State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Open House for Environment and Sustainable Development Programs

By Andrea Schecter

From critical global issues like climate change and water scarcity to devastating local disasters like the Gulf oil spill and Haiti earthquake, experts in sustainable development are being called upon more and more to meet the challenges of our increasingly complex world.

The demand for expertise and problem-solving in these areas is increasing exponentially, and the need for educational programs that train professionals to address pressing issues like climate change and sustainability is clear.  The Earth Institute, at the forefront of such issues, is involved in over 30 related undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programs at Columbia.   On Monday, October 25, the Earth Institute will be hosting an Open House to showcase these programs, giving attendees a great opportunity to meet program directors, faculty, and students who can provide valuable insight into how to jumpstart (or continue) a career in any one of the diverse fields represented, from environmental science and public health to development practice and sustainability management.

So what do students learn in these programs anyway?

Graduates of the M.S. in Sustainability Management are equipped with the necessary (and very much in-demand) tools to bring green ideas to businesses and the private sector, using sustainable practices to prevent calamities like oil spills and deforestation.

Students in the M.P.A. in Development Practice learn the ins and outs of sustainable development and its many different dimensions of study, including environmental science, economic development, global health, agronomics and others.  The program gives students the opportunity to travel to development projects in Africa or elsewhere to see firsthand how  systems are created to provide healthcare, better access to education, agriculture, infrastructure improvements and business development.

Undergraduates pursuing a B.A. in Earth and Environmental Science at Barnard take courses like Weapons of Mass Destruction and Carbon Cycle to gain a broad understanding of the effects of development and environmental degradation on the earth and how to use scientific expertise to find workable solutions to issues like climate change.  And this is just a taste of the broad range of programs offered.

Students in Earth Institute educational programs learn not only the background of the hot-button issues you hear about on the news, but also the methodology necessary to resolve them.  Graduates of our education programs work just as well as policymakers as they can researchers and practitioners.  Join us on October 25, and find out how the Earth Institute’s education programs will fast-track your professional goals and jumpstart a career in some of today’s most indispensible fields.

The Open House will be held from 4-7 pm in the Rotunda of Low Library, on Columbia’s Morningside Campus (116th St and Broadway).  Registration is recommended.  For more information or to RSVP, please email or call (212) 854-3142.  For further information on education at the Earth Institute, please visit

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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