor of the Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia investigative reporting initiative, a digital news program headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

She is a former investigative reporter, editor and producer who most recently served as senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle, and she was inducted into the Cronkite School’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1997.

In addition to the recent voting rights package, Petchel has led students in national investigations focusing on food safety and on post-9/11 veterans and produced the half-hour documentary “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” which reached more than 1 million Arizonans and won numerous prestigious journalism awards.

She spoke to ASU Now about how Cronkite has taken a national leadership role in preparing the next generation of investigative journalists, how it has changed and evolved over the years, and the role it will play in the future.

Question: Is it misperception that investigative journalism has seen a decline or has eroded over time?

Answer: I would argue the perception in this country is that investigative journalism is as vibrant and — more importantly — as necessary as it's ever been.

I can say this unequivocally because I just judged a national investigative journalism contest based at Harvard and reviewed stories that exposed egregious betrayals of public trust and, in many cases, saved lives.

Far from withering on the vine, investigative journalism instead is evolving with innovative storytelling and multimedia presentations that are more engaging than ever.

Q: You’ve led several investigative journalism packages at Cronkite. Give me some specific examples of how your packages have created change?

A: Here's a perfect example: The Cronkite-based News21 investigative reporting program, funded by the Knight Foundation and other donors committed to the very work I'm discussing here, just won a national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for our 2016 investigation into voting rights.

It's one of the highest journalism honors in the country.

The judges noted that ASU students, as well as students from across the country who also participated in the investigation, “outpaced” professional reporters in several areas of our coverage.

Cronkite News also has been honored with the Alfred I. DuPont award, one of the highest professional broadcast awards in the country, for our "Hooked: Tracking Heroin's Hold on Arizona" documentary.

Q: How do you teach investigative journalism, which is often slower-paced, loaded with information and bigger picture, to a generation who grew up on BuzzFeed?

A: I believe that students at Cronkite are embraced by an environment that welcomes a new generation because we provide support for their ideas and innovation.

They represent a new future with their unending imagination and ability to reinvent how we continue to do important work.

We support their ideas in every way we can. That's the Cronkite mantra.

Q: Technology seems to be helpful to investigative journalism. Tell us how you use it in your packages and how it’s effective in storytelling?

A: Probably the most ever-evolving technology is the use of data analysis, which allows us to examine all manner of databases, particularly government data, and extract conclusions that hold public officials and others accountable. Add to that the importance of social media and all the analytics that go with it, you have a better-informed public and students with a sense of social responsibility.

Q: What do you see as the future of investigative journalism, or how will it continue to evolve?

A: Investigative journalism will always be what it's been for decades. Its critical evolution is dependent on reaching our audience in innovative ways while remaining true to compelling journalism.

Top photo: Jacquee Petchel, executive editor of the Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia investigative reporting initiative, leads a group of investigative reporters on a news package inside the Cronkite School at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo courtesy of Kaard Bombe

 
image title

She Se Puede: ASU alum creates opportunities for Latina girls in STEM

ASU alum leads Degrees of Freedom, a robotics team for East Valley girls.
April 6, 2017

Si Se Puede Foundation has been organizing robotics programs for East Valley students for nearly 20 years

Update: The Degrees of Freedom team won the Rookie All Star Award at this weekend's FIRSTFor Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Arizona West Regional 2017 and advance to the FIRST Championship competition in Houston during the weekend of April 22. 

A team of high school girls is ready to compete in a robotics competition Saturday in Phoenix thanks to a nonprofit organization founded more than 20 years ago by Arizona State University alumnus Alberto Esparza.  

The Si Se Puede Foundation focuses on helping children from low-income families achieve academic success, but they’ll take anyone who wants to join their robotics programs. Esparza said that since 1998, his program has seen about 85 students go on to become engineers. 

The group’s work highlights a range of outreach efforts from the ASU community that include Camp Catanese, a tech-heavy college access program for Phoenix students; CompuGirls, a STEM program for minority girls; Conexiones, an academic achievement program for children of migrant workers across Arizona; and the Upward Bound Project, a college prep program serving potential first-generation college students.     

The Si Se Puede Foundation’s newest team, Degrees of Freedom, a collection of predominantly Latina East Valley girls, wants to start gathering trophies. This is their story: 

–––

It’s spring break and a chilly, dark morning as seven young girls huddle together for a selfie in the Chandler Techshop parking lot.

The Degrees of Freedom high school robotics team is headed to Flagstaff for the FIRST regional robotics competition where they hope to claim the rookie all-star award for first time teams. Alberto Esparza, CEO of Si Se Puede that funds the team, checks everyone is present and snacks are accounted for as they get ready to leave at 5 a.m..

Outside the parents of Valeria and Camila Treviño huddle together as they see both their daughters off. They would go, but they can’t afford to spend time away from their jobs. As the vehicle begins to drive off, Valeria and Camila’s mother walks alongside as she waves goodbye.

–––

Alberto Esparza, with his graying hair and trimmed mustache, towers over children running through the Hartford Elementary cafeteria. Little ones tug at his shirt to show him their Lego robots or run into him for a quick hug. Esparza walks with a gait of authority that would have served him well 23 years ago as a probations and parole officer.

