Climate change and conflict

(This piece was written in Fall 2008.) Climate change is important to any analysis for the future, environmentally, socially, economically, or politically. The IPCC projects that with rising temperatures, there will be a global increase incidence of droughts, desertification, and extreme precipitation events (IPCC 2007). The increase in temperature will also allow range expansion and better survival or overwintering rates of disease carrying vectors such… Read More

Update on scientific literacy piece

I’m still working on that piece on scientific literacy for my writing about science course. I mentioned it in an earlier post. Here are some of the parts and quotes that I have cut out: A recent Columbia graduate comments on her experience in a course called “Better Planet By Design,” saying that, “It made me realize that we can have a lot more of… Read More

Human-Environment Conflict: Interdependence and the role of cultural attitudes

Interdependence and the role of cultural attitudes (in the context of the global economic crisis) (This piece was written Fall 2008.) Much of the literature on conflict has focused on determining drivers and predictors of conflict. While most have not come to any decisive conclusions, we may still gain insight as to what are the underlying factors involved. The goal for this type of investigation… Read More

Rosemary Grant and the Galapagos finches


As part of Columbia University’s Darwin Speaker Series, Rosemary Grant of Princeton University came to speak on April 14th, 2009 about evolution in Darwin’s finches. This year being the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, and the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, it was fitting for Rosemary Grant to speak about her research on the island Daphne in the Galapagos Islands. The finches… Read More

Commentary on “Why isn’t the brain green?”

The New York Times Magazine recently put out a piece by Jon Gertner about environmental decision-making and the different social dynamics that are involved. The author discusses several different studies that involve individual and group decision-making. One group doing such research is the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions is an interdisciplinary based at Columbia University that receives funding for their research from the National… Read More


What if a meteor hit the planet? I know there have been several movies about this topic, but really, what if? What would happen to the planet and everything on it? Immediately there would be a lot of destruction, but what about later? What are the longer term effects of such an impact? What would happen to the planet in the time afterwards? I started… Read More