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

Ming paper fig 1 crop

What the World Thinks of Climate Change

We all know that climate change can generate great debate in the United States. But what about the rest of the world?

by |July 27, 2015
Iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: NOAA

A Dire Warning on Rapid Climate Change

Sea level rise from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland threatens catastrophe for coastal cities within decades unless strong measures are taken to reduce CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels, argues climate scientist James Hansen.

by |July 24, 2015
Dr. Irwin Redlener

The Hidden Stresses of Drought

“Drought affects the economy, water supply, lifestyle, and agricultural productivity. The downstream consequences on humans that are facing these threats, including loss of jobs and daily lifestyle challenges, become overwhelming.”

by |July 22, 2015

Battling ‘the Largest Mass Poisoning in History’

As many as one in five deaths in Bangladesh may be tied to naturally occurring arsenic in the drinking water; it is the epicenter of a worldwide problem that is affecting tens of millions of people. For two decades, health specialists and earth scientists from Columbia University have been trying to understand the problem, and how to solve it.

Amazon River Delta Courtesy NASA, Johnson Space Center

A Climate Battle Cry for Earth Day

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.

by |April 22, 2015
Great Barrier Reef

Creating a ‘Safe Space’ for Iconic Ecosystems

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.

by |March 19, 2015
ivory crop2

Science Nabs Illegal Ivory Sellers

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.

by |March 4, 2015
Arabidopsis thaliana. Photo: Penn State

Study Finds Genetic Clues to How Plants Adapt to Climate

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.

by |January 30, 2015
CRED guide image 2

Talking Climate: a New Guide to More Effective Communication

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.

by |December 11, 2014
West Antarctica NASA Michael Studinger

Ice Loss in West Antarctic is Speeding Up

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.

by |December 5, 2014