February 27, 2006
The New York Academy of Sciences is holding a lecture by Vivien Gornitz from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (the lab above Tom’s Restaurant) tomorrow, Tuesday 2/28. The topic is Rising Seas and Storms: Consequences for New York City, and is at the NYAS building at 2 East 63rd St (between Madison & 5th Ave) from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. The cost to attend is $10. Even if you don’t go, you may find the lecture description an interesting read:
Accumulating evidence points to the anthropogenic-induced buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases as a major contributor to the observed global warming trend. The warming signal is penetrating deep into the world’s oceans, raising sea level an average of 0.4 mm/yr since the 1950s. Mountain glaciers are rapidly receding; the coastal Greenland ice sheet and parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet are thinning as well, also elevating the oceans. As a result, global sea level has been rising ~1.7 to 1.8 mm/yr over the past half century.
With nearly 2400 km of shoreline, New York City will be especially vulnerable to the consequences of sea level rise and can anticipate an increased frequency of coastal flooding, affecting significant sections of the financial district, lower Manhattan, Coney Island, the Rockaways, and low-lying Staten Island neighborhoods. Severe storms can disrupt and shut down the metropolitan transportation system. Portions of the three major airports—JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports, a number of highways, most area rail and tunnel entrances, and other important infrastructure lie at elevations of 3 meters or less. The storm surge from a category 3 hurricane on a track slightly west of the city could easily surpass this height in many places, even at present without additional sea level rise. This region has experienced several category 3 hurricanes during the 20th century. The duration and number of intense tropical cyclones has already begun to increase.
What of the future? Computer simulations of sea level rise for the New York City metropolitan area suggest increases of 0.25 to ~1 m by the end of this century. The implications of this and possible adaptation strategies will be discussed further.
EarthCo forwards the following information about their new Eco-Reps program (it’s paid!):
Are you interested in environmental issues? Would you like to be paid to promote environmental efforts on campus? Representatives from SEEJ, EarthCo, CSA, The Food Co-op, Food Sustainability Project and Engineers Without Borders in conjunction with Housing and Dining are looking for students interested in getting paid for working on environmental initiatives on campus. From water and energy conservation to recycling and waste management, students would be responsible for educating their peers about the importance of going green at Columbia. This is a chance for students to put their resources to work for the betterment of the community and themselves.
Who knew going green could be so good?
Sally Siddiqi, the Executive Director of the NY chapter of the US Green Building Council is looking for an executive assistant. The USGBC is the organization that publishes the LEED Green Building Rating System that is an increasingly popular indicator for environmental impact of new, renovated, and refitted buildings. Email Sally Siddiqi for more information.
February 26, 2006
Yesterday was the second event in the 2006 StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation. It was held here at the Columbia Business School; speakers included Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, the company that produces the world’s first product made from and packaged entirely in waste, and Geoffrey Heal, a professor at the Columbia Business School and author of such seminal works in ecological economics as Nature and the Marketplace.
Two exceptional individuals who I had the pleasure of meeting were Dev Aujla, founder of DreamNow, a non-profit organization that connects young changemakers to mentors already involved in local and global projects, and aujCollections, a clothing line with a similar purpose; and Kevin Bao, co-founder of eonfire, a recently formed network that aims to connect aspiring social entrepreneus via an international network of campus chapters. If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, feel free to contact any of their respective teams via their websites, or to contact me directly if you have any questions.
Dickson Despommier is speaking again tomorrow, Monday 2/27, at 4:30 PM in the Hogan Hall Conference Room. The talk is entitled “Agriculture for the 21st Century and Beyond: Things are Looking Up!” If you haven’t seen Professor Despommier speak before–go! He’s an incredibly charismatic speaker with inspiring and innovative ideas.
On Tuesday 2/28 at 6:00 PM in 1501 IAB (the School of International and Public Affairs Building), John Perkins will be speaking on topics discussed by his book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
The Earth Institute State of the Planet 06 Conference is Tuesday-Wednesday March 28 & 29 in Roone Arledge Auditorium and is free of charge and open to the public–even Columbia students! The agenda looks amazing–I fully intend to be there, classes and problem sets notwithstanding. Registration is online.
February 22, 2006
The Earth Institute’s Center for Sustainable Energy and the Global Roundtable on Climate Change present, “The Future of Energy in America,” with Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana.
It’ll be tomorrow, Thursday 2/23 from 3 to 4:30 PM in Davis Auditorium on the 4th (ground) floor of the Shapiro CEPSR building. Free food, too.
