State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Institute Seeks Book Proposals for Sustainability Primers

The Education Committee of the Earth Institute faculty is seeking book proposals for a new series of sustainability primers to be published by Columbia University Press. Proposals are due by May 29, 2017, to

What are the Earth Institute Sustainability Primers?

The primers are small books – 15,000-20,000 words in length – intended for both classroom use and general audiences who are interested in learning about salient sustainability issues (e.g., green infrastructure, sustainable cities, climate change and sea-level rise, sustainability management). That these books would carry the name of the Earth Institute would enhance our organization’s public outreach efforts on important sustainability issues.

Earth Institute colleagues would write the books, provided that Columbia University Press approved of the proposals. The books could be based on existing course lectures and scientific papers. This is open to the Earth Institute and Columbia community, and non-affiliated co-authors would be permitted. Some funding will be available for intern assistants.

Why write one of these short books?

Your book would be a title in the new series of Earth Institute Sustainability Primers published by Columbia University Press. Therefore, your book would be edited, designed, produced, published, and marketed by the Press according to its standards and practices. You would receive a royalty for the sales of your book in regular print editions and e-book editions, and a share in income derived from rights sales via translations and other channels. The Press would work with you to promote your book to regular academic and public audiences. Your book would become a valuable resource to teachers and students, as well as to general readers, who were interested in learning about particular aspects of our field.

How to submit a proposal

Please email a short description of your potential book(s), addressing the questions below, to Gabriella Cohen at by May 29, 2017. The Education Committee of the Earth Institute would review the proposals and make recommendations to the Press. Please provide a brief description of your potential book that answers the following questions:

  • What question in sustainability would your book answer?
  • What would be a rough outline for the potential book? Please include a short description of key topics, anticipated number of figures, and any special features.
  • What need would it answer in the scientific literature and/or the culture in general?
  • What other books presently serve such a need, and how would your book be different?
  • What new ideas or approaches would be notable in your potential book?
  • Will your book grow out of your teaching at the Earth Institute? If so, are there any themes and insights that are unique to Columbia’s approach, or are the framing and vision for the book more universal?
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