Scientists say that a type of rock found at or near the earth’s surface in the nation of Oman and other areas around the world could be harnessed to soak up huge quantities of globe-warming carbon dioxide. Their studies show that the rock, known as peridotite, reacts naturally at surprisingly high rates with CO2 to form solid minerals—and that the process could be accelerated a million times or more with simple drilling and injection methods.
The Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) has received $900,000 from Google.org to improve the use of climate information to predict disease outbreaks in East Africa. The award is part of a wider Google program that funds projects to map hotspots of emerging diseases and improve early-warning systems in resource-poor countries.
A global initiative to provide rigorous professional training for future leaders in the field of sustainable development was unveiled this fall at Columbia University. The program, which was recommended in a report by the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, sets a standard for universities hoping to design master's degrees along this model.
The Earth Institute’s Millennium Villages project received proceeds from the sale of a collection of rare British Empire stamps donated by financier Bill Gross and his wife Sue. The collection was auctioned by Spink Shreves Galleries in New York City for $1.5 million, with the highest selling item a stamp from Mauritius, which brought in $85,000. This is Mr. and Mrs. Gross’ second donation of rare stamps to benefit our Millennium Villages.
Sustainable development is a multidisciplinary field. It necessarily draws on the tools of the natural, engineering, social and health sciences, and many other fields. This semester, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is speaking to students and professors at several schools around the University about how they can enhance their role in education, research and outreach activities in sustainable development.
Small farmers in the highlands of Ethiopia have long been highly susceptible to droughts that can leave people hungry and penniless for years. Now, an innovative crop insurance program is aimed at helping them recover quickly and produce food when the weather improves. The program, managed by Oxfam America, will receive assistance from researchers at the Earth Institute.
Considered by many to be the earth sciences’ equivalent of a Nobel, the $250,000 Vetlesen Prize is funded by the New York-based G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation and administered by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the Earth Institute. The most recent recipient is Walter Alvarez, the maverick geologist who convinced a skeptical world that dinosaurs and many other living things on Earth were wiped out by a huge fireball from space.
Students from the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy Program presented their midterm briefings for the workshop in Applied Earth Systems Management this October. Projects cover a range of topics including energy, global warming, wildlife adaptation and water resource management.
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The Earth Institute at Columbia University is made up of 33 centers and programs where scientists, students and postdoctoral fellows work to mobilize the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable Earth.