State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


How Should Columbia Drive Climate Change Innovation?

illustration of planet Earth burning
Illustration: Nicoletta Barolini

By Carla Cantor

As the climate crisis mounts, Columbia has turned to its students for ideas in addressing one of the most critical global challenges of our times.

On Nov. 8 and 11, the university’s Climate Change Task Force, led by Alex Halliday, held two Town Hall discussions to explore ways in which students can help create a roadmap for Columbia’s climate response that will serve as a model for action in higher education.

About 20 students spoke at each forum, offering ideas that ranged from innovative clean-energy solutions to improved climate education to hands-on support for students choosing environmental and sustainability career pathways.

Some of the ideas generated at the Town Hall:

  • Develop continuing education climate courses to expose a broader audience to climate education and expand the university’s reach and impact. Strengthen course offerings to high school students who participate in Columbia summer programs.
  • Reduce the university’s carbon footprint even further. Suggested initiatives include refitting buildings to be more energy-efficient, adding compost bins, reconsider maintaining the greenery of campus lawns and installing additional bike racks.
  • Provide incentives for students to represent the university as climate communicators, such as academic credit to visit New York City schools and community events or providing funding to attend global meetings, such as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

Read more suggestions and the full article on Columbia News.

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Geoffrey Peel
4 years ago

I have a proposal for continuously removing gigatonnes of CO2 from the South Pacific Ocean and in doing so, reducing not only the acidity of the ocean but also reducing atmospheric CO2. To achieve this will require the South Pacific Ocean becoming a marine park.

The method of removing the CO2 is by growing a vast free-floating kelp forest ecosystem between New Zealand and South America and the key to growing this, is individual bamboo kelp buoys. The kelp buoys carry the iron minerals required by the growing kelp plants and also assist the juvenile kelp plants to stay afloat. ( It will also be necessary within the foreseeable future to include the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Circle into kelp growing regions.) These additional areas also becoming marine parks. The fishing industries evolving into park management, kelp growing, kelp harvesting, and large scale aquaculture projects. These transitional phases being funded by the United Nations and the World Bank.

The full proposal can be viewed using the link below,

Kind regards

Geoffrey Peel, Auckland, New Zealand.