Roosevelt Institute | Cornell University

Center for Environmental and Technology Policy

Eyes in the Sky: Using Satellites to Help Reduce Emissions

By Franklin Zheng Published January 17, 2022

An artist's rendition of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 orbiting the earth.

Front and center at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow were urgent messages to abide by emissions pledges. With development underway of new satellite technologies to monitor and identify countries’ emissions, it may soon be possible to further increase transparency and encourage compliance with these pledges.

The Data Cooperative Model: Combating the Monopolization of Data

By Dana Gong Published January 17, 2022

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With the increasing importance and recognition of data ownership, the law has fallen behind rapid technological changes. Therefore, new policies must radically change the technology landscape seen today. A promising example is the Data Cooperative Model, which aims to increase collaborative governance of consumer data.

How Tompkins County Can Address its Lags on Essential Climate Adaptation Infrastructure

By Samuel Nichols Published January 15, 2022

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Climate change is becoming increasingly unavoidable. Policymakers have largely focused on mitigating climate change, but it is also time to refocus on adapting to the changes we will soon be living with. Tompkins County, for example, must do more to protect its most vulnerable and to prepare for the consequences of climate change that we are currently experiencing.

Why New York Must Pass the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA)

By Abraham Reiss Published January 14, 2022

Activists in New York City call for action on the climate crisis. Photo by Katie Rodriguez on Unsplash

With new environmental legislation, New York policymakers can harness revenue from polluters and make a stride towards a safer and more equitable future. Passing the CCIA would constitute a bold commitment by the state to confront the climate crisis and to address the disproportionate dangers faced by marginalized communities.

Healthy Aging: How Investing in Community Resources for the Elderly Helps Everyone

By Madeline Lei Published January 10, 2022

Improved public transport and community resources can boost long-term health outcomes, enhancing physical activity and social networks.

The United States’ population is exponentially aging. Within an increasingly overburdened and expensive medical system, the U.S. must address healthcare for the elderly by focusing more on preventative healthcare methods––in particular, by improving the “built environment” through community resources.

Why Strong Labor Protections Are Key To Fighting Climate Change

By Aishani Shukla Published January 10, 2022

Windmills and Solar Panels By Green Hills

Labor protection provisions must be integrated into energy sector reforms to curb climate change in a sustainable manner.

Biden Must Be Tougher On Oil: Designating ANWR “Wilderness” is a Great Place to Start

By Macy Berryman Published January 8, 2022

Cornell Roosevelt Institute

So far, President Biden has let environmentalists down by not being tough on oil. To better fulfill his environmental promises to the American people, Biden’s first step should be to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a “wilderness” site, which would effectively end the 40-year battle over oil drilling in the region.

The Rock-Solid Consequences of the Pebble Mine

By Ashley Zhang Published September 23, 2021

Salmon swimming in the Bristol Bay region

Developers have proposed building a massive mine in one of the most pristine regions of the United States, but the massive risks associated with the project mean the mine would do more harm than good.

Op-Ed: The U.S. Must Further its Climate Commitment to Live Up to its “Fair Share”

By Abraham Reiss Published September 10, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on tackling climate change prior to signing executive actions in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2021.

While President Biden’s climate leadership has been a positive development, the U.S. has a serious responsibility to go much further in order to combat the global climate crisis.

Diets & Climate Change: Instead of Meat Elimination, We Should Be Aiming for Meat Reduction

By Elizabeth Rene Published August 29, 2021

Where discussions around a completely meat-free diet tend to turn some away from the idea of more environmentally-friendly food choices, it is pivotal we begin including meat reduction in con

Given that nearly a quarter of all climate change emissions can be attributed to unsustainable practices within the food production industry, it is no doubt that American consumers must begin looking towards to the food on their plates as a viable climate solution. Only where discussions around a completely meat-free diet tend to turn some away from the idea of more environmentally-friendly food choices, it is pivotal we begin including meat reduction in conversations around food and its overall impact on the worsening climate change crisis.

Draining the Sponge - How Flood Control Measures Pioneered in China Can Fortify NYC Against Climate Change

By Michael Dekhtyar Published August 20, 2021

Cheonggyecheon, a public green space and urban renewal project in downtown Seoul, South Korea.

