With Earth Month coming to a close, it’s important to reflect on the role our planet plays in our daily lives and think of ways we can be more sustainable inhabitants. Earth Day has now been celebrated globally for more than 50 years, and it acts as a time for us to come together and appreciate the earth through events like group cleans, hikes, and environmental protests. 

It’s great to see people join forces to clean the earth and educate others on how to be sustainable, and ideally, we’d all put our planet first and try to live with a minimal footprint for future generations. The harsh reality is that the systems that power human civilization are not built for the environment, and too many of us either choose not to or don’t have the luxury to live sustainably. 

That is why technology is and will be essential to the pursuit of a healthier planet. The need for green technology is rapidly growing, and there are constant exciting innovations in sustainable tech, many right under our nose here at USC. 

For example, two USC researchers have come up with a simple and affordable way to recycle precious metal waste from labs. They turn this waste into hexachloroiridic acid, a useful material for making new chemical products. You can learn more about Travis Williams and Valeriy Cherepakhin’s innovative reuse of waste here.

The Nuzhdin Lab, part of Dornsife, applies molecular biology and bioinformatics to aquaculture, focusing on sustainable practices with seaweed and bivalves. Their research not only advances understanding in genetics but also contributes to eco-friendly aquaculture solutions in Southern California.

The Stevens Center is always trying to interact closely with the researchers that power the University’s innovation. Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Senior Vice President of USC Research and Innovation, recently sat down with researchers like Mahta Moghaddam, who uses radar to study the earth, and Rima Habre, who focuses on air and water quality. You can learn about these research efforts and more in this video. 

In recent years, USC as a whole has made significant efforts to become a more sustainable university and spread environmental awareness among its student body. USC’s Assignment Earth is an expanding framework to create a cleaner campus and world, and opportunities like the President’s Sustainability Initiative Award are fostering student involvement in this important movement. 

There is much work to be done, but the talented and committed students and researchers at USC are driving important climate innovation, and the Stevens Center is here to help this work thrive. Happy Earth Month!