Environment

The Leafsnap app helps users identify trees from photographs of leaves—an example of a growing number of science and environment-related apps.

Citizen Science, Smartphone Apps and a $10,000 Prize

If you think you can combine an interest in the environment with a little savvy about smartphone apps, listen up. You could win $10,000.

by |April 20, 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
A major impediment to stricter pollution regulation in China is the fear of slowing down the economy. Photo: Nicolò Lazzati / Flickr

Does Pollution Regulation Kill Jobs? Lessons for China from the U.S.

The problem of air pollution in China continues to reach new heights. To combat the problem in any real way stringent regulation is needed. A new paper from Columbia University’s Earth Institute finds that this can be done without hurting job creation.

by |April 6, 2016
In a soaking rain, Pederson eyeballs a plot through an angle gauge, a forester’s tool for estimating forest density and species composition.

Photo Essay: High in the Hills, Climate May Challenge Forests

Forests in the south-central United States are some of the country’s most productive and diverse. They also sit in a warming “hole”—an area where the progressive rise in temperature affecting most of the continent hasn’t yet taken hold. A team from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is studying how these forests might shift—or even disappear—when climate change does catch up with them, as expected.

by |March 15, 2016
Williams extracts a core from a massive red oak. Specimens up to 400 years old can be found in isolated spots, but it is the last 80-some years the scientists are mainly after. Those are the years covered by modern instrumental record, and the rings can be closely correlated with those to paint a picture of how trees have fared under known conditions year to year. This will allow the team to project how they are likely to react under future scenarios.

How Will Shifting Climate Change U.S. Forests?

One foggy spring morning just after a hard rain, Park Williams was tromping through the woods deep in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. Toiling down a steep slope, he supposedly was keeping a simultaneous eye out for rattlesnakes, copperheads, poison ivy and big old trees. Williams seemed mostly focused on the trees, though; attention to the other stuff was just slowing him down. Williams studies how forests react to changes in climate, and the Ozarks’ deeply dissected hills and hollers—what some might refer to as typical hillbilly country—are a kind of ground zero for this.

by |March 15, 2016
Boundary Dam Power Station, Saskatchewan. Image courtesy of SaskPower

Questioning Carbon Capture and Storage

With billions of dollars around the world being invested into carbon capture and storage, often in the energy sector, there are compelling questions to ask about when, where and for what purpose we use this technology.

by |March 14, 2016

Competition Challenges Students to Limit Global Warming

Can the global community devise a solution to save the planet from the worst impacts of global climate change? How about doing it in seven hours?

Steven Cohen, August 11, 2015

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Watch: a Positive Vision of Sustainability

How do we transition to sustainability in a positive and effective way? In this video, Steven Cohen, executive director of the Earth Institute, discusses a positive vision of sustainability—one that avoids the gloom and doom rhetoric so often seen in headlines—and focuses on the technology, ingenuity and innovation that can build a sustainable economy.

by |February 26, 2016
CCSI extract photo for post

Internships Available at Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment is accepting applications until March 31 for internship positions for summer 2016. Interns are assigned to one or more projects depending on background and interests; unpaid and paid opportunities are available.

by |February 11, 2016
full group

How to Have the Climate Change Conversation

On Thursday, October 29, the Earth Institute and the School of International of Public Affairs hosted a panel on Sustainability and Climate Change in the 2016 Presidential Race. The panel was moderated by Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press. The panelists discussed how to frame the climate change conversation in such a polarized political environment.

by |November 2, 2015