Environment

Due to global warming the polar bear's habitat has changed drastically. Photo: Gerard Van der Leun

Climate Week: Why Does It Matter?

Climate Week NYC 2016, Sept. 19 to 35, features over 70 events bringing together business, societal and government leaders to share ideas, technologies, resources and success stories that are helping to curb climate change and transition to a low-carbon society.

by |September 15, 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
ShiraYashphe

Veterinarian Joins MPA-ESP to Work for Wildlife Conservation

“Reading of species after species declared extinct, like the west African black rhinoceros, made me realize that if I ever want to take part in wildlife conservation efforts, the time to take action and to take part in conservation efforts is now.”

by |August 1, 2016
Trump_&_Clinton

Trump vs. Clinton: What the Election Could Mean for Climate Policy

The outcome of this year’s presidential election could have far-reaching implications for the fate of our planet because the two presumptive candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, have very different ideas about climate change. What will they do about the Paris accord and climate change?

by |May 18, 2016
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