Developing Countries

Chris and Dan discussing notes on locations to visit based on recent satellite images and entering them into the GPS.

Sampling on the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers

The final phase of our revolves around visiting chars, sandy river islands, on the Ganges and Brahmaputra River. Chris and Dan are making measurements of soil salinity and moisture and spectra of the soil reflectance, while Liz and I collected samples for OSL dating and understanding the OSL properties of the river sediments here. This entails a mixture of driving around the country and spending time on small country boats and walking around the chars.

by |February 4, 2017
The M.B. Mowali, our home for the next two days for the run to Hiron Point and back.

Side Trip to Hiron Point, Sundarbans

After helping Chris an Dan with soil salinity and reflectance measurement, Humayun, Liz and I moved onto the smaller M.B. Mewl to sail through the Sundarban Mangrove Forest to service our GPS station at Hiron Point.

by |January 31, 2017
Liz measures and describing the sediments that have accumulated over  the base of the wells since they were installed in 2011.

Equipment Repairs in SW Bangladesh

Humayun, Liz and I headed to Khulna in SW Bangladesh a day after Chris and Dan. Along the way, we stopped at our sediment compaction meter for surveying and removing the GPS, and getting feasted by the family that hosts the system.

by |January 31, 2017
MeSampling

Back to Bangladesh to Date Earthquakes and More

I’m back in Bangladesh with a small team after a year and a half away. One different is a police escort as a result of the attacks last year. We start by successfully sampling river sediments to correct the date of an earthquake that caused a river to shift over 3,500 years ago. We also will be fixing broken equipment, visiting the ever changing rivers and hopefully meeting with the public and government officials about the earthquake hazard.

by |January 27, 2017
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The Coming Great Quakes in India and Bangladesh?

A new film takes viewers from the eastern highlands of India to the booming lowland metropolis of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh–and explores an ever-more detailed picture of catastrophic earthquake threat that scientists are discovering under the region.

by |October 18, 2016
SDGs logos together

4th International Sustainable Development Conference Coming up

The world is working on sustainable development. And many of the new ideas and innovations being applied to fields from agriculture and food security to climate adaptation to socially inclusive economic growth will be on display at the fourth annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held at Columbia University Sept. 21-22.

by |September 8, 2016
Change in footprint 1993-2009. Hotter colors indicate more change. Greens indicate decrease. (Venter et al., 2016)

The (Somewhat Less Fast) Growing Human Footprint

The human footprint continues to expand, with three quarters of earth’s land surface now experiencing measurable pressures from buildings, roads, crops, pastures and other human structures and activities, according to a new report. But the report also finds an encouraging trend: In recent years, growth in the footprint has lagged far behind population and economic growth.

by |August 23, 2016
Carrying the lumber down the plank walkway

Construction in the Swamp

Despite the miserable weather and ongoing rain, we constructed a wooden structure to hold the GPS receivers, solar panels and other electronic equipment between the three wells. We worked out how and where to mount the antennas and had parts made to accomplish it. Although I had to leave before it was completed, the team persevered through the storm and now we will be monitoring ground subsidence and sediment compaction in the Mississippi Delta.

by |August 16, 2016
Structure at Well 1, the deepest one, with the temporary solar panel and electronics.

Visit to a Different Delta: the Mississippi

This summer I am in the Mississippi Delta in southern Louisiana helping to install an updated version of the compaction meters that we have in Bangladesh. The environment is quite different and we have arrived in the midst of an historic storm. Luckily for us the brunt of the storm is NW of us. So far, we are still able to work between the rain above and the mud below.

by |August 16, 2016
inequality-400x170

Global Philanthropy and Inequality

Recent trends now point towards global philanthropy becoming the new norm. Global philanthropy aims to reduce inequality in developing countries through many forms. But inequities persist, and different manifestations of global philanthropy will be challenged to increase impact and achieve a demonstrable shift in areas such as poverty, health, access to opportunity, and beyond.

by |May 17, 2016