February 19, 2006
Our friends at the Earth Institute are holding an information session for people interested in their M.A. Program in Climate and Society. It’s at 6:00 PM, Monday 2/27 in the Lindsay Rogers Room on the 7th floor of the International Affairs Building (SIPA/IAB). RSVP to Erica Rosen, who I met on Friday at the environmental career fair and seems like an excellent person.
February 17, 2006
Lectures: Joseph Stiglitz on Intellectual Property and Essential Medicines; Dickson Despommier on the Vertical Farm Project
Update 2/18: The Stiglitz lecture on Tuesday 2/28 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM is in 417 Kent.
Two lectures that look incredible in the next two weeks:
Joseph Stiglitz on Intellectual Property, Access to Essential Medicines, and the Role of the University
Care about the role of the university in increasing access to essential medicines in developing countries? Interested in where intellectual property rights, development economics and public health meet? Come hear Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor of Economics, Nobel Laureate of Economics, and author of Globalization and its Discontents, teach-in about how countries, the university and individuals can help increase access to much needed medications.
The talk is sponsored by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and Columbia Global Justice, so if you want to meet some more students working in the envspace in addition to getting free food and, you know, chilling with a Nobel Laureate, they’ll probably be there too. The talk will be 5:30 to 7:30 PM Tuesday 2/28, in
a room in Hamilton TBA 417 Kent. Update on that when I get it.
Dickson Despommier on the Vertical Farm: Medical Ecology and 21st Century Agriculture
Despommier is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and Professor of Microbiology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Turns out he’s also director the Vertical Farm Project, which looks like one of the most badass proposals to hit New York City in, well, a long time:
The Problem By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?
A Potential Solution: Farm Vertically The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world’s urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.
It took humans 10,000 years to learn how to grow most of the crops we now take for granted. Along the way, we despoiled most of the land we worked, often turning verdant, natural ecozones into semi-arid deserts. Over 60% of the human population now lives vertically in cities. The time has arrived for us to learn how to grow our food that way, too. If we do not, then in just another 50 years, 3 billion people will surely go hungry, and the world will be a very unpleasant place in which to live.
The lecture is Monday 2/20 from 8 to 9 PM in Salzburger Parlor on the 3rd Floor of Barnard Hall, and involves free sushi. RSVP to Maria Ongoco.
Full-time jobs and internship opportunities: EcoSecurities; SUNY Stonybrook Mineral Physics Research
From our friends at the Earth Institute:
EcoSecurities Group PLC, a world leader in the origination and commercialization of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, is currently seeking candidates to fill a variety of positions.
Actually, they are seeking to fill a ridiculous number of positions:
- Project Manager – Excellent written and spoken Chinese and English language skills required
- IT Service Delivery Manager
- Monitoring Experts / Managers (The Hague, Oxford , New York and Dublin)
- Project Managers(Oxford , New York and Dublin)
- Business Development Managers(Oxford and Dublin)
- Carbon Credit Senior Sales Executive(Oxford and/or New York)
- Financial Opportunities (Oxford, Ireland and New York)
Check their jobs page for more details.
There is also a research opportunity at the SUNY Stonybrook Mineral Physics Institute:
Each summer, the Mineral Physics Institute offers select students a paid opportunity to particpate in cutting-edge research in our 10-week Summer Scholars Program. Students are matched with existing research groups led by Institute faculty representing all of the physical sciences and mathematics. Research is conducted in our state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, including the National Synchrotron Light Source at nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory. Students may also register to earn up to 6 credits of Stony Brook University undergraduate research course work for their participation in the program.
February 13, 2006
Courtesy of the Earth Institute:
Combined Heat & Power/Clean Energy Outreach Specialist The Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division has an exciting and rewarding opportunity to work as part of the Energy Supply & Industry Branch in the Washington, DC area. The EPA has the need for an individual with experience in the energy field, including energy efficiency and/or clean energy like combined heat and power (CHP or cogeneration). The incumbent will be responsible for promoting combined heat and power and clean distributed generation to Partners and collaborators including targeted companies and institutions. Visit www.epa.gov/chp and www.epa.gov/cleanenergy for more information about EPA’s work in this area. Please email resumes to Patricia Younger at the EPA.
EnergyStar EPA’s ENERGY STAR program seeks a strong marketer and communicator to help deliver the ENERGY STAR message to private and public sector organizations. ENERGY STAR partners with a range of private companies, schools, and government organizations to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their operations through improved energy efficiency. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit energystar.gov. Please email resumes and cover letters to the Earth Institute at email@example.com.