featured story Archives - State of the Planet

writing notes with pen

Free Workshop on Writing Blogs and Op-Eds

Taught by New York Times contributor and Columbia professor Claudia Dreifus, the March 3 workshop is open to Earth Institute students, faculty, and alumni.

by |January 29, 2018
flat earth map

What Would Happen if the Earth Were Actually Flat?

You could say goodbye to the atmosphere and GPS navigation, to start.

by |January 24, 2018
sunset in antarctica

Reflections from Antarctica: A Landscape in Flux

Working as an Antarctic field scientist, I witnessed the destruction provoked by a rapidly warming planet. But I also found inspiration.

by |January 16, 2018

Rivers Predicted to Jump Banks More Often as World Warms

Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flooding risks across the globe by the 2040s, says a new study.

by |January 10, 2018

Humidity May Prove Breaking Point for Some Areas as Temperatures Rise, Says Study

A new study projects that in coming decades the effects of high humidity in many areas may surpass humans’ ability to work or, in some cases, even survive.

by |December 22, 2017
Alex Halliday

Pioneering Oxford Geoscientist Alex Halliday to Head Columbia University’s Earth Institute

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Alexander N. Halliday, a geochemistry professor at University of Oxford and vice president of the UK’s Royal Society, as the new Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute.

by |December 14, 2017
bioplastic eating utensils

The Truth About Bioplastics

Plastics made from organic material are often touted as being eco-friendly, but do they live up to the hype?

by |December 13, 2017
blue sparkles in water

Studying Bioluminescent Blooms in the Arabian Sea

A plankton-like species is attacking the base of the food chain in the Arabian sea, disrupting water quality and killing fish. Researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are learning how to fight back.

by |December 4, 2017
Hurricane maria's destruction in puerto rico

Puerto Rico Faces a Long Road to a Sustainable Future

Puerto Rico suffered an estimated $94 billion or more in damage, on top of an already sagging economy and $74 billion in debt. The island needs a total reboot. Can it do it sustainably?

by |November 30, 2017

Ear to the Ground, Listening for Nuclear Blasts

Seismologist Lynn Sykes has been working for more than 50 years to halt the testing of nuclear bombs. In his forthcoming book, Silencing the Bomb: One Scientist’s Quest to Halt Nuclear Testing, Sykes provides an insider’s look at the science behind detecting explosions, and international efforts to establish a series of treaties.

by |November 27, 2017