State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

New Courses in Conservation, Sustainability

The Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) at Columbia University provides executive training in environmental sustainability through science, policy, and economics; we invite you to learn from our leading experts and practitioners to become an effective environmental leader and decision-maker.

Upcoming CERC Courses:

Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Decision-Making
Jeff Potent, Adjunct Professor, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs
Environmental Protection Specialist, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Explore how leading corporations assess impacts and dependencies on the natural world. Examine how corporations use tools to value natural goods and services and identify approaches to reduce environmental impacts. Learn how companies improve environmental performance to enhance brand recognition, reduce liability, and create products and services that consider environmental attributes important to a growing cross-section of customers.
Mondays, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10, 15 (6:00 – 8:30 PM) – Available via Webinars

Sustainable Coastal Economies: The Science and Policy of Managing and Conserving our Ocean Resources
Caleb McClennen, Director, Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society
In New York State alone, activities that depend on healthy, accessible, and clean oceans such as tourism and recreation, fisheries, and marine transport generate more than $14.3 billion a year for our state economy. Continuing coastal development, intensification of agriculture and inland activities such as waste, sewer and water management, directly impact the sustainability of our coastal resources. Review the science and policy behind the trade-offs in increased ocean and coastal economic development in several core marine sectors. Investigate existing options for improving sustainability and discuss areas of necessary improvement in our ability to effectively manage this transformation. Participate in a day long field trip to New York’s Waterfront to gather an in depth understanding of New York’s coastal economy. Explore the past and present of New York’s maritime economy and discuss at the site level, elements of New York’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan: Vision 2020.
Meets: Tuesdays, Dec. 4 and 18 (6:10-8:10PM) and Saturday, Dec. 15 (10:00AM-4:00PM)

Diversity and Conservation
Matt Palmer, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
Human life and well-being depend 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. Explore the scientific issues related to the origin, distribution, and functions of biodiversity and the consequences of biodiversity loss. Discuss a range of tools for conserving biodiversity – including species recovery plans, protected area management, and ecosystem-based management.
Meets: Wednesdays, Nov. 14, 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19 (6:10-8:10PM) Available via Webinars

Sustainable Buildings: Design and Construction in the 21st Century
Patrick Gallagher, LEED AP, Vice President of Estimating, BP Mechanical Corporation
The built environment has a vast impact on the natural environment, human health, and the economy. Green building strategies maximize economic and environmental performance. Green construction methods can be integrated into buildings at any stage of development. Examine the impact buildings have on the environment and the unique challenges of creating a sustainable building. Learn the essential strategies and work practices of sustainable design and construction.
Meets: Thursdays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20 (6:10 – 8:40 PM)

Complete Spring 2012 Course Calendar and Descriptions are available at:

Our courses are tailored to fit your professional schedule:

– Candidates from all professions and backgrounds can enroll.
– You may enroll in individual courses or pursue the full 12-course Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability
– Courses meet once a week in the evenings and run for five weeks.
– Your enrollment provides an official transcript form Columbia University.
– The full Certificate can be completed in a little as 9 months.

For more information or to register contact Desmond Beirne at or 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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