Tag Archives: Climate Change

Our First Photo of the Month

REVPhoto.Campaign.LinLanLin Lanassociate director for CAA marketing and digital initiatives
Big Idea: Climate Change
Why I chose this photo: “I’ve been at the CAA for nearly three years, and I take a lot of photos of campus for the CAA’s social media accounts. When I was looking through my photos to submit for this contest, I realized that I took nearly identical photos of campus on the same date (ironically, on Groundhog Day) for the past three years—with one glaring difference in each progressive photo—lack of snow.

I know that a specific date in time doesn’t necessarily present definitive evidence of climate change, but there is no doubt that our world is warming. 2015 was the warmest year on record, surpassing the previous record set the year before in 2014, and 2016 is shaping up to be even hotter. I’m tremendously glad and grateful that Columbia is taking a stand on issues of climate change, understanding its risks and threats, and forging the path for a sustainable planet.”

View the Flickr feed here

Think Big: Imagine the Possibilities

All-Staff Meeting Highlights
On February 10, members of Columbia’s Alumni and Development community gathered in Lerner Hall for a morning devoted to rethinking risk-taking and improvisation. Here are four takeaways and our photo gallery. 

24870728581_11ec6a500d_z1. Reinventing The University 
How can a university help the world cope with massive change? That was one of the questions posed by President Lee C. Bollinger in his discussion with Nicholas Lemann, director of Columbia Global Reports.

We can no longer rely on the old paradigm of faculty individually pursuing research. We must adjust our thinking, to do more. Through interdisciplinary cooperation, a network of Global Centers, and partnerships with scholars, alumni, and donors throughout the world, Columbia is redefining the role of the university. We are uniquely positioned to solve complex problems in an increasingly interconnected world.


24870728001_b93eefaf95_z2. What Jazz Can Teach Us
 Chris Washburne, director of Columbia’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, demonstrated the power of improvisation.

He led a quintet of Columbia’s jazz faculty through a selection of standards, and they knocked the room’s socks off, though it was their first time playing together. How did they do it? Each member of the group was improvising and listening to each other.

The lesson? Staying in the moment and really listening to someone is key. Sometimes, improvising leads to failure. But from failure comes transformation. When pianist Herbie Hancock joined Miles Davis’s quintet in 1963 and hit a wrong note during a performance, he was sure he would be fired. But Davis simply changed the notes to make it sound beautiful. “There are no wrong notes in jazz,” Washburne quoted Davis as saying. “It’s what you play after that matters. It’s not the failure that counts. It’s how you respond to the failure.” Learning to “listen until you sweat” and honor all voices is freeing, allows us to think differently and make something new, as the quintet did. Watch more Chris Washburne in this [email protected] Columbia video, “Why Jazz Matters.”



3. Saying Yes to the Unusual
Philip Markle, executive director of Annoyance Theater in Brooklyn, and our own Nina Williams, ‎associate director of development at the Medical Center, riffed on the lessons of improvisation, and led the room through some exercises. “The key to improv,” Markle said, “is to listen to and build on what your fellow performers say.” By saying yes to the unusual, the unlikely, and the improbable, we validate outside-the-box thinking, generate new ideas, and ultimately, better ways of working. 


amelia_retreat4. Full of Possibilities
Columbia raised a record $6.1 billion during its last campaign, and is on track to announce the next biggest number for the Ivy League.

For Columbia and the Office of Alumni and Development, and our peers across the community, FY2016 is full of possibilities,” said executive vice president for University development and alumni relations, Amelia J. Alverson.

We’ve set ambitious goals for dollars, donors, and engagement for the campaign. Each of us, Amelia said, has an opportunity “think big” and imagine the possibilities in our work by “listening to those around you… and taking risks to improvise and innovate.”

Opportunities also exist to engage alumni, donors, and friends in “3D”: through university Big Ideas; school ideas and initiatives; and all the ongoing ways we are are already engaging with faculty, alumni, students, and donors. 

“It all leads to strengthening Columbia’s role in the world,” said Amelia. 

retreatSee the Retreat in Photos
Look for your colleagues (and yourself) in our photo gallery




Climate Change Progress: Columbia is Leading the Way

e99ca41e-8780-4e9f-baef-7377c552c66eMeet scientist Peter de Menocal, the director of the new Center for Climate and Life, and learn about his trailblazing research.



Five Things to Know:

  • Founding director of the new Center for Climate and Life
  • Professor: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Primary discipline: Paleoclimate
  • Other disciplines: Geology-Paleontology, Modern and Future Climate, Oceanography
  • Deep-sea mud enthusiast

Research Mission for The Center for Climate and Life
“The Center for Climate and Life empowers the most innovative thinkers to generate new knowledge to understand how climate change impacts life’s essential resources — food, water, and shelter — and to develop sustainable energy solutions.”

About The Center for Climate and Life
“The coming decades will present exceptional challenges that will need exceptional knowledge. Our aim is to put the best scientists to work to build the knowledge we need to understand changes in the security of food, water, shelter, and energy. Using this knowledge, we will work with academic, industry, finance, and government leaders to build a more resilient and sustainable future.” Learn more.

On 60 Minutes – Studying a Fast-Melting Glacier
“The cores pulled from the Petermann Glacier will fill in a crucial piece of the climate change puzzle.” Watch the 60 Minutes video.

On Boosting Science Funding from Corporate Sources in an Era of Government Cutbacks
“We want to change the way we do and fund science. The idea is simple: the business community has both the resources to promote climate science and a vested interest in the results.” Read the Nature op-ed.

Want to take a deeper look at Columbia’s climate change work? Visit these sites.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

The Earth Institute

Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

International Research Institute for Climate and Society