Author: David Funkhouser

I'm a writer and content manager for the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, I spent 35 years writing, editing and managing at various newspapers around New England, most recently serving as environmental reporter for The Hartford Courant.

A Climate Battle Cry for Earth Day

by | 4.22.2015 at 7:00am
Amazon River Delta Courtesy NASA, Johnson Space Center

A group of 17 renowned scientists from around the world are appealing for dramatic action to forestall the worst effects of climate change, issuing an “Earth Statement” that calls for a world powered with zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Creating a ‘Safe Space’ for Iconic Ecosystems

by | 3.19.2015 at 2:01pm
Great Barrier Reef

Important global ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest and Great Barrier Reef are in danger of breaking down because of a combination of local pressures and climate change, but better local management could help make these areas more resilient.

Science Nabs Illegal Ivory Sellers

by | 3.4.2015 at 6:37pm
ivory crop2

A Toronto-based company has been convicted of selling illegal ivory in the first case to use a technique for dating ivory developed by a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Study Finds Genetic Clues to How Plants Adapt to Climate

by | 1.30.2015 at 4:25pm
Arabidopsis thaliana. Photo: Penn State

Using supercomputers to analyze hundreds of thousands of genetic markers, scientists say they have found how a common weed uses its genetic code to adapt to changes in its environment such as cold and drought. The findings could help develop crops that are more adaptable to climate change.

Talking Climate: a New Guide to More Effective Communication

by | 12.11.2014 at 3:30pm | 1 Comment
CRED guide image 2

What motivates people to accept or reject climate change? What do personal and political values have to do with it? How can you best get your message across? A new guide to climate change communication offers some of the answers.

Ice Loss in West Antarctic is Speeding Up

by | 12.5.2014 at 2:19pm
West Antarctica NASA Michael Studinger

Glaciers in one part of West Antarctica are melting at triple the rate of a decade ago and have become the most significant contributor to sea level rise in that region, a new study says. The study found that the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica have shrunk by an average of 83 gigatons a year for two decades—the equivalent of the weight of Mount Everest every two years.

Will Africa Finally Achieve a Green Revolution?

by | 11.6.2014 at 2:46pm | 1 Comment
Africa, agriculture

Earth Institute agricultural scientist Pedro A. Sanchez argues in a new essay that new developments in both science and politics give him hope that sub-Saharan Africa will be able to feed itself by 2050, even with a projected population by then of about 2 billion people.

Money, Power and the Media in the Ebola Crisis

by | 11.5.2014 at 2:09pm
Ebola worker Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: Caroline Van Nespen/Medecins Sans Frontieres

The Ebola crisis has serious implications for governments, the private sector, and public messengers. To address these issues, and to assess the state of the science behind the Ebola crisis, The Earth Institute has sponsored two discussions recently.

Study: NASA Sites Vulnerable to Climate Change

by | 11.3.2014 at 6:49pm
Kennedy Space Center. Photo: NASA

NASA has been at the forefront of climate science, launching satellites that take the pulse of Earth’s land, oceans and atmospheric systems. But the agency is increasingly vulnerable itself to the effects of a changing climate.

Agreement with NY State Protects Black Rock Forest

by | 10.30.2014 at 12:00pm
Black Rock Forest

New York State will acquire a conservation easement for the Black Rock Forest, protecting the 3,800-acre preserve 50 miles north of New York City for both public use and scientific research.