Thinking back to his undergraduate years, Esparza comments, “when I was at Arizona State University, I saw myself going into the FBI; I saw myself becoming an attorney. But I had a passion for the community.”

In 1993, Esparza felt he had reached a crossroads. He left corrections, and a lucrative position, to spend his life savings on creating the Si Se Puede Foundation with no previous non-profit experience and little support from his family — who couldn’t understand why he left a stable career path.

Esparza became the primary teacher of foklorico dance groups, soccer programs and even ESLEnglish as a Second Language classes with the hopes of improving the odds of succeeding in high school and college for the children of his East Valley community. Working in corrections had made him feel he was treating problems rather than preventing them. “It’s not that I’m a tough guy,” he said of his own success in school, “I grew up in that environment, too.”

After four years of work, Esparza found himself broke and sleeping in his unheated office on a cold November night questioning his choices. But that same year Si Se Puede received its first funding grant from United Way for $25,000.

“I don’t mind saying that the application that I filled out was filled out in pencil. I didn’t have a computer, typewriter, if you will, and I felt so uncomfortable when I submitted it.”

With the support of the Chandler Police Department and those who were familiar with his approach he secured the grant that allowed him to start Lego robotics programs in Chandler schools.  

“I decided, ‘why don’t I bring robotics to the East Valley to communities deemed at risk,” Esparza said. “Your zip code shouldn’t dictate whether or not these programs are available.” 

Today, Esparza’s Si Se Puede foundation partners with schools all over the Valley offering programs for a range of ages. His only rule is that they don’t charge students for participation. He has seen 85 students go on to study engineering at a variety of different universities and considers everything “his kids” go on to do a success.

As a young mother arrives at Hartford elementary and hugs her son, he points out she was once one of his students in elementary school. He remarks that this East Valley community is where his heart is and that his success may be impressive but a result of years of effort, “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m persistent.”

Before heading to Flagstaff for the FIRST robotics competition, the girls of Degrees of Freedom and the Binary Bots team, a co-ed team sponsored by Si Se Puede, spent every Saturday and sometimes weekday afternoons planning and building their team robots. Students from all over the Valley that participate in either team met at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, which adjoins the Chandler TechShop. The teams must raise $5,000 to compete and money to purchase tools and equipment. The students work with mentors from General Motors, ASU alumni and ASU students to raise money and build robots.

The theme of this year’s competition is “STEAMWorks.” Robots must pick up gears and balls and then climb a rope. 

ASU junior Ruy Garcia Acosta, who is now a mechanical engineering student, went through the program himself in elementary school and mentors students on both teams. He credited his time with Si Se Puede for opening up his perspectives.

“It helped be more intrigued about the engineering aspects,” he said speaking of his time in the program. Acosta manages to squeeze in time with high school students because, “I interact with the kids because they’re really smart and really bright, and I really like to make sure that they know that they’re on the right track.” 

Acosta and other mentors supervise students and provide insight as they design their robots and use the equipment to cut, drill and program. 

ASU alumnus Allan Cameron, a doctorate in elementary education, coaches the Degrees of Freedom team. He was part of the squad that beat MIT in a robotics competition that later was dramatized in the 2015 movie “Spare Parts.”

He met Alberto Esparza a few years ago at a party.

“He was thinking of starting a high school level team for the community,” Cameron said. “So there I am with a little drink in my hand, and I say if there’s anything I can do to help let me know. The next thing I know I’m spending five days a week working with the kids.” 

"Dr. Cameron," as the kids call him, helped Esparza start the Degrees of Freedom this academic year, purposefully making an all-girls team to create more leadership opportunities. Cameron, who has daughters of his own, sees the team as an attempt to address larger cultural influences that deter many young women from STEM fields. 

“Girls tend to get the Barbies. Guys tend to get the trucks, the dynamic stuff that moves,” Cameron said. “In here, they get to get dirty and break things … and culturally, we’re swimming upstream.”

Valeria Treviño is one of those young women on the Degrees of Freedom team and sees aerospace engineering in her future. Bailee Kagen is interested in quantum physics. 

Treviño and her sister on the team joined Si Se Puede in third grade and have participated in every robotics program offered. The girls are able to come afterschool because their mother drives them every day and even gives rides to other team members. Treviño’s parents wholeheartedly support their daughters, who will likely be the first in the family to attend university. “My mom wanted to give us opportunities she didn’t have,” Treviño said.

With a month left to go before competition time, the girls are testing, driving and adjusting pieces of the robot frame. “Let yourself get comfortable, and make sure you have it where you want it,” a mentor tells the girls. They take turns drilling a hole into a piece of rectangular metal that is part of the robot’s adjusted frame.  

Madeline Badger was using the drill as her teammates cheered her on. When she finished she exclaimed “nailed it guys!” Valeria Treviño, however, laughed, “You didn’t nail it, cause you’re not using nails.”