New York City's aging flood-control and drainage infrastructure is cracking under pressure from climate change. Applying the Chinese concept of "sponge cities" to future development can fix that.

Multilateralism Is the Arctic's Only Hope

By Javier Vega Published April 24, 2021

With rising global temperatures, economic opportunities arise in the Arctic, presenting an economic paradox. The more Arctic nations exploit their environment in the short term, the worse climate change will be for the world. In order to ensure the best long-term solution, cooperation between the Arctic Nations is required, although it will require compromising.

The Future of Food

By Adriana Palmieri Published March 2, 2021

At a turning point for the future of the planet, CRISPR/Cas9 is the solution needed to effectively improve the sustainability of the global food supply. The United Nations in a recent interim report has stated 2021 will be a "make or break" year, and a focus on climate action is needed. Using the available novel technologies to combat these challenges through innovation is key to achieve this.

New York’s Ambitious Climate Change Path

By Daniel Wrenn Published February 1, 2021

The summer of 2019 saw New York pass the nation's most ambitious climate change bill, being signed into law by Governor Cuomo. Over a year later, these lofty goals still seem out of reach. However, several pathways to meeting them and helping stave off the disastrous effects of climate change are taking shape. Yet, the question still remains, how will they continue to look in the future?

Farm to Fork is the Future: Why the U.S. Should Take Agricultural Inspiration From the EU

By Aishani Shukla Published January 17, 2021

Cattle grazing on open field of grass

The United States must revamp its food system, for the health of its citizens and the environment, by curbing the usage of harmful pesticides in agricultural production methods. It should take inspiration from the European Union's Farm to Fork Strategy by promoting organic agriculture nationwide.

Food Waste: An Overlooked Issue; An Equally Overlooked Solution

By Elizabeth Rene Published January 13, 2021

Food recovery programs must be incentivized on both a state and national level to ensure food waste practices are equally discouraged among producers, suppliers, and consumers.

From over-purchasing within stores to the inefficient disposal of within landfills, food waste contributes to nearly 40% of the U.S. food supply going uneaten every single year. Policymakers need to address food waste’s substantial role in climate change to limit the unnecessary emission of greenhouse gases within food production.

Why COVID-19 is an Issue of Environmental Injustice in New York City’s Low-Income Neighborhoods of Color

By Abraham Reiss Published January 11, 2021

A woman in the Bronx during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic

In New York City, the Coronavirus pandemic has hit hard in low-income neighborhoods of color, creating a severe health disparity that directly stems from the results of environmental injustice. Extreme levels of pollution due to heavy industry and traffic in these areas have led to towering rates of respiratory illness, making their populations highly vulnerable to the pandemic.

Hydraulic Fracking: The Perils of Opportunity

By Audrey Noziere Published December 26, 2020

The economic and political benefits gained from hydraulic fracking are significantly outweighed by the environmental and social harm it instigates. The time has come for society to move towards cleaner and safer energy, which means leaving fracking in the past.

An Environmentally Friendly Solution to America’s Obesity Crisis - Getting More Produce to At-Risk and Low Income People

By Daniel Wrenn Published May 22, 2020

Eating a healthier diet often entails a more expensive price tag. Yet, a healthy diet with enough fruits and vegetables can have resounding health improvements. Fruits and vegetables also improve the environment, especially if they are locally sourced. A solution is beginning to emerge helping solve all three of these problems. Community-shared agriculture given at discounted prices and as medical prescriptions holds an answer.

What Kind of Problem is Overfishing, Really?

By Stephanie Neitlich Published February 9, 2020

Cornell Roosevelt Institute

Governments around the world have tried a variety of strategies to slow the rate of their depleting oceans. But what if the reason for these unsuccessful results lies in the definition of overfishing itself?

Regulating Drones for Positive Impacts

By Uni Wei Published December 5, 2019

Drones have the potential for both good and evil, but so far we have only seen a small fraction of their capabilities. Whether drones have a net positive or negative impact is up to how we re

Drones have the potential for both good and evil, but so far we have only seen a small fraction of their capabilities. Whether drones have a net positive or negative impact is up to how we regulate them.

Is Cornell Drowning its Engineers in STEM?

