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.
By: Jessica Sotomayor The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is currently accepting applications for Fall 2013 Teaching Assistant positions. Please note: Applicants must be current full-time CU students enrolled in a degree granting program. Applications will only be accepted by graduate students and undergraduate juniors or seniors. The Teaching Assistants will support the following courses: [...]
This spring, sustainable development seniors worked with clients on a range of projects aimed at combatting local and international challenges to sustainability, as part of the Capstone Workshop in Sustainable Development. Spring 2013 projects include the Department of Defense’s Net Zero Energy Initiative, Bike New York, the City as a Living Laboratory, and a Storm Damage, Climate Change, and Adaptation Planning for the Rockland County Commissioner of Planning.
Interdisciplinary collaboration, rather than polarized efforts, are needed to promote environmental sustainability.
The Millennium Villages Internship program provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain on-the-ground experience in global public health, business development, agriculture, infrastructure, and other development interventions though firsthand participation.
In a recent interview, Dr. Stuart Gaffin provided his thoughts on the direction that the field of sustainability is moving into. In his words, urban environmental research is the topic of the day: “Many cities, including New York, are putting ambitious plans in place to reduce emissions, and implement adaptation practices, including novel green infrastructure technologies, that will buffer residents against climate change,” he said.
Under-graduate and graduate students from Columbia University joined professors Kevin Griffin and Matthew Palmer in September for the first of 10 field trips outside of the New York City area. Dr. Griffin and Dr. Palmer teach Forest Ecology, a course that combines classroom theory with hands-on experience and training in methods of ecological field work.
Students visit Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Earth Institute’s center for scientific research, which housed research facilities in fields ranging from marine geology to climate change.
It’s not every day one has the opportunity to see river restoration efforts, take water samples, and refine one’s canoeing skills. Students from the Sustainable Development program did all three while exploring the Bronx River with the Bronx River Alliance.
Columbia alumni Jing Chu and William Jaffray speak to students about their work as energy engineers with Associated Renewable, an energy consulting firm focusing on carbon management, training and education, energy and supply, and project financing.