State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Spring Courses in Conservation, Ecology & Policy

The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) at Columbia University provides executive training in environmental sustainability through courses in science, economics and policy. We invite you to join our leading experts and practitioners, strengthen your understanding of human-ecosystem interactions, and become an effective environmental leader and decision-maker.

Upcoming EICES Courses:

Disease Ecology
Peter Daszak, PhD – President, EcoHealth Alliance; Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability, Columbia University
Ever thought about the health risks associated with the expansion of human processes in previously uninhabited areas? Roughly sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases that affect humans originate in animals. More than two-thirds of such diseases originate in wildlife. Gain a better understanding of the interaction of the behavior and ecology of hosts with the biology of pathogens. Learn about the principles of disease ecology with an emphasis on the effect of disease on human, wildlife, domestic animal, and ecosystem health. Explore the influence various environmental factors have on the rise of emergent diseases and the impact these diseases have on the rates of extinction and the integrity of biodiversity.
Mondays, April 15th, 22nd, 29th, May 6th, 13th (6:10-8:10PM)Available via Distance Learning

Business Models: Strategies from Ecology and Evolution
David Meyers – Senior Analyst and Consultant, Green Ant Advisors
Explore the increasingly important exemplary role natural systems provide to business design, operations and strategy. Study the use of the concept of ‘business ecosystems’ and ‘adaptive imperative’ as part of an analysis of how ecological and evolutionary principles can help us address emerging sustainability challenges. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the relationship between the scientific principles of evolution and ecology and innovative business models for a sustainable future.
Wednesday, April 24th (6:10-8:10PM); Saturday, April 27th (10AM-4PM); Wednesday, May 1st (6:10-8:10PM)Available via Distance Learning

Forest Management and Conservation: Black Rock Forest

Matt Palmer, PhD – Lecturer in Discipline, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
Forests are vitally important to global ecosystem health and functionality. Forests operate as sources of goods, such as timber and food, and provide services such as carbon storage and water filtration. They are also home to much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Learn more about the threats facing our forests, such as overexploitation, conversion, climate change, and invasive species. Participate in an all-day field trip to Black Rock Forest and learn first-hand about key issues in forest ecology and management, as well as the effects of pathogens and other invasive species on global forest conservation efforts.
Thursday, May 9th (6:10-8:10PM); Saturday, May 11th (9AM-4:30PM); Thursday, May 16th (6:10-8:10PM)

Introduction to Environmental Policy
Caleb McClennen, PhD – Director of Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society; Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Over the past two decades, policy makers, governments and international organizations are paying more and more attention to the importance of environmental policy and planning in promoting a sustainable future for our planet. Explore how political, social and economic factors influence governments of industrial and developing countries, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community and the private sector in shaping environmental policy. Examine local and global responses to environmental problems such as biodiversity loss, clean air and water, and climate change. Learn more about the issues domestic and international policy makers are facing in the fields of environmental law, economics, human population growth and public health.
Tuesdays, May 14th, 21st, 28th, June 4th (6:10-8:10PM)Available via Distance Learning

For more information on how to register, please visit EICES or contact

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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