–––

The FIRST regional robotics competitions began in Flagstaff last month. Robots are weighed and measured to comply with competition standards. Teams are given the day to test their robots on the field or make adjustments before competition. The following day with music blasting and teams wearing matching red Mohawks and gold lame capes — there’s even a fully suited horse mascot — competition begins.

Months of labor are boiled down to a series of 2-minute rounds. As students compete, they collect points that give them their standing.

“I’ve had the time of my life,” blasts on overhead speakers the girls lip sync and goof off around the robot as they wait to compete in their first match. 

Degress of Freedom drivers, Valeria Treviño and Madeline Badger, do their team handshake before heading to the driving port. The first 30 seconds, robots function automatically and as a buzzer sounds Valeria and Madeline dart out for their controllers. They maneuver their robot around collecting gears and in the last 20 seconds push their robot to climb.

As the competition wears on, the team continues to perform. But their final two rounds are plagued with communication problems from the controllers and a loose piece of hardware that prevents the robots from climbing.

As winners are announced, the girls have their hearts set on the rookie team award, given to the strongest community influence in their first year as competitors. It allows the winner to advance to international competition.

At the end of the day, different categories are called, the girls place seventh out of more than 50 teams. But they tear up as the final winners are announced and they don’t hear their names.

Esparza reminds them how highly they placed for a first-time squad while Cameron reminds them of a lesson he reiterates often, “You’re here to fail, because if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing hard enough; you’re just doing all the stuff that everyone has done before.”

At the end of the night, the girls shake hands and congratulate other teams. As Esparza prepares to leave the auditorium, the girls come bounding across the floor smiling and laughing. They’re teasing a teammate for getting her first kiss, on the cheek, from a boy on a competing team.

“It was in front of everybody, and everybody was like ‘beso, beso, beso,’” said Valeria Treviño as her teammate hides her face in her hands.

Later, over a dinner of chow mein and stir fry, they discuss strategy of how to improve their chances at the next regionals at Grand Canyon University.

Sights, sounds and efforts of competition. 

 
image title

Rare ASU map collection reveals truths about history of American Southwest

"Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation" on display at ASU
April 6, 2017

Exhibit includes documents, digitized photos of 16th- through 19th-century maps; features details, perspectives that are often lost

An exhibit of rare maps at ASU is challenging assumptions about the history of the American Southwest by showing a range of details that conflict depending on what was being documented and who was doing the work, a curator with ASU’s School of Transborder Studies said.

“The maps show you things you didn’t expect or even know,” said Theresa Avila, co-curator of “Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation.” “For instance, that this area belonged to France at one point — or at least France thought so.

“These maps are documents; they’re historical; they’re produced by the most learned of their time. But there’s still a lot of errors and problems with them. … History is not only what we know, but what we don’t know. So these maps help us to learn what we don’t know.”

The collection will be on display at Hayden Library on ASU’s Tempe campus through May 19. Dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the maps document everything from peoples to borders to geographical features, and were created by a number of nations, including France, Great Britain and Holland — all that variation reveals portions of history that in some cases have been ignored.

A group of students recently toured the collection as research for a project looking at migration to the U.S. through Latin American countries. The maps were indeed useful for their research, but Avila said she “was also able to point out the migration from Europe to the Americas first. If we’re going to really talk about migration, who’s migrating where?”

All of the maps in the Hayden exhibit come from the School of Transborder Studies Simon Burrow Collection. Burrow, a global industrialist, accumulated the collection of more than 100 original maps and 200 books over nearly three decades out of a desire to better understand the U.S. and Mexico borderlands where he conducted business. He donated it all to the school in 2012, where it is on permanent display in the Interdisciplinary B buildingBurrow will be in attendance at a May 4 celebration to honor university donors from 4-6 p.m. at Hayden Library.

Avila calls Burrow’s maps “key maps,” because they are key in understanding truths about the history of the Southwest. For example, one map, created by the U.S. government in 1839, features the independent “Republic of Texas.” At the time, however, ownership of that land was in dispute between the U.S. and Mexico, which did not acknowledge Texas’ declaration of independence.

“This map in particular really highlights a very key moment … in the revision of history,” Avila said. “Texas was never a republic. But it’s still a very strong narrative in the U.S. mind. We feel that when the Alamo happened, we were justified. And yet, when you read the narrative of this map and the way Texas was taken over, we weren’t really justified in taking this land over hostilely.”

Greater Arizona map exhibition

School of Transborder Studies Director Alejandro Lugo has helped curate a map exhibition at Hayden Library that shows how Arizona and the Southwest have been depicted over hundreds of years. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 The images pasted directly onto the walls in Hayden are digital print reproductions of the actual maps, magnified so viewers can see the finer details. Some of the maps have been modified, like the one from 1866 marking the gold, copper and silver deposits in the region. Old photos of miners are affixed to the map at the location where they were taken.

“In an effort to remember and connect the different phases of development of Arizona” reads the accompanying plaque, “this map is paired … with Arizona mining history that is typically recognized as the state’s official history. Bringing both elements together allows for inclusion of communities typically omitted from Arizona history...”

