September 18, 2014

8:52 PM | New Executive Program on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment will be addressing the challenges of sustainable agricultural investment in its inaugural Executive Training Program on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture, which will be held at Columbia University from March 8-13, 2015.
6:40 PM | The World's Population Is Unlikely To Stabilize This Century
Contrary to previous projections, it now appears that the world's population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There's at least an 80% chance that between 9.6 and 12.3 billion humans will inhabit the Earth by 2100 — and much of this increase will happen in Africa.Read more...

September 17, 2014

4:55 PM | Photo Essay: Open House at Lamont-Doherty
Bend a rock. Channel your historic 'birthquake.' Check out rocks, fossils, sediment cores and more at Lamont's Open House on Saturday, October 11.
3:34 PM | What Everyone Should Know About Climate Change
Climate scientist William D’Andrea of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory asked young scientists attending a symposium last October, "What do you wish everyone knew about climate change?" He turned the responses into this video, which covers the topic pretty well.

September 16, 2014

5:52 PM | Is the Highest Climb Sustainable, and Who Pays the Price?
The Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest is perhaps the most well-known and notoriously dangerous glacial feature on the planet. In a fresh post on the Glacier Hub blog, the Earth Institute’s Ben Orlove, writing with anthropologist Pasang Yangjee Sherpa of Penn State, recounts a recent workshop held in Kathmandu to address the issues raised by the tragic deaths last spring of 16 Nepalese guides who were preparing the trail for this year’s climbing expeditions.

September 15, 2014

5:24 PM | Join the Earth Institute for Climate Week NYC
From heads of state to ordinary citizens, thousands of people will gather for more than 100 events during Climate Week NYC. They’ll be talking and debating the rights of nature, corporate leadership, the threat from rising seas, innovations for social good and innumerable other topics. The Earth Institute and its centers will be engaged in several events.

September 12, 2014

2:06 AM | Less is more with the Water Use Efficiency Initiative
Australia is not what you’d call over-burdened with water, and yet we grow vast amounts of wheat and other grains. To continue to do so, we need to use the water we have as efficiently as possible. To do more with less. Together with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, we started a multi-pronged project […]

September 11, 2014

6:28 PM | Selling snow to eskimos
… or talking about urban cycling in Oldenburg. Today I participated in a workshop on sustainable mobility which was held in the context of this year’s EnviroInfo conference. There I had the chance to present (slides here ) our research on bicycle safety as fundament of a comprihensive bicycle promotion strategy. Before I came to […]
4:30 PM | Larry Gibson and the Lobster Boat
There are many brave people who recognize the climate crisis and are beginning to stand up and take personal risks to try to stop expansion of the fossil fuel industry, across the United States, in Canada, and in other nations. Their courage is remarkable and I hope it has an awakening effect.
3:26 PM | Next big idea in forest conservation? Harness the power of marketing
As a whole, conservationists have been slow to adapt the strategies of marketing or to market conservation at all. Dr. Diogo Veríssimo, a researcher who works at the interface between social and natural sciences, with a focus on behavior change and evidence-based conservation, thinks this needs to change.

September 10, 2014

2:00 PM | PARIS III: EPA’s Solvent Substitution Software Tool
By Paul Harten, Ph.D. For decades, companies have used chemicals or solvents to improve the performance of their industrial processes.  Unfortunately, many of these solvents are released as harmful wastes into our environment.  EPA researchers are helping reduce that practice. Recently, my colleagues and I developed a software tool, called PARIS III, that helps companies […]

September 09, 2014

7:19 PM | How Can Federal and City Governments Cooperate? The Case of Green Infrastructure
With support from the Earth Institute, writers Caswell Holloway, Carter Strickland, Michael Gerrard, and Daniel Firger recently published "Solving the CSO Conundrum: Green Infrastructure and the Unfulfilled Promise of Federal-Municipal Cooperation" in Harvard Environmental Law Review. The authors propose regulatory and policy reform to develop comprehensive, locally led infrastructure and sustainability initiatives that improve public health and the environment. They look specifically at the […]

September 08, 2014

9:31 PM | EuroTrash: How Sweden Turns Gunk to Gold
Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden from Sweden on Vimeo.
7:42 PM | The Big Ratchet
Environmental geographer Ruth DeFries, a pioneer in studying how humans have transformed earth’s surface, is author of the new book The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis. She argues that we have  continually created new technologies that allow our numbers to grow. But  each new invention creates a new problem—which [...]

September 04, 2014

7:20 PM | A Business Case for Restoring and Protecting Ecosystems
Jeffery Potent writes about how corporations are thinking about their impact on ecosystems in terms of economic quantification in order to achieve more sustainable practices. His upcoming EICES certificate course will also explore how leading corporations are innovating to address environmental and social issues from a business perspective.

September 03, 2014

3:25 PM | West Coast Fish Upgraded to Sustainable Seafood Choice
One of the key fisheries on the West Coast is coming back after years of decline.

August 29, 2014

3:48 AM | A Map to Build Roads to a Better Future
When I learned that the pesticide DDT–widely toxic and now widely banned–has snaked its way into polar bears and beluga whales, I questioned if any environment remains pristine on terrestrial Earth. Perhaps, the thick, hostile and unyielding rainforests of Borneo might prove a bastion? Then in 2013, satellite images showed roads penetrating deep into Borneo. […]

Laurance, W., Clements, G., Sloan, S., O’Connell, C., Mueller, N., Goosem, M., Venter, O., Edwards, D., Phalan, B., Balmford, A. & Van Der Ree, R. (2014). A global strategy for road building, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13717


August 27, 2014

5:14 PM | Food, Politics and Sustainability: An Introduction to the Native American Food Sovereignty Movement
Throughout the United States a movement for food sovereignty has emerged among a number of Tribal Nations and communities. ‘Food sovereignty’ was first coined by members of La Via Campesina in […]

August 26, 2014

8:18 PM | How do we save the world's vanishing old-growth forests?
There's nothing in the world like a primary forest, which has never been industrially logged or cleared by humans. They are often described as cathedral-like, due to pillar-like trees and carpet-like undergrowth. Yet, the world's primary forests—also known as old-growth forests—are falling every year, and policy-makers are not doing enough to stop it.
1:41 AM | A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland
You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability... -- Read more on

August 25, 2014

7:04 PM | The Energy to Fight Injustice
The enormity of these anti-nuclear policy decisions is difficult to exaggerate. Energy consumption is an inescapable requirement of development, and renewable energy sources alone cannot satisfy the energy demands of China and other developing nations. They now have no choice but to burn massive amounts of coal if they wish to raise their living standards.

August 22, 2014

1:13 PM | Did Congestion Charging Just Go Viral?
What is congestion charging? Congestion charging or pricing is the practice of setting up cordon tolls around the city on a large-scale to charge entrants for entering during peak hours. Ideally,... -- Read more on

August 21, 2014

2:56 PM | Next big idea in forest conservation? DNA fingerprinting trees to stem illegal logging
As a professor at Texas Tech, Dr. Chuck Cannon has been, among other things, working to create a system of DNA fingerprinting for tropical trees to undercut the global illegal logging trade. 'If we just enforced existing laws and management policies, things would be pretty good, but unfortunately, that is where things fall apart in many tropical countries,' Cannon said.
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