This week marks the launch of the new Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate, a cross-disciplinary collaboration between a variety of centers, research groups and individuals from across Columbia University. The Initiative, led by Adam Sobel, kicked off on Monday evening with a World Leaders Forum panel event in Low Library. Panelists discussed a wide range of science and policy topics related to extreme weather, showing the interdisciplinary nature of the new Initiative.
“The days of greenwashing are over,” remarked Kevin Parker, CEO of Sustainable Insight Capital Management, during a panel discussion on sustainable finance. Parker was among five panelists who discussed the topic of sustainable finance and sustainable investing, including trends and major players, and what skills are needed for jobs in these areas.
Because of climate change, spring, summer, fall and winter in the temperate zones are all arriving on average 1.7 days earlier than they ever have before. The changing climate with its more extreme weather is affecting many plant and animal species, disturbing their habitat and disrupting ecosystem functioning. How will plants and animals deal with these challenges?
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment is accepting applications for internship positions for the spring 2015 and summer 2015 semesters. Interns are staffed to one or more specific research projects depending on the background and interests of the particular applicant. Internships are generally unpaid, though some paid opportunities are available. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.
Sustainability is often about changing how organizations work. The Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Leadership course, added to the M.S. in Sustainability Management curriculum this spring, provides a forum where some of the world’s leading practitioners teach students how to make these changes.
New York State will acquire a conservation easement for the Black Rock Forest, protecting the 3,800-acre preserve 50 miles north of New York City for both public use and scientific research.
An Evening with the Writers of the Clean Air Act: Insight into the ‘Golden Age’ of Environmental Law
At a panel discussion this week, Leon Billings and Thomas Jorling, two senior staff members who helped craft the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other major environmental legislation in the 1970s, spoke about the bipartisan effort to pass that legislation, and the partisan divide that stymies Congress today.
While public opinion is fairly skewed against the fracking process, policy actors in New York State can best be described as polarized. Predictably, the pro-fracking group generally disagrees with environmental groups while the anti-fracking group generally disagrees with the oil industry. Policy actors in New York had stark differences in answers on a wide variety of questions.
As Professor Ruth DeFries aptly stated in her opening remarks at yesterday’s book launch for “The Big Ratchet,” if you look at satellite pictures of the earth, you see the imprint of the human species everywhere. Humans have come to dominate the planet. But how did this come to be? This question, among others, is what DeFries hopes to answer in her new book, “The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis.” How did humans acquire the capability to spread out over the entire earth and control other species?