For adults concerned about environmental issues, particularly the growing water crisis, it can be hard to know where to start to educate and involve the children in their lives, those who will ultimately be facing the consequences of what we do or don’t do now. How do you frame serious, complicated issues in a way that makes them appropriate for and accessible to kids?
The most recent issue of the Columbia Engineering Magazine profiles many of the Columbia University Engineering faculty who are addressing the issues of sustainability in the water, climate and energy fields.
Several of Columbia Water Center’s researchers and collaborators were featured. Here are some teasers that demonstrate the depth and breadth of the talent at Columbia University dedicated to finding answers to the problems of climate change and water sustainability.
Has New York City hit a critical mass that will make it truly a green city? I’m beginning to suspect so, at least in terms of water issues. There have been an increasing number of initiatives both to remediate past damage and to prevent future water quality problems, that are worth looking at together.
The March designation of the Gowanus Canal in New York City as a SuperFund clean up site was an important step forward, and is now being followed by another leap: on Monday Newtown Creek, which runs between Queens and Brooklyn received the same designation.
The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association built the first public drinking fountain in London in 1859, as an answer to some of the pressing problems of their times. Drinking fountains are also part of the answer to some of our own problems.
Project H2O, Help to Others, is a documentary production about a group of high school students in Puerto Rico on an odyssey of learning about global water problems and how to be part of the solution, and much more.
It’s a case of finding a use for what was thought of as waste. Sewage treatment processes produce methane and nitrous oxide, both greenhouse gasses, while leaving undesirably high levels of nitrogen in the discharged water. On their own, all three of these things are harmful to the environment. Stanford University reports that a team has found a way to take those unwanted waste gasses and use them to 1) reduce the amount of nitrogen in the water, 2) produce an alternative energy source and 3) dispose of the nitrous oxide cleanly – by using it as rocket fuel, in fact.
It’s the last day of my visit to Brazil, where I’ve been getting to know the staff of the Columbia Water Center Brazilian office, and learning about the projects here. The projects are a fascinating mixture of down-to-earth (literally down in the earth) sustainable water access, and high level climate modeling to support water management [...]
A story by Dan Egan in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 6, 2010 pulls together threads of sewage, drinking water, commerce, ecosystem deterioration, politics, health, geography, and Asian carp to create a picture of how big a mess we humans are capable of making for ourselves.
The good news is that the migratory birds and resident marine life of Jamaica Bay may be getting a reprieve. In February, Mayor Bloomberg, the State Environmental Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced an agreement that would improve water quality and preserve the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan commits to restoring degraded marshlands and reducing nitrogen discharge into the bay by 50 percent over the next ten years at a cost of $115 million to the city alone. Federal funds and resources are expected to supplement the project.