State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Education Goes International

The Center for Environmental Research and Conservation has entered the second phase of its pilot Distance Learning Program by expanding its offering of online Executive Education modules taught by research and practitioner faculty from both the public and private sectors. CERC’s integration of web-based learning into the Certificate Program in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability allows the Center to reach an international audience, providing education to students from as far away as the United Kingdom, South Africa, and New Zealand. Upcoming online course offerings this semester include:

Introduction to Ecology

Jenna Lawrence
Lecturer, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
This course examines the interaction between the living components of the earth with the environment, including the distribution and abundance of plants and animals and the impact of human activities on these distributions. Key ecological principles are illustrated with applied examples of how changes in the environment affect ecological systems, ultimately providing you with the tools to evaluate environmental issues.
Mondays, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (5 sessions; 6:10-8:10PM)

Ecology and Sustainable Water Management
David Reid
Lecturer, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
Human societies require a constant supply of clean water to survive. Environmental guidelines protect ecosystems that perform beneficial functions of critical importance. This course explores the science behind the development of these guidelines, with a focus on management of aquatic ecosystems and protection of water resources. This course examines how environmental science informs the development of guidelines for sustainable ecosystem management and exposes the myth that environmental protection is an unaffordable luxury during tough economic times.
Tuesdays, Oct. 16, 23, 30, Nov. 13, 20 (5 sessions; 6:10-8:10PM)

Diversity and Conservation
Matt Palmer, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental
Biology, Columbia University

Human life and wellbeing are dependent on goods and services provided by nature. However, this
natural capital is chronically undervalued and often poorly understood. Biodiversity – the variety of life on earth – supports many ecosystem functions and the loss of diversity can have both obvious and subtle consequences. This course explores the scientific issues related to the origin, distribution, and functions of biodiversity and the consequences of biodiversity loss. We discuss a range of tools for conserving biodiversity – including species recovery plans, protected area management, and ecosystem-based management.
Wednesdays, Nov. 14, 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19 (5 sessions; 6:10-8:10PM, skip Nov 21)

These courses are also available to attend in the classroom on the Columbia University campus.

For more information and a free demo of the distance learning software, please visit our website or contact Brian Kateman at 212-854-0350 or

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