State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Apply for *NEW* Executive Courses in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability

There is still time to apply for new courses on Environmental Sustainability, offered by the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, at Columbia University:

* The Sustainable City, Starts May 23
* Smarter Social Media for Environmental Sustainability, Starts May 24
* Business Approaches to Sustain Biodiversity, Starts May 25
* Topography and Water Management, Starts June 2

These, and other courses, taught by leading faculty, researchers and practitioners, can be taken individually or as part of CERC’s Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Program, which provides an official transcript from Columbia University and can be completed in as little as 9 months.

– Courses meet once a week in the evenings or Saturdays, for five weeks (or less)
– Candidates from any and all professional backgrounds are eligible to enroll
– Rolling admission deadlines

The Sustainable City
Howard N. Apsan, Director of Environmental, Health, Safety, and Risk Management for The City University of New York and Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban settings, making sustainable urban management such critical concern. This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of urban environmental management and sustainability, with a special focus on New York City. Topics will include air quality, water and wastewater, land use, transportation, energy, and waste management. Through readings and discussion you will gain an understanding of the many environmental challenges that today’s cities face and will explore how those challenges are being addressed.
MONDAYS, 6:10-­8:10PM: May 23, June 6, 13, 20, 27 (no class May 30 -­ Memorial Day)

Smarter Social Media for Environmental Sustainability
Prof. Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Student Affairs, Columbia Journalism School, and one of’s 35 most influential people in social media (environment experts as guest speakers)

How can technology and effective mass communication help achieve a sustainable future? Social media is going to play a critical role in the months and years ahead. This course takes social media to new levels by providing useful and practical lessons in how best to navigate this technology in strategic ways. Learn about the development of social media, where it is headed in the future, new ideas and trends and how to bring attention and traffic to enhance your work (and that of others) in protecting our planet. Discover best practices and what to avoid in this fast-­‐changing Web 2.0 world. You will become conversant in using social media platforms professionally (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others) and will learn how these platforms can be used for environmental change and sustainability. Case studies illustrate how to put environmental issues in the mainstream and how to attract large and diverse audiences when social media is used effectively. You will create an environmental social media campaign.
TUESDAYS, 6:10-­8:40PM: May 24, June 7, 14, 21 (4 sessions)

Business Approaches to Sustain Biodiversity
Helen Crowley, Associate Director
of Market-­based Conservation Initiatives at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), based out of the Bronx Zoo and Adjunct Research Scientist, Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Conserving biodiversity requires multi-­‐disciplinary and creative approaches. The development and success of small businesses as “conservation enterprises” depends on functioning ecosystem services and finding markets for the ‘natural’ products and services produced. The rapidly expanding field of ‘corporate sustainability’ has opened the door for biodiversity conservation to become integrated into global business -­‐ or has it? This course explores market-­‐based approaches to conservation, such as the marketing value of certification and labeling. You will engage in interactive lectures and assignments focused on how to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into corporate sustainability strategies, matching conservation initiatives to markets and designing a certification program.
WEDNESDAYS, 6:10-­8:40PM: May 25, June 1, June 8 and SATURDAY, June 18 (10AM-­12:30PM)

Topography and Water Management
John Folchetti, CEO & Founder, Folchetti & Associates

Freshwater scarcity is a severe threat to human and ecological well-­‐being in many areas, including the United States. As populations and urban areas grow, water management will become increasingly more complex. Land use projects need to analyze this issue in detail and topography is a critical tool necessary to make better-­‐informed and more sustainable decisions. This course analyses the physical processes that govern the earth’s hydrologic cycle, including impacts made by human beings. It reviews related policies and regulatory controls and provides basic GIS applications and map analysis skills. Instruction on water management is paired with techniques on how to identify these issues in topographical maps and aerial photography. You will work on a water project utilizing these applications.
THURSDAYS, 6:10-­8:10PM: June 2, 9, 16, 23; and SATURDAY, June 4 (10AM-­12PM)

These courses can be taken individually or as part of CERC’s Evening Certificate Program.
More information at or contact Desmond Beirne at, 212-854-0149.

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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