March 07, 2021

For Planet Earth, No Tourism is a Curse and a Blessing

For the planet, the year without tourists was a curse and a blessing.

With flights canceled, cruise ships mothballed and vacations largely scrapped, carbon emissions plummeted. Wildlife that usually kept a low profile amid a crush of tourists in vacation hot spots suddenly emerged. And a lack of cruise ships in places like Alaska meant that humpback whales could hear each other’s calls without the din of engines. Read More

March 02, 2021

Fueling the Future

On January 29, Columbia announced the completion of its divestment from oil and gas companies and the formalization of “this policy of non-investment for the foreseeable future.” The decision came on the heels of several other climate-focused initiatives and was undoubtedly the result of long years of heated protest, dialogue, and deliberation among multiple committed parties on campus. Unsurprisingly, the announcement has inspired a wide range of responses, from admiration to hope, cynicism to outrage. Read More

February 25, 2021

How Exactly Does Carbon Dioxide Cause Global Warming?

You Asked” is a series where Earth Institute experts tackle reader questions on science and sustainability. Over the past few years, we’ve received a lot of questions about carbon dioxide — how it traps heat, how it can have such a big effect if it only makes up a tiny percentage of the atmosphere, and more.