By Teodoro Topa Published December 5, 2019

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Could overemphasis on STEM in the Cornell College of Engineering's curriculum limit the success of its graduates?

Unlocking Opportunities through Addressing World’s Greatest Challenge - The Case of Corporate Sustainability

By Kevin Li Published October 7, 2019

While traditional notions of economic prosperity is commonly associated negatively with environmental integrity, 21st century corporations with the power to induce growth can, should, and must bring about a new type of sustainable prosperity that also help to address our increasingly worrisome climate concerns.

Transformations in Global Landscape, Climate Change, and The Future of Humanity - Are We Still on Schedule to Save Our Planet?

By Kevin Li Published April 22, 2019

Leaders came together to pose for a photo at COP24 Katowice last year.

Under unprecedented shifts in global landscapes and unfavorable external environments, are we still on schedule to save the future of humanity and the planet?

2019: The Year Congress Believes in Climate Change?

By Keelin Kelly Published February 21, 2019

A firefighter looking at a forest fire in San Diego

After passing a sweeping conservation bill in the Senate, is Congress finally coming around to greener legislation?

The United States is Killing the Climate, Not Trump

By Keelin Kelly Published November 27, 2018

Image of President Trump

Is Trump destroying the climate, or are we?

Keep the Boneheads away from the Horn-heads

By Matthew D'Ambrosio Published November 17, 2018


China’s recent decision to ease regulations on tiger and rhino parts has sparked conversation about ways to deal with poaching. Please, do not let rhino farming be one of them.

Putting The Cat Back in The Catskills

By Matthew D'Ambrosio Published April 30, 2018

Mountain lions were extirpated from New York State in the late 1800s. Reintroducing America's largest cat to the mountains of Upstate New York will have a positive effect on the state economy, ecology, and even public safety.

Climate Gentrification: Inequality in the Shifting Miami Housing Market

By Elizabeth Leape Published April 30, 2018

Rising sea levels primarily affect low-lying coastal communities, but, as beachfront residents move to higher ground, historically black and low-income neighborhoods such as Little Haiti are disappearing and their residents forced out to flood-prone areas. The shifting housing market reveals deep-rooted inequality in the region and the need for a comprehensive relocation strategy.

It is Time to Blow the Whistle on Pruitt

By Keelin Kelly Published April 30, 2018

Pruitt's questionable behaviors and ethical violations fundamentally violate the spirit of environmentalism, demonstrate his invariable character flaws, and emphasizes that he is unfit for his current position.

What If Robots Take Your Job - Mass Automation and Unemployment

By Lang Ming Published April 30, 2018

Aside from domestic use, the convenience and low-cost-production provided by technology has made companies more than happy to increase the amount of automation they use. The alarming side effect brought by the rapid improvement of technology, however, is that once the rate of growth is faster than what we can keep up with, it could wipe out millions of jobs in the blink of an eye.

A Prescription for Disease: Misuse of antibiotics in agriculture poses a major public health threat

By Harichandana Karne Published April 7, 2017

Improper use of antibiotics in plant and livestock agriculture has led to the rapid development of resistant pathogens that modern medicine can no longer treat. While antibiotic resistance is a growing public health threat and has led to increased mortality, hospital stays, and healthcare costs, the United States has yet to regulate antibiotic use in harmful agricultural practices.

Evacuations Near Lake Oroville: What They Reveal about Society

By Ahyoung Kim-Lee Published April 7, 2017

On February 12th, 2017 the California Department of Water Resources ordered the evacuation of over 200,000 people living near Lake Oroville, due to a potential spillway failure. The disaster revealed problems of inequality rooted within our society, and shed light on governmental passivity in protecting residents.

The Beast within The Beauty: Environmental Impacts of The Fashion Industry

By Claire (Kailai) Xiong Published April 7, 2017

During the past few weeks, reports of the 2017 Paris Fashion Week were everywhere on social media. Behind these high fashion models on the runway, however, people hardly realize the tragic impact on the environment caused by the fashion industry.

Endangered Bees?

By Daniel Huynh Published March 5, 2017

Seven species of bees have been recently added to the endangered list for the first time. Researchers from Cornell University have demonstrated the significant impacts of modern agricultural practices on the declining bee population in the U.S.

