State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Water Quality2

  • Fluoridation of Water: Communist Conspiracy, Genuine Threat or Both?

    Fluoridation of Water: Communist Conspiracy, Genuine Threat or Both?

    Who can forget the scene from Kubrick’s classic movie Dr. Strangelove of screws-loose General Jack D. Ripper pontificating to straight-laced British group captain Lionel Mandrake about the dangers of fluoride in water…

  • In Support of the Neglected Drinking Fountain

    In Support of the Neglected Drinking Fountain

    The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association built the first public drinking fountain in London in 1859, as an answer to some of the pressing problems of their times. Drinking fountains are also part of the answer to some of our own problems.

  • No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces

    No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces

    Recent research, according to the New York Times, indicates that urban areas are about to get hotter — much hotter. Not exactly what blistering New Yorkers want to hear after one of the more brutal, record-breaking heat waves in memory. Of course climatologists (and most of the rest of us) have known for a long…

  • Jamaica Bay, a refuge for wildlife in New York City, gets protection

    Jamaica Bay, a refuge for wildlife in New York City, gets protection

    The good news is that the migratory birds and resident marine life of Jamaica Bay may be getting a reprieve. In February, Mayor Bloomberg, the State Environmental Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced an agreement that would improve water quality and preserve the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan…

  • A Visit to Gowanus

    I recently took a trip to the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn to visit its infamously polluted (and smelly) canal. After decades of controversy, the Environmental Protection Agency recently named the canal as a Superfund site—one of the few such designations in an inner-urban area. In its report, the EPA found that the Gowanus Canal “has…

  • The Importance of Wetlands

    As we continue to see ever-more disturbing images on the shores of Louisiana from the gulf oil spill, it’s worth thinking again about the immense ecological importance of wetlands and why they must be protected. Oil from the leak has already filtered up from the beaches into Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, killing wildlife there. Ironically, last…

  • The Problem of Lawns

    In the United States, lawns are so ubiquitous that they seem to be almost a basic human right. That’s a serious problem, given the enormous resources that our North American lawn-fetish consumes.

  • The Economist: Special Report on Water, a primer for the water crisis

    The Economist has released a Special Report on Water, dated May 22nd, 2010, written by John Grimond. The 18 page report contains 9 short but substantial articles giving an overview of global water issues.

  • Reflections on Haiti

    Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to travel to Haiti to install a weather monitoring station, as well as conduct streamflow measurements and water quality assessments with Water Center employee Lior Asaf.  Traveling to Haiti gave me my first exposure to how water and climate issues are affecting poor and developing countries, as well…

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

  • Fluoridation of Water: Communist Conspiracy, Genuine Threat or Both?

    Fluoridation of Water: Communist Conspiracy, Genuine Threat or Both?

    Who can forget the scene from Kubrick’s classic movie Dr. Strangelove of screws-loose General Jack D. Ripper pontificating to straight-laced British group captain Lionel Mandrake about the dangers of fluoride in water…

  • In Support of the Neglected Drinking Fountain

    In Support of the Neglected Drinking Fountain

    The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association built the first public drinking fountain in London in 1859, as an answer to some of the pressing problems of their times. Drinking fountains are also part of the answer to some of our own problems.

  • No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces

    No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces

    Recent research, according to the New York Times, indicates that urban areas are about to get hotter — much hotter. Not exactly what blistering New Yorkers want to hear after one of the more brutal, record-breaking heat waves in memory. Of course climatologists (and most of the rest of us) have known for a long…

  • Jamaica Bay, a refuge for wildlife in New York City, gets protection

    Jamaica Bay, a refuge for wildlife in New York City, gets protection

    The good news is that the migratory birds and resident marine life of Jamaica Bay may be getting a reprieve. In February, Mayor Bloomberg, the State Environmental Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced an agreement that would improve water quality and preserve the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan…

  • A Visit to Gowanus

    I recently took a trip to the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn to visit its infamously polluted (and smelly) canal. After decades of controversy, the Environmental Protection Agency recently named the canal as a Superfund site—one of the few such designations in an inner-urban area. In its report, the EPA found that the Gowanus Canal “has…

  • The Importance of Wetlands

    As we continue to see ever-more disturbing images on the shores of Louisiana from the gulf oil spill, it’s worth thinking again about the immense ecological importance of wetlands and why they must be protected. Oil from the leak has already filtered up from the beaches into Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, killing wildlife there. Ironically, last…

  • The Problem of Lawns

    In the United States, lawns are so ubiquitous that they seem to be almost a basic human right. That’s a serious problem, given the enormous resources that our North American lawn-fetish consumes.

  • The Economist: Special Report on Water, a primer for the water crisis

    The Economist has released a Special Report on Water, dated May 22nd, 2010, written by John Grimond. The 18 page report contains 9 short but substantial articles giving an overview of global water issues.

  • Reflections on Haiti

    Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to travel to Haiti to install a weather monitoring station, as well as conduct streamflow measurements and water quality assessments with Water Center employee Lior Asaf.  Traveling to Haiti gave me my first exposure to how water and climate issues are affecting poor and developing countries, as well…