Developing Countries

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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
“As the Marshall Islands and several other small island states around the world struggle with saltwater intrusion into their fields and a dwindling fresh water supply, a future abroad is beginning to creep into the minds of local residents,” Eric Holthaus writes for Columbia Law School Magazine.

As Predicted: A Rising Tide of Migration

“With sea levels on the rise, several island nations are scrambling to stay above water and ensure citizens will have a place to go when the ocean engulfs their homeland. The humanitarian-crisis phase of climate change has officially begun.”

by |April 29, 2016
Panelist

Climate Change and the Paris Agreement: What’s Next?

“Climate change is an extreme example of what happens when you do not have sustainable development. We will not address climate change unless we change the patterns of production and consumption that drove us to this situation in the first place.”

by |April 14, 2016
Jhohora Akhter, 30, of Iruain village, draws water from the family well, which is contaminated with arsenic. Jhohora’s mother Jahanara Begum died of arsenic-related health conditions. Her father suffers from diabetes, an illness associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Her brother Ruhul Amin also suffers arsenic-related health conditions. Photo: © 2016 Atish Saha for Human Rights Watch

Report Charges ‘Nepotism and Neglect’ on Bangladesh Arsenic Poisoning

Two decades after arsenic was found to be contaminating drinking water across Bangladesh, tens of millions of people are still exposed to the deadly chemical. Now a new report from the group Human Rights Watch charges that the Bangladesh government “is failing to adequately respond” to the issue, and that political favoritism and neglect have corrupted the government’s efforts.

by |April 7, 2016
This chart shows the number of operational weather stations in Rwanda.

Filling a Climate Gap and Helping Rwandan Farmers

Agriculture makes up a major portion of Rwanda’s economy, and employs eight in 10 Rwandans. Of course, farmers are hugely dependent on the climate, and a new project hopes to ensure they get timely information so they can plan for both good times and bad.

by |March 24, 2016