Is Email Bad for the Environment?

By Ahyoung Kim-Lee Published March 5, 2017

While sending one email has a smaller carbon footprint than sending one letter, frequent communications via digital mail results in a rapid accumulation of emissions released from sending emails. Since many email services allow users to send as many messages as they wish with no financial cost, society must examine methods to mitigate this unrestrained email use.

Coal Mining Is Not Self-Sustaining

By Kelly Bender Published March 5, 2017

An analysis of the feasibility of revitalizing the coal industry has demonstrated that unintended consequences of policy decisions have contributed to subsidies that promote environmentally harmful byproducts that have made the coal industry reliant on subsidies from international relations.

Are Dogs Really Man's Best Friend?

By Jeffery Kim Published March 5, 2017

Over the years the pet industry has grown into a massive enterprise, amassing more than $60 billion in 2015 alone. Although people are devoted to their pets, it also signifies a growing dilemma as dogs significantly contribute to pollution and divert resources that could have gone to human beings in distress.

The Road to Recovery for Nigeria's Farms - Post Conflict Agriculture

By Xavier Salvador Published October 27, 2016

As conflict quells in Nigeria's northeast region, specifically in the state of Adamawa, displaced farmers are returning home, hoping the rebuild their livelihoods. However, the insurgency intensified the region's lack of institutional support from the government and limited access to necessary agricultural inputs. The Nigerian government needs to work with international aid groups to ensure farmers can rebuild their farms in order to grow crops for the entire country.

Hurricane Damage: How Insurances Companies Have Responded

By Ahyoung Kim-Lee Published October 27, 2016

As the climate continues to warm and sea levels rise, the instances of category four and five hurricanes in the North Atlantic hurricanes have near doubled, therefore resulting in more devastating damages. While property owners rely on insurance companies to compensate them for storm-related losses, insurers manage to escape their important obligations.

Our Whaling Dilemma

By Jeffrey Kim Published October 27, 2016

Although whaling is a venture that spans hundreds of years, its damage to the endangered population combined with technological advances demonstrate the necessity to comprehensively prohibit this industry from continuing its bloody work. Despite the creation of the International Whaling Commission and a subsequent ban on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan and Norway maintain their whaling convention. Concurrently, environmental factors such as climate change increase the rigors of surviving in the ocean. Consequentially, the US must put economic pressure on these countries in order to preserve these majestic ocean creatures.

China's Environmental Crisis: A Non-Traditional Security Threat to the World

By Christina Yin Published October 2, 2016

China has experienced rapid rates of modernization over the past several decades. However, along with a booming economy comes the increasing growth of greenhouse gas emissions, representing one of the greatest challenges facing the nation today. Within the last few decades, China's current environmental crisis poses a massive non-traditional security threat: domestic and international fallout from the political, economic, and social consequences of the country's extensive environmental degradation propels environmental cleanup and sustainability to be China's most pressing concern of this era.

High Above Haleakala: Conserving a Critically Endangered Hawaiian Bird

By Tiffany Wu Published October 2, 2016

The Maui parrotbill, a species on the verge of extinction, is the subject of an ambitious, multi-pronged scientific effort that will hopefully undo decades of ecological destruction.

The Case For and Against Electric Vehicles in the US

By Jineet Patel Published October 2, 2016

Electric cars represent the next evolution of the automobile industry. Cited as safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly, electric cars are often considered the best way to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector. However, there are also certain disadvantages with electric vehicles that are often overlooked or even unknown by the general public. It is important to investigate both sides of the story before committing to an automobile evolution.

Protest Erupts in Eastern China Temporarily Suspending Power Plant Project

By Daniel Huynh Published October 2, 2016

In Lianyungang, a city in Eastern China, thousands of locals have rallied up and protested the preliminary assessments for the construction of a nuclear power plant. Residents feared the possibilities of nuclear radiation leaks that can ultimately impact the port city.

Overfishing: The Plight of Marine Sustenance

By Jeffrey Kim Published October 2, 2016

While hunting as many fish as possible continues to be a lucrative practice, overfishing contributes to the ongoing loss of marine life, endangers the sustainability of our marine food supply, and damages our economy. Therefore, we must limit fishing subsidies in order to inhibit such practices. Although the oceans may seem vast and invulnerable to human activity, both marine and human life suffer due to the negative externalities of overfishing. Accordingly, the US government must deter fishing corporations from engaging in adverse practices for short term economic gain.

