Mick Dalrymple - Director of University Sustainability Practices at Arizona State University

Mick Dalrymple - Director of University Sustainability Practices at Arizona State University

Mick Dalrymple and the team at University Sustainability Practices help the Arizona State University community reach their ambitious internal sustainability goals. Mick is a seasoned leader, communicator, and educator in multiple fields who connects stakeholders and technical experts to get positive impact work done, successfully.

He managed Arizona State University's inter-disciplinary research and marketing work for the three-year, $27M Energize Phoenix program.

Dalrymple, a produced, feature-film screenwriter, frequently authors articles and serves as a media resource and public speaker on sustainability topics. Committed to sustainability improvements in his personal life, he continues to remodel his 1975 home towards net zero energy, minimal waste, food production and reduced water usage. The Business Journal of Phoenix named him Green Pioneer in 2009 for his national and local contributions to the sustainability movement.

Mick Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The history of sustainability leadership at Arizona State University

  • Focusing on behavior change to achieve climate goals

  • Moving towards climate positive and regenerative strategies

  • ASU's Circular Resource goals

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Mick's Final Five Question Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I would say always look for the unintended consequence and for the stakeholder that you're not envisioning. Who's affected by the system that you're analyzing and you're not thinking of? Because that's the thing that's always going to trip you up.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

You touched on regenerative design and I'm really into regenerative and also into biomimicry. I just think if nature has got 3.8 million years of R&D, we should be tapping into that rather than trying to pretend we're creating everything ourselves.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I have no time to read it. If I sit down and read for five minutes, I'm asleep. And so I've got literally 20 books stacked on my nightstand all the way back to Ecology of Commerce that I still have not gotten through because of this lack of sleep. I have so much to do or just running so fast that I can read magazines and articles on the web all the time, but cannot get through books. But Paul Hawken's new book Drawdown is good. I've seen Paul present on that and that to me is the type of work that we need right now - let's take all the pieces apart and figure out how can we address each of these individual pieces and in which ones are the most important to focus on. That's the most practical book right now that we can be looking at.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

I actually have been spending more time lately on the green schools listserv that Brown University keeps, as well as AASHE's new communication platform, because that is something where my peers are out there and for the first two and a half years of this job I was so much in a tunnel just trying to take hold of the fire hose. I'm now starting to look out more at what my peers are doing. Those are fantastic resources to just find out what other universities are doing and what challenges they're having that maybe we can help out with. And then the other one that I'm very involved with is the International Living Future Institute. I think the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge are really where we need to go. It's all about regenerative design and regenerative thinking and systems thinking. And that's where I go also to get recharged every year is go to the Living Future Unconference. It is very uplifting because our profession can be very draining. So you're going there and being amongst kindred spirits and really kind of talking about successes and failures and challenges and things you've gone through together. It's s a fantastic way to get recharged for the next year.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at ASU?

Well, if you go to cfo.asu.edu, and then look for the sustainability tab. That is kind of the gateway to get you to what we're doing. And we do report to the CFO, or under the business services arm of the university, which is a little bit unique I think. But it's a great place to be. And being under the CFO keeps you grounded in the economics of everything at the same time.