At Columbia University, graduate students put their education to real-world use before even leaving the classroom. As part of a workshop in applied earth systems management this spring, students in the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy program spent a semester working with clients such as the U.S. EPA and the United Nations World Food Programme to craft solutions to specific environmental policy needs and challenges.
The new Vale-Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment, launched this spring, will promote learning, teaching, policy-oriented research and practical work within the arena of foreign direct investment (FDI), with a particular focus on sustainable development dimensions.
Columbia climate scientists using computer models to simulate the 1930s Dust Bowl on the U.S. Great Plains have found that dust raised by farmers probably amplified and spread a natural drop in rainfall, turning an ordinary drying cycle into an agricultural collapse.
Scientists probing volcanic rocks from deep under the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean have discovered a special geochemical signature until now found only in the southern hemisphere. The rocks were dredged from the remote Gakkel Ridge, Earth’s most northerly undersea spreading ridge, which lies beneath 3,000 to 5,000 meters of water.
"The global food crisis is the result of a perfect storm," said Dr. Pedro Sanchez of the Earth Institute at an event in Nairobi, Kenya recently. "The diversion of land for biofuels, the increasing demand for feed grains [for livestock] and the drought in Australia have all contributed to the soaring food prices," said Sanchez.
Scientists at the Earth Institute and other parts of Columbia University will join with schools in New York City and the Dominican Republic this year in a hands-on program to involve students directly in environmental field studies. The program links graduate students and their research to middle and high school classes in low-income schools.
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