Nevada Public Utility Commission: Net Metering Reduction

By Griffin Schnitzer Published March 23, 2016

With net metering, whenever rooftop solar panels produce more electricity than the house consumes, the local utility buys that excess electricity from the homeowner. This allows solar-adopters to save more money - even profit - by being green. Recently however, net metering experienced a major setback in Nevada as, on December 22, the state's Public Utility Commission decided to eliminate the significant benefits of net metering.

Flint First: A Glimpse into a Future of Water Disaster

By Derrick Rice Published March 23, 2016

Given our nation's crumbling water infrastructure and government's complacency in the effort to repair it, Flint may be the first of many water disasters nationwide"”but if we target our efforts properly, we may be able to ensure a safe and secure future for our nation's water.

Preserving a Piece of the Past: The Sumatran Rhinoceros

By Shashank Vura Published March 23, 2016

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is the smallest, and genetically most unique species of rhinoceros still extant today. Small and hairy, it is the closest living relative of the long-extinct Woolly Rhinoceros which once roamed Siberia. Once abundant, with a range stretching as far as the Ganges River Valley, now it exists in only small isolated pockets of tropical rainforest in Borneo and Java, with the last individual from the peninsular Malaysian population having succumbed last year.

The Surge in Zika was No Surprise

By Julia Malits Published March 23, 2016

An outbreak of Zika Virus Disease occurred in May of 2015 in Brazil. With its rapid and widespread proliferation, Zika has highlighted the threats that climate change poses to global public health. In light of the current trends in global warming associated with climate change, the spike in Zika, like many other vector-borne infectious diseases, should come as no surprise.

Climate Change and Food Scarcity

By Daniel Huynh Published March 23, 2016

The food hunger crisis is a problem that devastates millions across the globe. Climate change has been shown to exacerbate this issue which could possibly lead to 500,000 deaths by 2050 due to food shortages.

Reflecting on Nuclear Energy

By Catherine Hwang Published March 23, 2016

With the 5th anniversary of Fukushima in the last month, it is important to weigh the usefulness of nuclear energy and reflect on the steps we should take with nuclear energy.

Fuel Efficiency: Moving Forward or Not Moving at All?

By Jeffrey Kim Published March 23, 2016

Although the Obama administration had set out to reduce auto pollution and drive up gas mileage with its stringent fuel efficiency standards, backlash from the automobile industry has thwarted the administration from achieving its goals. While the policy seems to have lost its influence, there are several steps that could remedy the situation.

The Cost of Oklahoma Oil

By Ethan Skelskie Published March 23, 2016

In light of recent earthquakes, the Oklahoma state government has shifted towards acknowledging that the oil and natural gas industry is responsible for these calamities. These quakes have caused tremendous economic burdens to the Oklahoma homeowner. In order to prevent further incidents and prevent economic losses to business, a gradual approach towards regulation must be adopted, reevaluating legislation frequently to determine if it is working. Additionally, a corrective tax must be implemented on the oil and natural gas companies in the affective area, in order to relieve the burden on its citizens. All of this serves to protect the people of Oklahoma and ensure that business interests in the state can sustainably prosper.

Towards a Sustainable Food System: Principles of Traditional Agriculture as New Values for Commercial Agriculture

By Christina Yin Published March 23, 2016

Agriculture has long been an important means by which human populations have survived and grown. Traditional methods of agriculture have persisted for centuries and can be found in different regions of the world, from rice terraces in Asia to chinampas in Mexico to biochar in the Amazon. The people of these various regions have different specific practices, but underlying principles common to all traditional agricultural methods have made these methods much more environmentally sustainable than those of the modern day. By understanding the value of these principles and incorporating them into modern agricultural practices, perhaps we can make great leaps in ensuring the sustainability of our modern agricultural food industry.

The Evil Twin: Ocean Acidification

By Jineet Patel Published February 23, 2016

The unnatural increase of carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gasses' in the atmosphere is responsible for the phenomena known as global climate change. However, what is often forgotten is ocean acidification.

