State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

This Year’s Sachs Student Lecture

Update: Watch video on “Choices for America’s Economic Future.”

Choices for America's Economic FutureOn Tuesday, November 17, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute, will give his sixth annual student lecture from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Alfred Lerner Hall on the Columbia campus. The title of this year’s talk is “Choices for America’s Economic Future.”

The topics of Sachs’ lectures have varied over the years, but his message remains consistent. He presents a vision of a sustainable world and calls for students to get involved. “It will be your homework assignment to clean up this mess,” he told students in his 2007 address.

Last year’s lecture focused on the Millennium Villages project, a partnership between the Earth Institute, Millennium Promise and the UN Development Program to equip the world’s most impoverished people with the knowledge and tools they need for sustainable living. “Often there are tremendously powerful solutions at hand,” says Sachs, “which nonetheless—and despite their low cost—fail to reach the poor who would benefit from them.”

In Sachs’s 2007 lecture on achieving international peace through sustainable development, he discussed the importance of sustainable development in preventing future global conflict, suggesting that reckless growth and the exploitation of resources are the underlying causes of many of the conflicts that create social insecurity. He lamented that many nations still consider war as a solution, saying “If we continue with the mindset that our world is destined for war, we will destroy everything, and while the odds are small of that, they’re growing.”

In 2006, Sachs spoke about practical approaches to climate change. “There is no solution unless it is global,” he said. Sachs discussed the challenges of translating science into effective policy and the importance of broad public understanding and international cooperation.

We invite you to learn more and register for “Choices for America’s Economic Future.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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Arman Rousta
14 years ago

Great job Professor Sachs! Your work is admirable and essential.