The exhibit also features photos of the border region taken by School of Transborder Studies Director Alejandro Lugo, who co-curated the collection with Avila. Along the ramp leading up to the main level of the exhibit are photos of the existing U.S.-Mexico border fence. Along the bottom of a map from 1774 of the Spanish missions are photos of the missions as they stand today, taken by Lugo in 2016.

Pairing the past with the present in such a way makes the information more “inviting and accessible,” Lugo said. “It helps them to think about the longer history of the place and how we are a part of the landscape today.”

Most importantly, agree Lugo and Avila, the exhibit paints a more accurate picture of the history of the Southwest, and Arizona in particular.

On the state’s website, Avila said, history begins in 1912. “This collection reveals that this place — that Arizona — has a much longer story, and a much more diverse history than has been presented to us.”

Top photo: Theresa Avila, of ASU's School of Transborder Studies, shows how maps began to omit Native American tribes following the Indian Removal Act in 1830 inside the exhibition "Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation" in the Hayden Library on Tuesday. The project will be on display through May 19. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now 

 
image title

Stakeholders seek solutions for revenue gap at NCAA symposium

ASU hosts symposium for in-depth look at college sports, timed to Final Four.
April 3, 2017

University presidents, athletic directors and conference commissioners gather at ASU

A prominent leader in higher education said college sports revenue has been flourishing, but a great disparity is on the horizon as conferences align to make lucrative network deals.

“The rich will get richer, and the others will die,” E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, said Monday. “We need to come together rather than engage in hand-to-hand combat.”  

Gee’s comment came at a symposium, “Full Court Press: Media, Autonomy, and the Future of College Sports” on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

The timing of the event, which was hosted by the Sports Law and Business Program at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, was designed to coincide with the Final Four — the NCAA’s primary revenue generator.

The half-day conference brought together leading university presidents, athletic directors, conference commissioners and sports industry professionals to prompt an in-depth examination of college sports and where the industry could be headed in the years to come.

“By bringing together officials from both in- and outside collegiate athletics, this symposium melds the major forces influencing college sports — media, law and business,” said Glenn M. Wong, executive director of the Sports Law and Business Program.

In addition to Gee, other participants included Gene Smith, athletic director of Ohio State University; Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston; Keith Gill, athletic director of the University of Richmond; Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12; Janet Judge, president of Sports Law Associates; Mark Hollis, athletic director of Michigan State; Steve Smith, basketball analyst; Hania Poole, director of NCAA Digital and Turner Sports; Gary R. Roberts, president of Bradley University; and Kenneth Shropshire, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

The panel agreed one of the most critical issues facing college sports is the widening revenue gap between the institutions in the Power 5The five conferences are the Pac-12; Big 12; Big Ten; Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. conferences, and those in the remainder of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A.

Many wondered if those other schools would still be able to compete despite significant disparities.

“Financially, the model is broken and has always been dysfunctional,” Smith said. “Teams and conferences have to stay strong.”

Smith suggested regionalizing the conferences — an approach Division II schools have thrived on for years — to ensure that schools in every region have fair access to championships.

Regionalization would also reduce the amount of time student-athletes spend on the road in competition and allow them to better enjoy the college experience, Khator said.

“This takes a toll on a student-athlete’s time demands,” Khator said. “What comes first — academics or athletics?”

The panel also tackled issues such as diversity in administration, the power of autonomy, Title IX, social justice and the expanding role of digital media.

Poole said the NCAA now has 15 different media and digital platforms, and millennials are driving the way in which we view sports.

“People prefer to watch the game in many different ways as it fits their lifestyle,” Poole said.

Wong said by weaving these perspectives together at one event, participants gained a better understanding of why change is occurring and where the industry may be headed.

“Linking all of these individuals and their ability to make industry-shifting decisions highlights the significance of our symposium,” Wong said.

Participants also took time to praise Phoenix as the host site for the Final Four weekend.

“This Final Four is just a phenomenon,” Smith said, “and it’s been a great run.”

For a detailed look at the symposium's three panels, click here.

Top photo: West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee listens during a panel discussion on the state of collegiate sports at the "Full Court Press: Media, Autonomy, and the Future of College Sports" symposium Monday at the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix. The program featured officials from both the inside and outside of collegiate athletics, and it focused on major influences on college sports: media, law and business. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 
image title

Herberger Institute changes narratives with thought-provoking theater

ASU's Lance Gharavi says the stories we tell can shape the world.
Gharavi seeks to have "stages and screens more accurately reflect population."
March 31, 2017

Recent productions show how arts can challenge stereotypes and create change

With an all-black production of Shakespeare, an all-female production of “Men on Boats” and a new play about race, bias and “who the f--- has the right to tell whose story,” ASU’s Herberger Institute has prompted critical evaluations of some of the trickiest issues facing the nation today.

The productions show the value of art as a way to share experience, challenge stereotypes and misconceptions, and function as catalyst for change.

“The stories we tell, and the representations we create through art can transform the world we live in and help us to see and the imagine the change we want in the rest of society,” said Lance Gharavi, associate professor and artistic director in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Gharavi said creative storytelling can offer a different point of view, push a political idea or bolster social justice.

