A new report by the Columbia Water Center, produced in conjunction with Veolia Water and Growing Blue, could help expose the real nature of water risk in urban and rural areas throughout the country–even in places that most people think of as having plenty of water.
Last October, Superstorm Sandy provoked widespread frustration and fear after it left more than 7.5 million people in the New York Metro area without power. In the hardest hit areas, outages lasted two weeks or more. These failures led many observers to wonder if America’s aging electrical grid was up to dealing with emerging climate and other challenges.
When the Environmental Defense Fund asked me to measure how biogas cook stoves were changing the lives of farmers in rural India, there wasn’t a word in that question with which I was comfortable. Having just graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, I had never done fieldwork; and the concept of a biogas digester, which turns cow dung into natural gas through anaerobic digestion, was itself a mystery. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a steep learning curve into low-carbon development at a large scale. But even more, that it would provide a window into the lives of families whose existences have permanently improved thanks to the clean cooking stoves.
Near the end of “Chasing Ice,” a hunk of glacier the size of lower Manhattan explodes, rolls and crashes into the sea. If that sounds like a spoiler, well, go see the movie and you’ll know you would have known it was coming anyway. And the beauty of the movie is that it will still astound you.
America’s strong water infrastructure has been key to its success as a nation. Yet the nation’s continual waste of water and lack of commitment to long-term water investments has halted its progress.
Interested in Human geography, undersea volcanoes, microgrids, climate change and melting ice sheets, technology and sustainability? The coming week’s lineup of Earth Institute events has you covered.
The 1,000-day milestone to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) gathered professors Jeffrey Sachs, Prabhjot Singh, and Vijay Modi on April 4 for the Sustainable Development Seminar Series to take a critical look at how far the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) has come in the eight years since its founding and analyze what still needs to be accomplished.
“This is a mess, and it is a mess that we have not attended to yet,” Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs said at a conference on water security held today at Columbia University. “Humanity is the driver, but we don’t have our hands on the steering wheel very much.”
Watch highlights of last October’s “State of the Planet” summit, which brought experts together to discuss the challenges of sustainable development, climate change and the environment, as well as some of the solutions.
From warmer temperatures to natural disasters such as flooding and drought, changing patterns of climate are having billion-dollar impacts on our food-growing systems. But scientists are struggling to find ways to measure and predict what may happen in the future—and to translate that into policies to help feed a bulging world population.