A new report by the Columbia Water Center, produced with Veolia Water and Growing Blue, could help expose the real nature of water risk–even in places that most people think of as having plenty of water.
After John Diebold, an enormously popular and influential marine scientist, died suddenly in summer 2010, friends and family erected a memorial to him: a carved red oak bench they installed on a causeway along the Hudson River, inscribed with “GONE TO SEA.” Then along came Hurricane Sandy.
America’s strong water infrastructure has been key to its success as a nation. Yet the nation’s continual waste of water and lack of commitment to long-term water investments has halted its progress.
This April over fifty students shared the results of their respective research projects with the rest of the Columbia community as part of the 2013 Student Research Showcase. While all within the field of sustainable development, research topics ranged from climate change to community development and included work from across the world.
Otis Redding sang “you don’t miss your water ’til your well runs dry” in 1965 about pining for a lost love. Last week, Climate and Society founder and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientist Mark Cane reprised it with a much different, more literal focus: water scarcity in the 21st century.
“This is a mess, and it is a mess that we have not attended to yet,” Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs said at a conference on water security held today at Columbia University. “Humanity is the driver, but we don’t have our hands on the steering wheel very much.”
Earth Institute partner PepsiCo has achieved its stated goal of partnering with organizations, including the Columbia Water Center, to provide access to safe water to three million people in developing countries by the end of 2015.
View four interactive maps that give an overview of some of the water challenges different parts of the world currently face.
Earth Institute research expeditions investigating the dynamics of the planet on all levels take place on every continent and every ocean. Most projects originate with our main research center, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and are often run in collaboration with other institutions.
Interdisciplinary collaboration, rather than polarized efforts, are needed to promote environmental sustainability.