Despite their differences, both humanitarian crises and environmental issues are faced with an unending struggle to engage the public. A recent study reveals a new psychological mechanism confronting conservation efforts, and points the way to overcoming obstacles related to inaction.
Translocation in wildlife conservation is the capture, transport and release or introduction of species, habitats or other ecological material from one location to another. The authors argue that many species will need to move to a different location in order to survive. For species that are unable to relocate naturally, the only chance of survival may be to assist them in colonization.
After working in tropical forests and coastal areas throughout college and graduate school, Manhattan did not seem like a natural place to migrate after completing my PhD. But pursuing an Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship was was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
When the Environmental Defense Fund asked me to measure how biogas cook stoves were changing the lives of farmers in rural India, there wasn’t a word in that question with which I was comfortable. Having just graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, I had never done fieldwork; and the concept of a biogas digester, which turns cow dung into natural gas through anaerobic digestion, was itself a mystery. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a steep learning curve into low-carbon development at a large scale. But even more, that it would provide a window into the lives of families whose existences have permanently improved thanks to the clean cooking stoves.
A new report produced by CIESIN and Yale University examines the role of indicators in environmental policy making, and quantifies measurable impacts.
“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 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.
Rosario Costa-Cabral and her brothers harvest hundreds of fruits, oils and wood products from the stream-laced forest of the Amazon River delta. But the climate here is changing: Tides rise higher, and seasonal floods are growing worse.
Working with engineering PhD candidate Rob Elliott, we imagined a green roof and blue roof system that would serve as a space for environmental education and student wellness, the culmination of a semester spent examining and taking action on stormwater management issues in New York City.
“Everything is so alive in the forest. After a nice summer rain it teems with insects, birds and the famous coquis, Puerto Rico’s native frogs. The song of the coquis take a little getting used to, but they soon lull you to sleep in the humid nights,” says Jennifer Mendez, a student in the first class of the Summer Ecosystem Experience for Undergraduates in Puerto Rico.