New Earth Institute Courses for Spring 2010

New Earth Institute Courses for Spring 2010

There are several exciting new courses in the environment and sustainable development being offered for the Spring 2010 semester. The new courses will focus on environment, sustainability practices and developing a greener economy. They will feature some of the research being conducted throughout the various divisions of the Earth Institute, Columbia University. 

One of the new courses, Environmental Data Analysis, will introduce students to statistical data analysis in the context of environmental issues. It will be taught by Professor Susana Adamo, associate research scientist at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). Through a combination of lectures and laboratory exercises, the course encourages rigorous examination of the many applications of statistical analysis in climate change assessment, environmental justice, land use, land cover change and measuring the impacts of natural hazards on populations. Geared toward students in the Environmental Science and Policy M.P.A. program at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), it will be open to graduate students in other schools and departments.

Writing About Global Science for the International Media will be taught by Professor Claudia Dreifus, adjunct assistant professor of international and public affairs. Dreifus, who writes the 'Conversation with…’ column in the Tuesday Science Section of The New York Times, created this course to teach students to communicate scientific issues to a larger, non-science community. Professor Dreifus has created an interdisciplinary journalism workshop for this unique skill set. The course engages students through exercises and hands-on experiences that will produce feature stories and polished journalism techniques. The writing skills that the students will hone help them make science accessible to those seeking answers about nature, but who may not necessarily be science savvy. Students studying policy can use this skill set to help develop environmental policy through their ability to engage in conversation and communicate with non-scientists on environmental and scientific issues. This course is offered through the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology and students from the School of International and Public Affairs are encouraged to enroll.

The Earth Institute Practicum on Environment and Sustainable Development will be taught by Louise Rosen, director of the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute, associate director of the M.P.A. Program in Environmental Science and Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs, and adjunct lecturer of international and public affairs.  The introductory course will showcase how current research conducted in Earth Institute programs and center is being used and its policy implications. Columbia University students from across the campus are encouraged to attend. The course provides an opportunity for students to learn first-hand and discuss the interconnected disciplines and research being conducted by the various research units of the Earth Institute.

Finally, the Earth Institute is also offering a course exploring the intersection of environmental markets, business and politics in the transition to a more environmentally conscious economy. This course, Financing the Green Economy: Markets, Business and Politics, will be taught by Professor Brannen McElmurray, a senior associate at evolution markets and adjunct assistant professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. The course explores the large-scale transition to a low-carbon economy through several distinct vantage points, including emerging environmental markets. It will provide market-based mechanisms for achieving environmental objectives for new businesses and industries positioning themselves to capitalize on perceived market opportunities. To do so, the course will address various national priorities and the effects of changing energy and climate change policies on social norms. This course will equip students with an understanding of the dynamics and players that will serve them well as they pursue work professionally in the environmental finance industry or in related commercial, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. This course is open to students in professional master’s degree programs with interests in environmental and/or financial issues.

To learn more about the Earth Institute academic programs and courses, please visit our Web site at, call 212-854-3142 or email