Features Archive - State of the Planet

Sustain What

One of the most overused and ill-defined words in conversations about the environment is “sustainability.” So the first step in effective communication in pursuit of a better human relationship with the Earth and each other is to ask, “Sustain what?” This blog explores how to make information and conversations matter on a fast-changing, noisy planet… read more

Consilience Considers

At the heart of sustainability is the pursuit of fairness for those who come after us. Students at Columbia University are future sustainability practitioners, climate activists, earth scientists, and champions of the planet. Some might say they already are. Coming of age at a time of great upheaval, unprecedented alarm and opportunity, they have plenty… read more

colorful recycling bins

Sustainable Living

With all the information that’s out there, living your best climate- and eco-conscious life isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. So, folks from around the Earth Institute are here to share their challenges, successes, expertise, and advice on how we can live well with the environment in mind.

Ocean of Extremes

The Southern Ocean is notorious for having some of the strongest winds and largest waves ever seen on the planet. It is also home to the largest current in the world, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This mightiest current connects all three major basins of the global ocean — the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans —… read more

You Asked

Got a burning question about climate change? Feeling curious about conservation? “You Asked” is a series where Earth Institute experts tackle reader questions on science and sustainability. To submit a question, drop a comment below, message us on Instagram, or email us here.

Tracking Climate Change in the Páramos

For more than 10 years, adjunct researcher Daniel Ruiz Carrascal from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has been studying Colombia’s páramos. This unique mountaintop ecosystem is important in terms of biodiversity and water supply, but is particularly threatened by climate change; the páramos are warming nearly as fast as the Arctic, and… read more

Taking a sample from a moraine boulder for cosmogenic surface exposure dating during the 2011-2012 Antarctic field season near Conrow Glacier, Wright Valley. (Photo: Jen Lamp)

Landscape Evolution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys

From November 2018 to February 2019, our team is studying how rocks alter and erode in one of the most extreme environments on the planet—Antarctica. The project is called Landscape evolution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys: Erosion rates and real-time monitoring of rock breakdown in a hyperarid, subzero environment, and it is funded by the… read more

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade is a new series that brings you inside the labs of Earth Institute scientists. Learn about the equipment scientists are using, and discover how those tools are used in their research.

Helicopter in Greenland

The Future of Snow on Ice

What if the warming Arctic climate were to result in more snow? Could decreasing sea ice cover actually drive more evaporation of newly exposed Arctic ocean water into the atmosphere? And could that increased moisture in the air fall on the ice sheet as snow? If yes, will this stabilize the Greenland Ice Sheet, stopping… read more

Understanding Ecosystems off the Hawaiian Islands

Biological oceanographer Sonya Dyhrman’s team is embarking on a research cruise off Hawaii as part of the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE) on the R/V Kilo Moana. Gwenn Hennon and Matthew Harke will be at sea for nearly three weeks with logistical support from Sheean Haley back on shore. The cruise will be… read more