Rethinking Floods

By Abhinav Vijay Published February 23, 2016

Flooding events are becoming increasingly frequent and the way we respond to, and mitigate damage needs to be changed.

Ethics, Entertainment, and Conservation- The Case of the Killer Whale

By Shashank Vura Published November 9, 2015

The increasingly embattled captivity of killer whales at SeaWorld theme parks faces an uncertain future as legislation severely regulating this practice comes into effect in California. Heated debate on the ethics and efficacy of this issue suggests that such activity must come to a close, as the vast and complex needs of this species cannot be met by captivity.

Disaster in South East Asia: a 40 year problem

By Abhinav Vijay Published November 9, 2015

South East Asia is facing a crisis and urgently needs to change course of action to stop the burning of forests and the massive air pollution and finally get serious about climate change.

India in Crisis: The Decline of Available Freshwater

By Julia Malits Published November 9, 2015

Water is essential for life on Earth, and with the rising lack of access to fresh water, nations will fall into a humanitarian crisis that already exists in certain areas of the world. India is currently one of the lead developing countries in water pollution as a result of its growing population and economy. However, in order to maintain access to clean water for its citizens, the Indian government must curtail its water polluting activities.

Ethiopia's Renaissance Project to Transform Its Energy Resources

By Julia Heyman Published November 9, 2015

In 2011 Ethiopia embarked on a six-year project that has the potential to transform Africa's energy resources. It's called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam"”and the name certainly fits.

COP21: Obstacles and Solutions to Climate Action

By Elizabeth Chi Published November 9, 2015

Climate solutions must be many, diverse, and strategic to have any notable effect on the global scale. When civilians cannot rely on those in power"”be they politicians or corporations"”to understand the intricacies, or even the importance of climate action, inaction is never the answer. Unfortunately, both problems and solutions must be viewed holistically, and to a degree that is not seen in other fields.

Resource Extraction, Sell-Outs, and Unsustainability: Chinese-Ecuadorian Relations in the Face of Development

By Christina Yin Published November 9, 2015

"Nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles." With this clause in its 2008 constitution, Ecuador became the first country to establish fundamental rights of Nature under the law.

Trophy hunting: blood lust or the key to conservation?

By Veronica Dickson Published November 9, 2015

The jury is still out in whether trophy hunting is a conservationist tool to control poaching and cull herd population, or an inhumane application of human greed and injustice.

Public Health Concerns of BPA & the Need for New Regulations

By Julia Malits Published October 5, 2015

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical commonly found in many food and beverage products. Despite its harmful health effects, there continues to be a lack in regulatory action to address BPA on a large scale in the U.S.

Solar Powered Desalinator

By Veronica Dickson Published October 5, 2015

Due to California's dire water needs, solar powered desalination is becoming the new way to provide low-cost sustainable freshwater in the Central Valley region. WaterFX is an emerging enterprise and the only company in the United States to desalinate seawater sustainably. This might be the answer to the megadrought exacerbated by climate change.

Natural Gas: A Bridge to Nowhere

By Elizabeth Chi Published October 5, 2015

Converting to natural gas for climate action is like switching to diet soda to lose weight"”it's ineffective, and maybe even counterproductive. A drastic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions will take compromises from all sides, but any compromise that would obstruct the completion of the ultimate goal should not be adopted.

Habitat exchanges and the problem of incentivizing conservation

By Abhinav Vijay Published October 5, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided against listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act despite clear evidence of a rapid decline in numbers. The service argued that widespread collaborative efforts to save the species were already underway and hence sage-grouse did not meet the requirements. Habitat exchanges, as one of these collaborative efforts, may end up vindicating the service.

Watching Evolution in Real Time: Is Climate Change Already Impacting Evolutionary Paths?

By Danielle Ragin Published October 5, 2015

Some people still claim that global warming is a fallacy. However, whether or not you choose to believe it is from climate change, the world is changing. Melting ice, rising sea levels, and habitat loss are all pushing species to the brink, forcing many to adapt or perish.

