State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Seeking Book Proposals on Water, Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Adaptation, and Public Health

The Education Committee of the Earth Institute faculty is seeking book proposals on water, green infrastructure, climate change adaptation, and public health. The proposals are for a new series of sustainability primers published by Columbia University Press. Proposals are due no later than March 4, 2019, and can be sent to

What are the Earth Institute Sustainability Primers?

The Earth Institute Sustainability Primers educate readers about salient sustainability issues and enhance our organization’s public outreach efforts.

The primers are small books—just 15,000-20,000 words in length—on a single, specific topic. Rather than examining a subject in depth, primers provide a succinct introduction that is accessible to a wide audience, including students and general interest readers.

The committee is currently seeking proposals for primers on the following topics:

  • water
  • green infrastructure
  • climate change adaptation
  • public health

The call for proposals is open to the Earth Institute and Columbia community, and non-affiliated co-authors are permitted. Some funding is available for intern assistants. The books could be based on existing course lectures and scientific papers.

The first book in the series, Bruce Usher’s Renewable Energy: A Primer for the Twenty-First Century, offers a concise introduction to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It will be available in January 2019.

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 March 4, 2019. The Education Committee of the Earth Institute will review the proposals and make recommendations to the Press, which must approve the proposals for inclusion in the series. 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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