State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Join the Earth Institute’s Climate and Sustainability Communications Network

brainstorming session
Journalism and sustainability students and researchers explored new ways to cover climate change at a recent brainstorming session co-organized by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and Earth Institute. Photo: Andy Revkin

You’re working, learning, teaching, communicating or innovating to better understand our fast-changing planet or to shape sustainable pathways forward.

You want to reach new audiences or collaborators to discover, refine or share fresh insights and spread solutions where they’re needed most.

But you’re immersed in a communication environment that lately has felt polarizing, paralyzing, distracting and exhausting.

What do you do?

Join the Earth Institute’s Climate and Sustainability Communications Network.

We’re building a sharing, learning and doing community of researchers, scholars, students, staff and other Columbians seeking to address climate and sustainability challenges through communication. This network, reaching from undergrads to department chairs, will span campuses, programs and disciplines, and extend outward through alumni and the university’s partners worldwide.

To join the network, please sign up and take this brief survey to share information on your skills, concerns, and communication goals, to foster the capacity for collaboration and fresh ideas.

There’s never been a more important moment to engage on communication solutions. This network will be an integral part of the university-wide push for climate change progress announced last month by President Bollinger.

And we’re already under way. Just last week at the 24th conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, we ran a packed brainstorming session on new models through which the media can move beyond reporting and connect with communities and experts in ways that foster progress on tough environmental and climate challenges.

Last month, the Earth Institute helped the Columbia Journalism Review and partners launch “Covering Climate Now,” an initiative aiming to spread and deepen media coverage of human-driven climate change and policy choices. Reflecting the importance of integrating art, science and media, the kickoff event was a show of climate art — newspaper front pages charred, bleached or water-stained to reflect the climate risks facing cities around the world.

columbia journalism review office
The Covering Climate Now project of the Columbia Journalism Review and partners was launched in September with an art show featuring newspaper front pages altered to reflect climate impacts. Photo: Andy Revkin

We collaborated with the Columbia Journalism School’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation on a climate journalism panel (audio) and dynamic meetup at which dozens of climate and journalism practitioners and students huddled to come up with new ways to tell climate change stories. The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting just gave a grant supporting Climate Central, WNYC, the Gothamist, The Guardian and the Earth Institute in a collaborative news package on nature-based paths to climate resilience.

Communicating sustainability around the world

Through several Columbia alumnae with Saudi roots and the Santiago hub of Columbia Global Centers, our reach is already going global. On October 22, I’ll give a Saudi Sustainability Talk on communication, climate and energy via video link for a gathering in Riyadh. On November 4 and 5, I’ll run workshops on global warming communication for journalists and companies in Santiago, Chile, which is getting ready to host the next round of talks on energizing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Back on campus, on November 20 Katie Feather of Science Friday will lead a science communication workshop at Low Library featuring Bianca Jones Marlin, a neuroscientist and masterful communicator at the Zuckerman Institute, Stephen Ferrera of the School of Nursing, and me. (Learn more and register.)

Campus connectivity will turn knowledge into action in several ways. We’ll organize events, workshops, training and mentoring opportunities that can result in more effective connections between scientists, scholars and the media, or foster direct public engagement by scientists and scholars, aided, where needed, by Columbia’s professional communication staff.

We’ll meet next at a launch event and brainstorming session later in the semester. Details to follow. Join us!

If you have further questions, contact me at

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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