“Fifty years ago, it wouldn’t have been plausible to have a national conversation about whether or not gay people could marry one another,” Gharavi said. “They weren’t even in our stories, and we didn’t have representations of them.”

Gharavi points to the popular TV series " Will and GraceThe Emmy-Award winning sitcom aired on NBC from 1998 to 2006. " as having done “a lot of heavy cultural lifting” by telling stories that reflect society and producing a social reality for others to see.

When it’s difficult to tell others how you might feel, art can show it. Jericho Thomas, a playwright, screenwriter, actor and 2017 MFA Dramatic Writing candidate at Herberger, recently put this idea to the test.

A self-described “white, Christian male,” Thomas decided he was going to pen a play about “the black experience.” The result was “Writes,” a frank, new play on narrative ownership, misrepresentation of blacks in fiction and the loss of white privilege — and “race, bias and who the f--- has the right to tell whose story.” It was co-hosted last month by the ASU Center for the Study of Race and Phoenix’s Black Theatre Troupe.

Man with arms crossed

Herberger MFA Dramatic Writing candidate Jericho Thomas

“People have always told each others’ stories and places,” Thomas said. “However, I ascribe to the fact that a script is an invitation; an ask to come and play.”

And that’s exactly what Thomas did — he asked four black and four white actors from ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre to fill out his cast. He also sought out a black director, Joi Fletcher, to helm the play.

“The actors and the director liked what I was doing and wanted to explore the idea with me,” Thomas said. 

Thomas said “Writes” facilitated lots of dialogue among audience members. The experience also confirmed his belief that it was OK to write about “the black experience” as a white man.

“It’s not so much if I had the right, but can I do good?” Thomas said. “Will the work start a conversation? Can I use what I have learned to advance social justice in America through the arts?”

The arts, as demonstrated by the recent Herberger all-female presentation of “Men on Boats” and a Herberger-sponsored staging of “Julius Caesar,” which featured an all-black cast, can be an effective tool for challenging stereotypes and misconceptions.

Described as an anachronistic retelling of the Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869, “Men In Boats” is a fun, adventurous story of ambition, legacy and masculinity.

“In order for theater to fully represent our communities, if you underrepresent gender or people of color, then that’s not a true window into our society,” said director Tracy Liz Miller, who teaches Acting and Cinema Studies at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and is the co-founding artistic director of The Bridge InitiativeThe Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region, with the aim of gender parity across all theatrical disciplines..

Miller said females continue to be underrepresented in theater, and the play, which closed a two-week run on April 2, demonstrates the adventurous spirit of contemporary women.

“As one of my students said, ‘We get to be bad-ass,’” Miller said.

The Acting Company, a renowned New York-based theater troupe, kicked off a 15-city tour in Phoenix in January thanks to the support of an Arizona residency co-sponsored by the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The all-black cast performed “Julius Caesar” and “X: Or, Betty Shabazz vs. The Nation” at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.

Actor Jonathan-David said at the time that the plays “transcend color.”

Two men on stage

Jonathan-David as Mark Antony and Gabriel Lawrence as Julius Caesar in The Acting Company's production of "Julius Caesar." Photo courtesy of T. Charles Erickson

Sometimes the arts can allow for greater depth to be achieved with respect to how people can be seen said Donald Guillory, a history instructor in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, affiliate faculty of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and the author of "The Token Black Guide: Navigations Through Race in America."

“If we go beyond the generalizations and caricatures that are often presented about people when they are seen in the public sphere, we can begin to see the universal qualities and shared experiences that we have while appreciating the diversity of people’s experiences,” Guillory said.

That said, Hollywood historically ‘whitewashes’ characters and robs minorities of an opportunity to see themselves in positive roles. “Ghost in the Shell” with Scarlet Johansson and Johnny Depp in “The Lone Ranger” being recent high-profile examples.

Guillory called this practice problematic because it continues to erase people of color and “further permits the invisibility of their existence and issues.” He pointed out that James Bond began to enter this territory when fans were hoping that Idris Elba would be the next 007.

“This choice in casting would allow for audiences to see Bond in a different light with newer challenges that impact his personal history,” Guillory said.

Pushing back against that with nontraditional casting could help studios to reconsider how they do things, and ironically, the Bond series has made strides in that regard. The franchise recast the role of Moneypenny, traditionally played by white actresses, with Naomie Harris, who is black. They also replaced the traditionally male role of “M” with Dame Judi Dench, which added the dimension of a strong female character who confronts sexism head-on.

Guillory believes that be offering more diversity and inclusion with respect to casting would allow for more stories to be represented and greater depth to be achieved.

“It permits audiences to see people beyond the surface level,” Guillory said.  

ASU and Herberger can take a bow where that is concerned.

“We are leading the way in the Valley when it comes to making our stages and screens more accurately reflect the population at large and the kind of country we want to build,” he said.

“I’m really proud of what we do.”

