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.

Recent Posts

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Leymah Gbowee: Out of War, a Legacy of Building Peace

Leymah Gbowee was 17 when war broke out in Liberia. Her experiences drove her onto a path of suffering, discovery and service that led to work rehabilitating child soldiers and helping build peace, village by village, in Liberia and eventually neighboring Sierra Leone.

by |May 15, 2017
M Ho snip

Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.

by |May 1, 2017
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Pratigya Polissar Sees Landscapes Changing Through a Microscope

The word fossils typically conjures images of T-Rexes and trilobites. Pratigya Polissar thinks micro: A paleoclimatologist, he digs into old sediments and studies molecular fossils—the microscopic remains of plants and animals that can tell us a lot about what was living in a particular time period.

by |April 17, 2017
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Colin Kelley: Food and Water Vulnerability in a Changing Climate

Colin Kelley, an associate research scientist with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies regional climate in vulnerable areas like the Middle East in order to improve our ability to make forecasts, plan ahead and become more resilient to drought and other climate shifts.

by |April 10, 2017
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Kirsty Tinto: Mapping on and under Antarctica’s Ice

Kirsty Tinto flies aboard a specially equipped airplane in very cold places to study ice sheets and ice shelves. She’s an associate research scientist in the polar geophysics group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

by |April 3, 2017
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Park Williams Discovers History and Science in a Tree Ring

Park Williams studies trees and climate, in particular the causes of drought and the effects of climate change on forests. In this latest in a series of Earth Institute videos, we spoke to him about what he does, what’s important about it, and how his interest in history and environmental science blended into a career.

by |March 24, 2017
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Women Leaders Tackle the Urban Climate Challenge

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, will join dozens of other leaders in government, business and the non-profit world at the Women4Climate conference at Columbia University on March 15.

by |March 8, 2017
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Peering into Volcanoes: a Talk with Einat Lev

What do the scientists and researchers around the Earth Institute do? In this second in a series, Einat Lev from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory talks about her work on volcanoes what she’d like people to know about it, and what inspired her to go into the field.

by |March 2, 2017
Putnam studies glaciers around the world, part of an effort to understand past climate change and the potential impacts of warming today.

In High Sierras, Remnants of Ice Age Tell a Tale of Future Climate

Aaron Putnam’s research in the California Sierras is part of an effort to study glaciers around the world—in Europe’s Alps, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Patagonia, New Zealand. He’s working on an important piece of the worldwide climate puzzle that can help us understand what’s ahead in a warming world.

by |February 14, 2017
Horses near Lake Dali, in Inner Monglia. Photo: Yonaton Goldsmith

Shifting Monsoon Altered Early Cultures in China, Study Says

The annual summer monsoon that drops rain onto East Asia has shifted dramatically, at times moving northward by as much as 400 km and doubling rainfall in that northern reach. The monsoon’s changes over the past 10,000 years likely altered the course of early human cultures in China, say the authors of a new study.

by |February 6, 2017