Large investments in extractive industries such as oil, gas and mining have the potential to be a springboard for development, but these investments often have been a source of corruption, social degradation, resource dependency and environmental catastrophe. How can resource-rich countries faced with this double-edged sword make informed decisions about how to effectively leverage these resources? An executive training program coming in June at Columbia University will be tackling this question.
This week, we are launching a test of “IceTracker”—a tool that allows users to see the trajectories of Arctic sea ice forward or backward from any day between 1981 and 2012, as well as sea-ice speed, air temperature, water depth and the age of the sea ice.
The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development was pleased to host representatives from Columbia’s Office of Environmental Stewardship on Friday, December 6, for its final Speaker Series event of 2013.
The Earth Institute Student Advisory Council and Columbia’s Environmental Stewardship Office brought together representatives of student sustainability organizations for the first annual Environmental Summit. The goal of the summit was to share with Columbia’s sustainability community the campus-wide initiatives being developed and to encourage collaboration and networking between sustainability organizations.
The Millennium Villages Internship program provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain on-the-ground experience in public health, business development, agriculture, infrastructure, and other development interventions though firsthand participation. The MVP is a unique project, where interventions are implemented through a multi-sectoral, community-based model. Students will be placed in one of the ten (10) MVP sites that are located in ten (10) countries across sub-Saharan Africa, or at one of the regional centers in Nairobi or Dakar.
Today’s increasing emphasis on metrics in sustainability policy and management presents an interesting challenge for ethics. When ethics are discussed, probably one of the last things to come to mind is measuring them, particularly in numeric terms.
Right off the bat, we were faced with the difficult question of what “sustainable” actually means. Students were well-versed in the triple bottom line of sustainability – economic, environmental and social. Then one of the students, a hefty young man on Columbia’s wrestling team, spoke up in defense of his right to make a decision based on his need for large quantities of protein. Another student wanted products only from well-treated animals. The professor was allergic to chocolate.
On Nov. 16, the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy program held its annual Alumni Networking Day. The event, hosted by The Earth Institute, welcomed more than 70 alumni, current students and faculty for a panel and networking reception held at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
The Earth Institute and its corporate partner, global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline are embarking on a new project to broadly expand the reach of healthcare services in sub-Saharan Africa. In collaboration with the One Million Community Health Workers Campaign, the new project will develop an online information dashboard that will help streamline community health worker operations on the ground.
With the end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure drawing near, many are speculating which of his policies will survive the next administration. New York City’s comprehensive environmental plan, PlaNYC 2030: A Greener, Greater New York, has been championed politically by Bloomberg, but is grounded in science and data, and performance management. It has demonstrated progress, achieving multiple goals for the city, making it appealing to any administration. On Oct. 22, we hosted an event where we posed the question “Is Sustainability Sustainable?” to our guest experts, Rit Aggarwala and Sergej Mahnovski. The answer is simply that it needs to be.