Top photo: The School of Film, Dance and Theatre's production of "Men In Boats," which is made up entirely of people who are not. The play, which is a retelling of the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, closed on April 2 at the Galvin Playhouse in Tempe. Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

 
image title

ASU Library partners with Phoenix Pride to preserve LGBT history of Arizona

ASU archive shows "human side" of LGBT culture.
March 30, 2017

Bj Bud Memorial Archives help paint fuller picture of community; items to be on display at this weekend's Pride Festival

Laid out on a table in Hayden Library’s fourth-floor Luhrs Reading Room is an assortment of black-and-white photos, yellowing leaflets, musty T-shirts, tin buttons, ribbons and plaques.

On the cover of a newsletter dated Sept. 15, 1977, is a drag queen in full makeup, hair and dress, all gaping smile and wide eyes, white-gloved hand raised high above her head as if to throw all her cares away. The title of the periodical is “The Pride of Phoenix.”

“When you think LGBTLGBT is shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual. culture, you think this,” ASU Library archivist Nancy Godoy said, pointing to the cover photo of Cissy Goldberg, a well-known drag performer in the 1970s Phoenix gay community. But “there are also families.”

Herself a mother and a member of the LGBT community, Godoy has been working since 2015 to sort and organize the 151 boxes of artifacts that make up the Bj Bud Memorial Archives, which document the community’s history in Arizona from 1966 to 2015. She’ll be spreading awareness about the archives at this weekend’s Phoenix Pride Festival, taking place from noon to 9 p.m. April 1-2 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix.

Godoy gestured then toward a photo at the front of the table. It depicted a young boy of about 8 marching amid a crowd of sign holders. The photo is from Phoenix’s first gay pride march in 1981. The boy’s sign reads, “My mom is a lesbian — and I love her.”

“These photos show the human side of the community,” she said, “which has been dehumanized so much. It shows they’re not monsters.”

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Before Godoy began her work, the boxes full of artifacts sat untouched in storage at Hayden Library in Tempe since being donated in 2004 by the Valley of the Sun Gay and Lesbian Center. The center had been around since the early ’90s, providing Phoenix’s LGBT community with health services, support groups and educational programs. Over the years, it amassed the collection of artifacts that came to be a resource for anyone who wanted to learn more about the LGBT community and experience.

The collection was given the name “Bj Bud Memorial Archives” in 1996 after the passing of Harlene “Bj” Bud, in honor of her work as an activist in the 1970s, leading grass-roots efforts that included planning the first Phoenix Pride March and Rally and bringing awareness to the AIDS crisis in Arizona. When a lack of funds and manpower forced the center to close in the early 2000s, it turned the collection over to ASU Library in the hopes that it would continue to serve as an educational tool.

A recent recipient of the Arizona Humanities Rising Star Award for her archival work, Godoy sees the value in preserving the past. When she discovered the archives at Hayden, she felt compelled to bring them back to life.

“In order to get a real deep understanding of Arizona history, you need multiple perspectives,” she said, and a better understanding of history can lead to a better understanding of the present. “Today, in 2017, you see the LGBT community facing similar obstacles as in the 1970s, and even obstacles they faced before then. We need to look at history to not repeat missteps. This collection is a learning point.”

Around the time Godoy began recruiting volunteers to help with the archive, she met Marshall Shore, who bills himself as Phoenix’s “hip historian.” (Unprovoked, Godoy willingly backed up that claim: “Have you met him in person? His outfits are always great. I’m jealous.”) Shore was working with Phoenix Pride, which was moved to action after witnessing the demolition of beloved downtown drag bar 307 Lounge. Since the 1940s, it had provided a safe space, and now it was gone.

“When 307 was demolished, it brought a group of folks together who were noticing we had lost this important structure that was part of our history that held a good story,” Shore said. “So we decided to put together a project to start documenting that history.”

Shore and Godoy joined forces to create Arizona LGBT+ History Project, a partnership between Phoenix Pride and ASU Library to preserve and bring awareness to Arizona’s under-documented LGBT history.

“A lot of people, when they think gay history, they think New York, or San Francisco,” Shore said. “But there’s a big history of the gay community in the Southwest. And this project will help document those stories of perseverance.”

Librarian Nancy Godoy with items from the LGBT archive at ASU

When ASU Library archivist Nancy Godoy discovered the LGBT archives at Hayden, she felt compelled to bring them back to life. She sees the value in preserving the past. “In order to get a real deep understanding of Arizona history, you need multiple perspectives,” she said.

Godoy also recruited the help of ASU students and faculty, including Pamela Stewart, senior lecturer of history in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, who helped index scads of old photos. What struck Stewart was “how much great civil rights work was going on in a community many wouldn’t know existed in Phoenix and Arizona in earlier decades.”

It took Godoy and her team a year to create a detailed overview of all of the items in the collection, which is now available online. The physical items themselves are housed at ASU Tempe campus’ Hayden Library, where they are accessible to the ASU community and the public, but Godoy hopes to add photos of the artifacts as well as digital recordings of oral histories to the online archive site. (She and her team have already begun recording oral histories in Hayden Library’s mkrstudio.)

