Designed to foster research on complex problems in sustainable development, the interdisciplinary aspect of the Earth Institute is centered around nine fundamental research themes:
As the global population grows, so does the demand for water. However, climate variability and change are making it difficult to meet this demand. Our researchers and scientists are seeking solutions that address all aspects of water scarcity. The Columbia Water Center is targeting rural water interventions in India, China, Africa and Brazil, while the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, is working in the Philippines to identify key decision points at which climate information can be used to better manage water resources.
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Climate and Society
The dynamic interaction between humans and climate is not new, but the scale of this interaction has reached unprecedented proportions. We are integrating research from across disciplines to translate the best climate knowledge into practical solutions. Through projects such as Abrupt Climate Change in a Warming World (ACWW), we are bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines to create a complete understanding of how our climate is changing.
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In order to reduce the effects of global climate change while still allowing for continued economic development, we need alternative energy sources and increased energy efficiency. Through projects such as SharedSolar, an affordable and sustainable method of providing energy to poor rural communities, and the work of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, which is revolutionizing CO2 capture technology, we are developing technologies and policy solutions to help ensure a sustainable energy future.
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For the first time in history, over half of the world's population lives in urban areas. The vast and complex networks that exist in cities provide incredible opportunities, but they are also under acute stress as their populations expand. Through centers and projects such as the Urban Design Lab and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development, we are exploring ways to create healthy, urban settings in both the developed and the developing world.
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Global Hazards and Risk
Natural disasters can have devastating effects on human populations and economies. Researchers from across the Earth Institute strive to deepen the world's understanding of these hazards, the threats they pose to society and the ways in which humans respond to them. Click the button below to support this work and other projects addressing hazards, supply chains and risk reduction.
Global health burdens are a major factor among vulnerable populations all over the world. We are working to address these burdens through projects such as the 1 Million Community Health Workers Campaign which acts as a platform to employ exciting new technologies, extend health care delivery and improve health outcomes in villages and small communities around the world. Click the button below to support this work and other Earth Institute projects aimed at improving medical care in the developing world and addressing the many factors that can affect it.
Over a billion people currently live below the poverty line. At the Earth Institute, researchers, scientists and development practitioners work together to fight global poverty by addressing its many causes. The Agriculture and Food Security Center is using science, technology, management and policy tools to improve environmental quality, nutrition and farmers' incomes through sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries. By taking a "human needs" approach and looking closely at the root causes of extreme poverty we can better address whether people have the basic tools they need for sustainable economic growth.
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Food, Ecology and Nutrition
The Earth Institute's Agriculture and Food Security Center is dedicated to addressing the interactions between agricultural production, environmental quality and human well-being. It uses science, technology, management and policy tools to improve environmental quality, nutrition and farmers' incomes through sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries.
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Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Diverse ecosystems are critical to the survival of the global economy and to life on Earth. Threatened by a growing human population and an increasing consumption of natural resources, these ecosystems and the biodiversity that they support are at risk. The Earth Institute is working to better understand the nature of ecosystems, monitor the ways in which they are changing and how these changes are affecting the human population to develop new strategies that will better protect our Earth.
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