To (Not) Kill a Mockingbird

By Eric Sibbald Published March 11, 2015

Many people keep cats, and gladly let their cats roam outside and in the yard. These cats, however, cause an unbelievable death toll on the wildlife, killing over 3 billion organisms a year. Besides causing such destruction, these cats also endanger themselves and get in dangerous situations and may get severely injured or killed.

Fighting Climate Change with Geoengineering: Dangerous or Ingenious?

By Danielle Ragin Published March 11, 2015

With climate change becoming a more immediate concern, some scientists are searching outside of the box for ways to combat global warming. Whether it be injecting iron into the ocean to increase carbon sequestration or pumping sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to amplify the global dimming effect, people are trying to manipulate the Earth through geoengineering to save the planet. However, is more human intervention the smart solution to the problem? Some believe it's the only way, while others worry it will only make matters worse. What do you think?

Get While the Getting is Good: Opportunities to rebuild America's energy infrastructure

By Ben Krapels Published March 11, 2015

With international and domestic energy markets in turmoil, the coming end of the Obama administration, and the recent successes of using federal agencies to use regulations to get around the legislative process, it is time for a full-scale rebuilding of the American power grid.

How The Threats of Polluted Airways Permeate into Maternal and Child Health

By Julia Malits Published March 11, 2015

Indoor and outdoor air pollution has proven to be especially harmful to mothers and children, who are particularly vulnerable as a result of both biological and socioeconomic factors. The environmental health risks among both mothers and their children have been observed across the globe, in cities like Beijing and New York City. Unfortunately, these negative trends do not appear to be slowing down.

Invoking the Public Trust Doctrine to Combat Climate Change

By Abhinav Vijay Published March 11, 2015

The Public Trust Doctrine is the foundation of public resource management and yet has remained under the radar during discussions on environmental law. Until now. A new movement is bringing PTD to the forefront of climate change action.

Drought in Brazil

By Veronica Dickson Published March 11, 2015

Brazil is facing the most extreme drought in the last century and has found that current drought management techniques are not the problem. The government has failed to address the issue with sufficient severity and that has affected the way the general populace has handled the problem.

One Country's Trash is Another's Treasure: The Rise of Waste-to-Energy Programs

By Julia Malits Published February 18, 2015

Northern European countries, such as Norway and Sweden, have proven the immediate necessity of waste-to-energy programs. The waste-to-energy incinerators burn all sorts of waste in order to generate municipal and household heat and electricity. The demand for waste, however, has recently outstripped its supply in Nordic countries, forcing them to import waste from neighboring countries.

The Nicaraguan dream--or nightmare?

By Kavin Lam Published February 18, 2015

The Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development company has began construction on the Nicaragua Canal. The canal is threatens many different ecosystems including Lake Nicaragua. Does the economic advantages of the canal justify the threat to the environment?

A Green Energy Future Is In Sight

By Elizabeth Chi Published November 6, 2014

Despite popular misconceptions about the insufficient advancement of renewable energy technology, particularly for energy storage, existing technologies are sufficient to facilitate renewable energy nationwide. Political barriers are far more salient than technological ones in preventing widespread renewable energy usage in the United States.

Damned If You Duo, Damned If You Don't

By Mallory Shipe Published November 6, 2014

Recent EPA approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo has sparked debate across the nation about the political, environmental, and health implications of large-scale agriculture in the United States.

What Your Chess Pieces and Shrimp May Soon Have in Common

By Julia Malits Published November 6, 2014

Researchers at the Wyss Institute of Harvard University have synthesized bioplastic products composed of fully biodegradable chitosan. Their discovery has the potential to revolutionize the polyethylene-based plastics production industry if their work is applied on a larger scale.

Orphaned Oil Wells and the Case for Stronger State-Based Regulation

By Liam Berigan Published November 6, 2014

"Orphaned" oil wells are wells that are no longer maintained by an oil company, making state governments responsible for ensuring that they will not cause any spills. However, they are often not properly plugged and secured, which could pose future environmental hazards. There are now more than 2,800 orphaned oil wells in Louisiana and the state does not have the funds to plug them.

Global Warming's Next Victim: Wine

By Kavin Lam Published November 6, 2014

The effects of global warming may often seem impalpable. However, they can definitely be close to home, as revealed by how wine growing is directly threatened by global warming. The damage to the wine industry exemplifies how global warming affects all aspects of our lives.

