General Earth Institute

Photo: Be Girl

Educated Girls Uncover Unmet Design Needs

Flip through any fashionable design annual, and you’ll read of something called “Human Centered Design.” The practice of HCD places emphasis on user testing, interviews, field research and high-touch iterations to solve problems. As contemporary design, and especially sustainable design, increasingly comes to rely on HCD-inspired techniques, greater attention is being paid to social features.

by |July 28, 2015
GIS

Undergraduates Will Develop Green Geodatabase for University

Giovani Graziosi is a Lecturer in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology An undergraduate course in the Sustainable Development Program recently received a Course Support grant from the Earth Institute to conduct a special fieldwork project to develop the Columbia University Green Geodatabase (CUGG).   The grant provides support to acquire some of the equipment and a… read more

by |July 24, 2015
In Honduras, 46 percent of the population lives in rural areas, and people must often travel long distances to get to the nearest pharmacy. This pharmacist is part of a network of 301 trained volunteers in a community pharmacy program run by FUDEIMFA, a partner of Global Partnerships. This network of women operate home-based pharmacies in their rural communities, providing local access to affordable anti-diarrheal medications, painkillers and other kinds of essential medicines. Photo © Global Partnerships.

Impact Partnerships, with Return on Investment

Philanthropy has evolved dramatically in recent years, changing the way individuals, organizations and foundations support the causes that concern them most. One manifestation of this evolution includes an array of sophisticated methods of investing in social causes while expecting a return, known as impact investing.

by |July 23, 2015
From the outside, a conflict may look immensely complex; but from the inside, it may appear as simple as "they" are the problem.

Complicate to Simplify: Lessons from Complexity Science

What our team found at this school in the Bronx is what we see in many intractable social problems. They spring from a complex constellation of ills, and the longer they last the more complicated they get. And the more simple they seem from the inside.

by |July 21, 2015
Photovoltaic array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

Where is Solar Power Headed?

To have a shot at curbing the worst impacts of climate change, we need to extricate our society from fossil fuels and ramp up our use of renewable energy. Where does solar energy stand today, and where does it need to go in order for us to make the transition to renewable energy?

by |July 21, 2015
Foraminifera are tiny protists that live in the ocean. Most of them build shells of calcium carbonate. Their kind have lived in the ocean for millions of years. Photo: Kelly Strzepek.

Tiny Architects

Heaved upwards from your deep and watery grave,
From the quiet murk onto a chaotic, brine-encrusted ship deck,
You’re ever so carefully washed free from the mud,
From all the rinsings of continents that settled out of the sea with you
Like snow, softly entombing your remains.

by |July 10, 2015
steve-CCIEE-speech

In China, Establishing Indicators for Global Sustainable Development

Last weekend, Earth Institute executive director Steven Cohen and post-doctoral research scholar Dong Guo participated in the Fourth Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing, hosted by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE). CCIEE, the preeminent think tank in China headed by the former vice premier, hosted hundreds of politicians, scholars, business leaders, and experts from nearly 30 countries at the summit.

by |July 2, 2015
The Vetlessen Prize 6-24-15

Vetlesen Science Prize Celebrated at Columbia Gala

Stephen Sparks, one of the world’s foremost experts on volcanoes, received the Vetlesen Prize for his groundbreaking scientific work at a ceremony held June 24 at Columbia University. Two-hundred-fifty people attended the formal gathering in the Low Library Rotunda.

by |June 30, 2015
This summer, a space probe that has been traveling for 9 years will finally reach Pluto. Image: JHUAPL/SwRI

Finding Pluto

Far away, a beloved dot
Arcs through cold and shrouded spaces,
Not lonely, as we had once thought,
But circled by more rocky faces:

by |June 26, 2015
esp class

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Hosts New MPA Students

On Monday, June 22, the newest Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science & Policy (MPA-ESP) candidates spent a beautiful, sunny day touring Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, just a short bus ride away in Palisades, NY. Led by Environmental Chemistry professor Benjamin Bostick and Climatology professor Jason Smerdon, the students were exposed to many different areas of groundbreaking research that the world-class facility has to offer.

by |June 23, 2015