State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

MPA Student Explores Relationship between Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability: Part II

As an intern at the Institute for Conscious Global Change, MPA-ESP student Andi Broffman has been working on Goal #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability of the organization's Millennium Earth Project.

Earlier in the semester, we spoke with Andi Broffman, a student in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) program, about her internship at The Institute for Conscious Global Change (ICGC), a non-governmental organization that uses geographic information systems (GIS) to create a visual solution to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals . By using GIS to create a virtual globe of the “Millennium Earth,” the organization can track agricultural, medical, educational, economic, environmental, and developmental problems throughout the world.

At ICGC, Andi has been working specifically on Goal #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability of the Millennium Earth Project, focusing on Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As a researcher, Andi compiles data for a GIS team that puts the data into the software to develop maps highlighting unaddressed needs and opportunities for advancing Millennium Development Goals in the world’s least developed countries.

So far, Andi has completed her research on Haiti using geospatial data, displaying mineral deposits, energy sources and availability, deforestation, carbon emissions, and the status of mangrove forests. The data has been formatted for GIS with latitude and longitude so that it can be presented in map form.

Currently, Andi is part of a team that is working to create a list of non-governmental organizations in the DRC that could be potential partners and support the work of the ICGC, namely active non-governmental organizations with projects that promote environmental sustainability. She has also assisted with background research on biodiversity in DRC, including identifying the types of plant and animal species present and the geographic location of species, as well as learning about the threats to and successful restoration of ecosystems. With this data, the Institute for Conscious Global Change aims to streamline processes and align priorities to allow for the efficient use of existing resources to achieve environmental sustainability.

Students in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program enroll in a year-long, 54-credit program offered at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Earth Institute. Throughout this one year program, students are immersed in courses that combine Columbia University’s hands-on approach to teaching public policy and administration with pioneering thinking about the environment. During the summer semester, students learn the fundamentals of environmental science, while the fall and spring semesters focus on teaching the policy and economics necessary to becoming successful environmental analysts and managers. The 62 students come from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from Sociology to Engineering and come to us from 17 different countries. Please visit our website to learn more about the program.

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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