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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
Standing ankle deep in mud by the resistivity meter.  The smokestack of the brick factory can be seen in the distance.

Tubewells to the Rescue

The resistivity testing was hampered by bad roads and flooded fields. The augering was proving similarly difficult in the thick muds of the abandoned channel. It was time to change to our alternative plan: drilling with tube wells. That worked better and we had turned a corner.

by |October 17, 2015
The large abandoned channel we hoped to work in is completely flooded.

Pani, Pani Everywhere

Heading out to our field area, we discovered that the abandoned river valley we planned to study was completely flooded. There was pani—the Bangla word for water—everywhere.

by |October 14, 2015
The Taj Mahal. You can see its enormous size from the line of people waiting to get inside standing on the pedestal. The line completely circled the tomb on this holiday weekend.

Bangladesh and India, Too

Returning to Bangladesh for additional fieldwork, I stopped off in India for several meetings, but we found time for some sightseeing, too. We were able to see the Qutub Minar complex in Delhi as well as the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in Agra. Plus all the meetings in Delhi, Kolkata and Dhaka were very successful.

by |October 13, 2015
Somali children play in a child-friendly space supported by UNICEF and run by Save the Children US in the Kobe refugee camp in Ethiopia, in 2012. Some 27,000 refugees from drought and conflict were residing in the camp. Photo: UNICEF

Certificate Program to Focus on Environment and Security

A new professional certificate program at Columbia University will address the linkages between environment and security, aimed at practitioners with responsibility for providing assessments and warnings regarding environment-security risks or for designing programs to manage such risks.

by |October 5, 2015

The Big City, Subdivided for Sustainability

Two-thirds of people on the planet will live in cities by 2050. But few cities are prepared for this population boom. An upcoming research project will explore new, localized models for urban infrastructure to make cities cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable places to live.

Geochemist James Ross of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory installs an air-quality monitor in a home neighboring a hydraulic-fracturing drill pad. CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW

Hospitalizations Increase Near Fracking Sites, Study Shows

People living in areas of Pennsylvania where hydraulic fracturing is booming are suffering increasing rates of hospitalization, a new study says. The study is one of a small but growing number suggesting that the practice could be affecting human health.

by |July 16, 2015

An Algorithm to Investigate Unwelcome Plankton

Computer scientists at Columbia University will work with oceanographers to understand what has caused an unusual plankton-like species to rapidly invade the Arabian Sea food chain, threatening fisheries that sustain more than 100 million people.

by |July 7, 2015
Simpson-H-James crop

H. James Simpson; Tracked Pollutants in the Hudson and Far Beyond

H. James Simpson, a geochemist who pioneered important studies of water pollutants in the Hudson River and abroad, died May 10. He had been affiliated with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for 50 years. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said his family; he was 72.

by |May 26, 2015
Jorling Billings 1970

Preserving the Origins of Environmental Law for a New Generation of Leaders

In fall 2014, Columbia University, through the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Continuing Education and the Earth Institute, offered a never-before-taught class on “The Origins of Environmental Law.” While many courses teach the fundamentals of environmental law, this course spoke to the people and politics behind the creation of the legislation. The Earth Institute is excited to present a short film providing a glimpse into the importance of this course.

by |May 19, 2015