For now, the online component serves as a guide for those in the community interested in seeing what’s available to research, as well as what is not in the collection that they could donate. Currently, Godoy said, it skews more toward documentation of the experiences of white, gay males. Stewart said that could be for a number of reasons, including who could financially and socially afford to be out during the 1970s and ’80s, as well as who was doing the documenting.

“Some individuals and groups risk a great deal when they document their lives and interests and have worked to ensure invisibility,” she said. “But that is not the same as not existing or having no history. … We can’t continue to let people believe that a history of what we now term LGBT lives in Arizona doesn’t exist. That very attitude means that policy mistakes are made and bias and hate can roam freely.”

Godoy and Shore will be hosting a table at this weekend’s Phoenix Pride Festival to promote the Arizona LGBT+ History Project. They’ll have a timeline, artifacts from the archive and images on display, as well as educational pamphlets. The pair also hope to have traveling exhibits of the Bj Bud Memorial Archive, and in the coming months, Godoy will be organizing workshops at local libraries to spread awareness about the project and the archives that will teach attendees how to preserve their own pieces of history and encourage them to donate to the collection. For more info on that, go here.

It’s about making the resources available to the wider community, she said. Aside from educating the community at large, there are talks of the archives finding their way into the curriculum of ASU faculty members in women and gender studies.

Godoy has also been instrumental in establishing ASU’s first LGBT Faculty Staff Association, for which she serves as the secretary. The group’s constitution was finalized in March, and they are now working with the Rainbow Coalition — an umbrella organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual organizations at ASU — on a number of initiatives for Phoenix Pride.

It goes back to ASU’s charter, Godoy said. “It’s about striving to better ourselves and the communities around us.”

 
image title

No 'magic model' to drive growth, ASU jobs guru finds

With the outlook improving, ASU jobs guru knows there's no 'magic model.'
How does your state's jobs rate rank? ASU center offers free data to compare.
Arizona is in top 10 for job creation for the first time since 2013.
ASU professor finds no effect from voter initiative raising state minimum wage.
New feature on ASU economic site shows fastest-growing industry in any state.
March 29, 2017

Lee McPheters oversees one of the most comprehensive employment databases in the nation — and information is available to all

After decades of analyzing data on jobs, Lee McPheters knows this: There is no “magic model” to boost employment.

McPheters is the director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University and has been studying the federal jobs report every month for more than 30 years.

Everyone is always interested in jobs — and no more so than during the 2016 presidential election, when Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to restore jobs.

McPheters, a professor of economics in the W. P. Carey School Business, said the center avoids politics and sticks to the numbers, which paint a complicated picture.

Consider Arizona and California, next-door neighbors that are mirror images. The states have the same job-growth rateNon-agricultural jobs are not included in this statistic. of 2.6 percent.

“Look at California — high taxes, high regulation. And it’s a state that’s losing domestic population,” he said.

“And then you have Arizona, where we try to control taxes and regulation and are a top-five destination for people to move to. You have two different philosophies and yet these states are tied.

“There’s just a lot going on other than what you see on the surface.”

McPheters runs one of the nation’s most comprehensive databases on employment, called Job Growth USA, with statistics on all 50 states, 380 cities and 50 occupations. Some of the information goes back to 1941, when Arizona had 106,000 jobs.

Every month, McPheters and his staff crunch a fresh set of numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and keep their remarkable database up-to-the-minute accurate.

Want to know which metro area had the biggest increase in food-service jobs? Orlando, Florida — 11 percent more in February 2017 compared with last year.

Which metropolitan area just fell out of the top 10 for growth after six years? Denver.

And how is Arizona doing? In ninth place, our state moved into the top 10 for job creation in 2016 for the first time since 2013. Health care was the single largest source of growth, with 13,550 new jobs, 1 in 5 of the 68,000 jobs added in 2016 in Arizona.

McPheters’ latest report is good news for Arizona, which usually means a less intense focus on what he does. Everyone obsessed about jobs during the recession.

“When the economy is humming, people are not as concerned with what’s down because everything is up,” he said.

That’s where Arizona is right now.

“Growth is not as strong as we’ve seen in past recoveries, but we’re still a top-10 growth state,” he said. “We look at the parts of the economy that are doing well — health care, business and finance. That’s encouraging because those are knowledge-oriented jobs.”

McPheters has evaluated jobs data in the state and nation for more than 30 years.

And what about the minimum-wage increase? McPheters also evaluated the numbers for any effect from the voter initiative that raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour in January, and found none.

“We looked at food-service job growth, since our analysis showed 75 percent of food-service workers would be affected,” he said. “Compared to past Januaries, this was the largest increase on record, with over 12,000 new food-service jobs added year on year.

“We’ll be watching this play out over the next few months, since this is the kind of state-wide laboratory experiment economists need to really understand the economy.”

The centerThe the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center is part of the Seidman Research Institute, a self-supporting unit in the W. P. Carey School of Business. just added a new feature to the site that shows the fastest-growing industry within any state, by percentage and numbers. In California, the job category “support activities for water transportation” was up 17 percent.

McPheters has seen the tiny ticks up and down every month over the years, and this makes him wary of big jumps.

