featured story Archives - State of the Planet

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

Cities Are Key to a Sustainable Future

Get a sneak peek at the major takeaways from The Sustainable City, the latest book by Earth Institute executive director Steve Cohen. Available now from Columbia University Press.

by |November 15, 2017

In Biblical Land, Searching for Droughts Past and Future

Human-influenced climate warming has already reduced rainfall and increased evaporation in the Mideast, worsening water shortages. Up to now, climate scientists had projected that rainfall could decline another 20 percent by 2100. But the Dead Sea cores suggest that things could become much worse, much faster.

by |October 31, 2017
oil rig

Can Fossil Fuel Companies Be Held Liable For Climate Change?

Like Big Tobacco, fossil fuel companies have knowingly sold a product that causes harm while covering up and distorting the truth. Can they be sued for climate-related damages?