Environment

Alternative_Energies

A State and Local Strategy for Protecting the American Environment

While federal support for new technology and infrastructure would be helpful, there is another approach that can also be effective. We should focus on modernizing our state and local energy systems. By modernizing the energy system we can reduce the costs and environmental impact of our energy use.

by |March 13, 2017
NASPAA competition to come up with a solution to solve World Hunger by 2030, held at Sipa

Students Compete in Food Security Simulation

How do multiple stakeholders compromise their competing needs and develop a global coordinated strategy that is politically palatable, possible and comprehensive enough to have an impact? Students from universities all over the U.S. Northeast gathered at Columbia for the 2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition that challenged students to do just this.

by |March 6, 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
The Animas River between Silverton and Durango in Colorado, USA, within 24 hours of the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill. Photo: Riverhugger/Creative Commons

Why Are Mines Still Polluting? The Money’s Not There

Across the nation, abandoned mine sites continue to pollute the environment for decades as acid mine drainage flows into rivers and streams. A 1980 law was supposed to fix that, but lack of funding and enforcement have left the public stuck with the bill.

by |December 20, 2016
industrial pollution

Environment, Jobs, and President-Elect Trump

While many people around the world are concerned about President-elect Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, I am far more concerned about the possible signal to American corporations and jurisdictions that enforcement of our air, water, and toxic rules would be relaxed under EPA’s new administrator.

by |December 12, 2016
From left, Leon Billings, Edmund Muskie and Tom Jorling.

Leon Billings, Tom Jorling and the Origins of U.S. Environmental Law

If you had the experience of hearing Leon Billings teach and tell stories, it is hard to believe his voice is no longer with us. He was a great American and an important figure in American environmental history.

by |November 21, 2016
Near the arctic circle in northern Alaska, forests begin giving way to tundra. as cold air, frozen soils and lack of sunlight squeeze out trees. Researchers are investigating how warming climate may affect the ecology of this boundary. (All photos: Kevin Krajick) CLICK TO VIEW A SLIDESHOW

Where Trees Meet Tundra, Decoding Signals of Climate Change

In northern Alaska’s Brooks Range, the earth as most of us know it comes to an end. The northern tree line-a boundary that circles all of earth’s northern landmasses for more than 8,300 miles, and forms the planet’s biggest ecological transition zone–runs through here. Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying how climate may change it, and the tundra beyond.

by |November 16, 2016

President-Elect Trump’s Environmental Agenda

As we face a Donald Trump administration, we must reflect on the development of environmental policy and politics of the past. Despite the skepticism that President-elect Trump could halt progress on sustainability efforts such as research and development for renewable energy, it seems that the average person values a clean and safe environment. Donald Trump is anything but predictable, and we should maintain hope that we can continue to make a case for sustainability and pursue progress in our country and around the world.

by |November 14, 2016
New York City Photo: Daniel Schwen

Cities: the Vanguard Against Climate Change

Cities are leading the fight against climate change. Here’s what some of the most forward-looking ones are doing.

by |November 10, 2016