“During the energy boom, North Dakota became the number one job-growth state, and we just knew that wasn’t going to last,” he said. “Fracking was a new industry. But the question was, is it sustainable? And it wasn’t. North Dakota is now losing jobsNorth Dakota was the top job-growth state from 2009 to 2014, and it was 50th in 2015 and 2016. The states losing jobs in the February 2017 report were Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming..”

Besides Job Growth USA, the center also provides the Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast, on 12 Western states, and the Greater Phoenix Blue Chip Forecast. Both of those go beyond jobs, with information on retail sales, construction and wages. McPheters gives about 30 economic-forecast presentations a year for local businesses, government agencies and organizations.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the center published its reports on paper and sold subscriptions, which brought in about $50,000 a year.

“But we saw the writing on the wall that information wants to be free,” he said, and now the database on the website is available to anyone.

McPheters said the center’s work is significant because people love to compare states.

“I’ve found that having the rankings as an indicator of economic conditions is something people can really understand,” he said.

“It’s an important contribution to understanding the health of Arizona and other states.”

Top photo: Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University (in his Tempe office Wednesday), said the center avoids politics and sticks to the jobs numbers, which paint a complicated picture. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-4503

 
image title

ASU study shows effect of climate change on food, energy and water across Southwest

President Donald Trump's executive order on climate change is expected any day.
Arizona supplies live animals, other agricultural products across the region.
ASU study shows connection between food, energy and water.
March 27, 2017

Disruptions in Arizona would have ripple effects throughout the supply chain for several major US cities

With the world waiting for President Donald Trump’s executive order on climate change, an Arizona State University study on Arizona agriculture shows the potential effect of a warming planet on the state and the region by examining the food-energy-water nexus.

Disruptions from temperature increases could drop crop yields, require more irrigation and cause ripples, including increased food prices, throughout the Southwest, according to the paper from Andrew Berardy and Mikhail Chester of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

“One of the main things to take away from this is there’s a connection between energy and water in agriculture, and that connection is vulnerable to climate change,” said Berardy, who focuses on sustainable food systems.

“As temperatures increase,” he said, “as there’s more variability in rainfall, and less rainfall overall, these things are going to have cascading impacts, not only impacting farms and agriculture and our food system in general, but the energy and water systems that supply the necessities to grow food.”

Trump’s upcoming order could include changes to power-plant emissions standards that he has said are excessive. Opponents worry that without such protections in place, the U.S. would not reduce its carbon footprint.

For major Arizona crops, according to Berardy and Chester’s research, yields could drop more than 12 percent per 1 degree Celsius. It also could require increased irrigation of about 2 percent per degree, according to the study.

Disruptions would be felt locally and across the Southwest, including California, Nevada and Texas, affecting food supply chains to several major U.S. cities, the research shows.

Tucson gets all of its live animals and fish from within the state. It also gets the overwhelming majority of its “other agricultural products” and foodstuffs from Arizona. Phoenix, meanwhile, gets nearly 90 percent of “other agricultural products,” nearly three-quarters of its animal feed, and more than half of its cereal grains, foodstuffs and live animals from within the state.

Los Angeles receives nearly a quarter of its live animals from Arizona.

San Diego gets 14 percent of its animal feed from the Grand Canyon State.

El Paso takes 25 percent of foods other than animal products, feed and milled grains from Arizona.

But more than anything else, Arizona ships food — mostly lettuce — to states as far-flung as Washington state and Massachusetts.

Shocks and strains on energy and water production and their delivery systems could result in failures that cascade down to food systems. Failures in one system could easily spread to another.

“That’s one of the things we wanted to capture: what the actual consequences of any reduction in Arizona agriculture would be,” Berardy said.

Berardy and Chester analyzed public data that show different modes of freight and what types of goods are going across state lines. They also studied the threshold temperatures of crops, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Geological Survey data, Arizona crop budgets and region-specific literature.

“We definitely were surprised at how much California and Texas and some other states depend on Arizona’s agricultural output,” Berardy said.

It’s going to be more complicated than just the price of food skyrocketing. Land used for fodder production, like alfalfa, might be shifted to other crops.

“The shifts are going to be felt first in livestock, in the price of meat and dairy, because the effect of the temperature increase will be felt there first,” Berardy said. “If these impacts are happening in Arizona, they’re going to be found in other states, too. That will have a compounding effect.”

Other studies have looked at one crop, or the effect of temperature increase on its own. This study came from a holistic approach to get a more realistic look at what might happen.

The paper recommended farmers switch to more efficient irrigation methods, like drip irrigation.

Smaller farms might not be able to afford a switch to drip irrigation. Larger farms might already have a pricey sprinkler system in place they don’t want to replace. Only about half of Arizona farms with flood-irrigation systems engage in any kind of water conservation, according to the study.

“You can change any one component of it, and it has cascading effects downstream,” Berardy said. “No matter what you change, it’s going to change something else too.”

 To read the study, please visit this link: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa5e6d

Top photo: Arizona ships food — mostly lettuce — to states as far flung as Washington state and Massachusetts. ASU Now file photo. 

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-4502

Pages