State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

early humans

  • How a Turbulent Environment Sparked a Leap in Early Human Behavior

    How a Turbulent Environment Sparked a Leap in Early Human Behavior

    A new study suggests that a series of environmental changes in East Africa some 320,000 years ago challenged a previous long-standing way of life for proto-humans, and produced a more adaptable culture.

  • Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

    Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

    A thousand years ago, powerful Viking chieftans flourished in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, above the Arctic Circle. In an environment frequently hovering on the edge of survivability, small shifts in climate or sea level could mean life or death. People had to constantly adapt, making their living from the land and the sea as best they…

  • What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

    What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

    The rise of the Vikings was not a sudden event, but part of a long continuum of human development in the harsh conditions of northern Scandinavia. How did the Vikings make a living over the long term, and what might have influenced their brief florescence? Today, their experiences may provide a kind of object lesson…

  • Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.

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

  • How a Turbulent Environment Sparked a Leap in Early Human Behavior

    How a Turbulent Environment Sparked a Leap in Early Human Behavior

    A new study suggests that a series of environmental changes in East Africa some 320,000 years ago challenged a previous long-standing way of life for proto-humans, and produced a more adaptable culture.

  • Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

    Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

    A thousand years ago, powerful Viking chieftans flourished in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, above the Arctic Circle. In an environment frequently hovering on the edge of survivability, small shifts in climate or sea level could mean life or death. People had to constantly adapt, making their living from the land and the sea as best they…

  • What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

    What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

    The rise of the Vikings was not a sudden event, but part of a long continuum of human development in the harsh conditions of northern Scandinavia. How did the Vikings make a living over the long term, and what might have influenced their brief florescence? Today, their experiences may provide a kind of object lesson…

  • Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.