Earth Institute – Cross-Disciplinary Sustainability Knowledge

The Earth Institute is one good source of leading edge, cross-disciplinary knowledge about the science and policy options required to address the challenges of sustainable development. These challenges are becoming increasingly complex as they change in response to the accelerating effects of  global warming.

This arena of sustainability knowledge forms the context and basis for the work of urban planners, and the Earth Institute is one credible source for monitoring and learning about the emerging changes, options, and resolutions.

The mission of the Earth Institute at Columbia University is solutions for sustainable development. The Earth Institute brings together the people and tools needed to address some of the world’s most difficult problems, from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and the sustainable use of resources.

Their seperate site, State of the Planet, is a compilation of many blogs on the topic and is a source of information and knowledge at the leading edge of sustainability.

One example of  the Institute’s work is their response to “Superstorm” Sandy.

Sandy hit the region hard, and we were distressed to see so many residents lose their homes and businesses and in the most tragic cases, precious lives. Many, sadly, were still struggling to get back on their feet even as the next storm arrived.

The crisis around Hurricane Sandy shows why we need cross-disciplinary knowledge: climate, engineering and policy. The Earth Institute’s scientists continue to conduct the cutting-edge research that builds the scientific expertise to predict and track storms, and to advise government policymakers and the public on the best ways to prevent, ameliorate and respond to the growing challenges of environmental hazards.

Through dozens of interviews with the media before, during and after the storm, experts from the Earth Institute had a direct impact on the public¹s understanding of what was occurring. They explained the science behind the storm, and helped to predict its impact on our infrastructure.

In fact, important work at the Earth Institute has long anticipated the devastating effects of Sandy, by pointing out the growing risks of floods and storm surges. Earth Institute experts continue to talk to the media about the growing threat from climate change faced by coastal communities, and the lessons we can learn as we look and plan ahead.

To learn more from the Earth Institute scientists, please note the following links to our State of the Planet blog.

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