DSC02113

‘The Big Ratchet’

In her new book, Ruth DeFries argues that we have continually created new technologies that allow our numbers to grow. But each new invention creates a new problem—which we solve with yet another innovation that creates the next problem. Will we be able to sustain this so-far successful cycle past the great leap in technology and population of the last century?

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Malaria mosquito taking a blood meal

How Climate Change Is Exacerbating the Spread of Disease

Contagious diseases are on the rise as a result of climate change and other rapid environmental and social changes. A number of climate-sensitive diseases are expected to worsen with higher temperatures and more extreme weather.

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drinking water

How Much Arsenic is Too Little?

Five hundred utilities in the U.S. provide drinking water with unsafe levels of arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency says. But how many people are getting too much arsenic in their water is much less clear, according to a study conducted in part by the Columbia Water Center.

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The Kullorsuaq waterfront. (Photo M. Turrin)

Reflections of a Changing North

No one ever leaves the field the same way they entered it. Yes there is a new layer of mud on equipment, the expected wear and tear on your gear and your physical being. But also, an intangible shift in perspective.

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Bineta Diop, International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice

Conference on Sustainable Development Practice Sept. 17-18

The Global MDP Association and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network are hosting the 2nd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice at Columbia University.

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Join the Earth Institute for Climate Week NYC

by | 9.15.2014 at 1:24pm
STATUE IN WATER SIMPLIFIED

From heads of state to ordinary citizens, thousands of people will gather for more than 100 events during Climate Week NYC. They’ll be talking and debating the rights of nature, corporate leadership, the threat from rising seas, innovations for social good and innumerable other topics. The Earth Institute and its centers will be engaged in several events.

The Columbia Geology Tour: Stories in the Stones

by | 9.15.2014 at 9:00am | 1 Comment
David Walker. Photo: Kim Martineau

For the last decade or so, Columbia University geologist David Walker has led students and colleagues on a tour of the geologic gems hiding within Columbia’s McKim, Mead and White campus in Morningside Heights. Along the way, Walker points to evidence of how life on earth and the planet itself has evolved over its 4.5 billion year history.

Graceful, Tiny, Toothy Ancestors

by | 9.12.2014 at 10:00am
An artist's illustration of the tree-dwelling mammal Xianshou songae (by Zhao Chuang). The discovery of three new Jurassic species suggests that mammals evolved earlier and diversified more rapidly thank previously thought.

With body spry, tail curly,
This mammal showed up early.

Larry Gibson and the Lobster Boat

by | 9.11.2014 at 12:30pm
mountaintop removal mining

There are many brave people who recognize the climate crisis and are beginning to stand up and take personal risks to try to stop expansion of the fossil fuel industry, across the United States, in Canada, and in other nations. Their courage is remarkable and I hope it has an awakening effect.

Sustainability Management Alum Transitions to Career in Public Sector

by | 9.11.2014 at 11:38am
MS in Sustainability Management alum Harry McLellan ('14)

Master of Science in Sustainability Management alum Harry McLellan (’14) has always had an interest in the built environment. Prior to joining the program, he worked as a construction lawyer for 25 years. Now, working as a Senior Counsel in the Law Department of the City of New York’s Commercial and Real Estate Litigation Division, Harry hopes to integrate environmental concerns by promoting public works projects.

How Can Federal and City Governments Cooperate? The Case of Green Infrastructure

by | 9.9.2014 at 3:19pm
Greenstreets

With support from the Earth Institute, writers Caswell Holloway, Carter Strickland, Michael Gerrard, and Daniel Firger recently published “Solving the CSO Conundrum: Green Infrastructure and the Unfulfilled Promise of Federal-Municipal Cooperation” in Harvard Environmental Law Review. The authors propose regulatory and policy reform to develop comprehensive, locally led infrastructure and sustainability initiatives that improve public health and the environment. They look specifically at the case of water management as an opportunity for federal and local governments to work cooperatively, specifically through the implementation of green infrastructure systems.

‘The Big Ratchet’

by | 9.8.2014 at 3:42pm
DSC02113

In her new book, Ruth DeFries argues that we have continually created new technologies that allow our numbers to grow. But each new invention creates a new problem—which we solve with yet another innovation that creates the next problem. Will we be able to sustain this so-far successful cycle past the great leap in technology and population of the last century?