Ten years ago, hydraulic fracturing barely existed. Today 45,000 fracked wells produce natural gas, providing energy for millions of homes and businesses, and nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity. But scientists are far behind in understanding how this boom affects people near wells. Geochemists Beizhan Yan and James Ross of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are trying to fill in this gap.
Five hundred utilities in the United States currently provide drinking water with unsafe levels of arsenic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But determining the actual number of people who are getting too much arsenic in their water is much less clear, according to a study conducted in part by the Columbia Water Center and recently published in the American Water Works Association.
Each fall the Earth Institute offers a broad survey of the applications of frontier research to the practice of sustainable development through contributions from Earth Institute researchers and directors in the Earth Institute Practicum. The practicum provides an opportunity to learn about salient issues in sustainable development, sustainability management and environmental science from world-class faculty and researchers in these areas.
Researcher Magdalena A K Muir will present a live webinar, “The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Setting an Agenda for Sustainability,” as part of the Association for Environmental Studies and Educators Webinar Series.
Postcard from the Field: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory graduate student Rajib Mozumder, who works with Lamont scientists Lex van Geen and Ben Bostick, has spent part of his summer drilling water wells and collecting samples in Bangladesh.
In terms of the urgent need to reform agriculture, address climate change and promote sustainable watershed development, the Indian government’s new budget provides for a number of promising initiatives.
Both of us are interested in the intersection of the environment and public health, and we wanted to explore a public health issue about which we felt ignorant. Water kept coming up in our conversations, because we felt that while water is a global issue, it often gets overlooked domestically among our peers. As such, we put together a six-week cross-country road trip, along which we are collecting stories about regional water issues.
The end of our fiscal year is just one week away and we need your support more than ever. This year, the generosity of Earth Institute supporters allowed our award-winning scientists and researchers to pursue groundbreaking initiatives in the fields of earth and environmental sciences, ecology, engineering and architecture, law, medicine and public health, economics, political science, public policy, ethics and management, and more to advance global sustainable development.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas, has become a hot button issue across the U.S. But let’s try to look objectively at its benefits and risks.
The Caribbean, Asia’s Indo-Gangetic Plain and West Africa are three regions known to be extremely vulnerable to climate variability and change, particularly to droughts, extreme weather events and stresses on food production, water resources and coastal areas. A new five-year project jointly led by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the University of Arizona aims to strengthen climate resilience in these regions using strategies in the sectors of water resources, hazard risk management and coastal planning and management.