State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Certificate Student Builds Green Roofs

EricEric Dalski is currently a student in the Earth Institute Executive Education Certificate Program in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability. He is a partner and founder of Highview Creations, a company which designs, installs, and maintains green roofs in New York. A green roof is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, green roofs provide significant benefits, including reduced energy use, reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced stormwater management and water quality. Eric has also installed vertical gardens and stormwater capture systems throughout New York City. He earned a BA in environmental economics from Washington College and is completing his MBA degree at Fordham University.

1) What is your current job and what are your responsibilities?

I am the partner of a green infrastructure company here in NYC, focusing
primarily on green roof technologies, but working on other systems as well
including hydroponics, solar, and green facades.

2) How did you become interested in green roofs?

In college, I literally “stumbled upon” a website that explained the new
technology.  After reading up on it more and more, it dawned on me that
green roofs are a necessity in urban areas, especially from all their
benefits.  Plus, they are just fun to see.

3) Describe your career background. How did you find your current job?

My brother and I worked for a plant scientist (though really a
biogeochemist, at least in many people’s minds) for several years at The
Gaia Institute.  We built innovative green infrastructure all over the city
(green roofs, restored wetlands, green walls, etc.).  I was in charge of
project development, my brother in charge of installation.  After building
several green roofs, we knew this was something we wanted to do ourselves.

4) How did you hear about the Certificate Program
 in environmental conservation and sustainability and what
 motivated you to apply to the it?

While working for the Gaia Institute, I wanted to get a bit more of a
background in all facets of environmental subjects, and keep up to date with
current issues, research, and best practices.  The program lists so many
subjects of interest that I wanted to explore.

5) What was your favorite class in the Certificate Program and why?

Honestly, all the professors have been knowledgable and enjoyable, and all
subjects have been really fascinating.  However, any class with Matt Palmer
Ph.D. is absolutely incredible, and he has easily become one of my favorite
professors I’ve ever had.

6) What did you find most useful about the Certificate Program?

I think that environmental awareness goes a long way in my day-to-day life
now, and the program really opened my eyes to how I live, how our society
lives, and how our world copes with all of it.  The Certificate Program is a fantastic
introduction to the world of environmental sustainability, and has helped me
tremendously on a personal and professional level.

7) What advice do you have for people who want to break into the
 field of sustainability?

As our consumption habits deplete our natural resources, and our world
struggles to cope, the field of sustainability will be gaining more and more
momentum.  Sustainability is a field everyone needs to appreciate and
understand to some extent because it will help us become more aware of our

There are a lot of environmental organizations in New York City that really
focus on sustainable issues.  I recommend getting involved through attending
meetings, volunteering, or offering specialized services and resources that
they all need!

Lily Shen is a student in the Executive Education Certificate Program in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability at the Earth Institute.

Upcoming Courses in the Certificate Program include:

Disease Ecology, Mon. Apr. 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13 (6:10pm-8:10pm)*
Business Models: Strategies from Eco & Evo, Weds. May 1, 8 (6:10-8:10pm), Sat. May 4 (10am-4pm)*
Forest Management and Conservation , Thurs. May 9, 16 (6:10-8:10pm), Sat. May 11 (9am-4:30pm)
Introduction to Environmental Policy, Tues. May 14, 21, 28, June 4 (6:10-8:40pm)*
Systems and Sustainability, Mon. May 20, June 3, 10, 17, 24 (6:00-8:00pm)*

*Course is also available online via distance learning.

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Justus Lavi
11 years ago

Hi Thanks for your information I belong to Kenya East Africa and engaged in environmental rehabilitation and wish to network with you pls advice further