Source to Sink: The Inevitable Extraction of the Alberta Tar Sands and Its Political Ramifications

By Ben Krapels Published November 6, 2014

The famously divisive Keystone XL pipeline has caused fits for Congress, the Obama administration, numerous private sector energy firms, and environmental activists. But some resourceful Canadians may take the Keystone question out of American hands altogether.

The Environmental Concern We Are Afraid to Talk About: Period.

By Kelsey Clough Published November 6, 2014

Approximately half of Earth's inhabitants are female, of which an estimated 56% are of reproductive age and menstruate monthly. Yet, in societies throughout the world the topic is taboo. Consequently, inattentiveness to menstrual hygiene management significantly impacts the environment.

Protecting Our Pollinators: Steps Taken to Stabilize Honey Bee Colonies

By Danielle Ragin Published November 6, 2014

Until recently, most of the American public wrote off bees as menaces and overlooked the vital role they play in nature and agriculture. However, mysterious disappearances of honeybee colonies has raised awareness about these important creatures and increased efforts to sustain bee populations.

An Outlook of Wind Energy in the United States

By Justin Cheng Published November 6, 2014

On the surface, wind energy in the United States seems to be doing well. However, this assumption is not necessarily true as the American wind energy market still faces serious challenges.

Reducing Global Warming: Environmental Initiative or Commercial Industry?

By Danielle Ragin Published October 21, 2014

Some innovative entrepreneurs are turning the fight against global warming into a profitable industry. They are harnessing greenhouse gas emissions as a resource to make commercial products and materials while revolutionizing environmental and business initiatives.

Red Challenges to Green Goals: How the New EPA Regulations Will Affect the Midterms

By Ben Krapels Published October 21, 2014

President Obama's legacy will be defined by the Affordable Care Act and his forceful climate policy, one of the largest steps forward to combat global warming in decades. But an unforeseen consequence of his new EPA regulations may be Republicans taking control of the Senate after this fall's midterm elections.

American Green Infrastructure: Why Green Doesn't Always Mean Go

By Mallory Shipe Published October 21, 2014

EPA's Smart Growth program has pledged to help cities across the country improve green infrastructure. However, serious financial and ideological complications exist behind the program's most recent expansion to five new state capitals.

Harnessing Solar Power Through Third-Party Power Purchase Agreements

By Alex Fields Published October 21, 2014

Solar power is becoming increasingly cost-competitive with traditional energy sources in the United States. As policymakers remove subsidies for solar power, they must also ensure that solar will be able to thrive in the new energy economy. Removing policy barriers, especially restrictions on third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), is essential.

Dealing With Unsustainable Waste Management Practices in Developing Countries

By Julia Malits Published October 21, 2014

With today's society generating the largest amount of waste in human history, sustainable waste management practices are indispensable to a healthy economy, human population and environment. As the photo from Indonesia's Bantar Geband landfill site illustrates, waste levels are rising beyond capacity. Waste management needs to be more heavily prioritized and urgently dealt with by policymakers, innovators, and communities.

Climate Change: Driving the Spread of Ebola

By Kavin Lam Published October 21, 2014

As Ebola threatens American soil and the lives of medical professionals, was this our fault? Did Americans force the disease to spread? Global climate change has already increased the frequency of infectious diseases, posing especially dire threats to underdeveloped countries.

U.S. Forest Service Retracts New Wilderness Rule After First Amendment Dispute

By Liam Berigan Published October 20, 2014

A newly proposed rule based on the Wilderness Act of 1964 was quickly withdrawn last month after widespread criticism over a possible violation of the First Amendment. The Wilderness Act is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has become a bedrock of U.S. environmental legislation.

The Economy, Not the Environment: Why the Public Doesn't Care About Environmentalism

By Justin Cheng Published October 20, 2014

In recent years, environmentalism has been viewed as a luxury, only seriously pursued when times are good. Yet, environmental policy can be applied more aggressively as economic policy to shift public opinion and get legislation passed.

Nuclear Energy: Our Saving Grace or Too Little, Too Late?

By Elizabeth Chi Published October 20, 2014

Nuclear energy appears to be potentially making a comeback on the alternative energy playing field. Although it does not emit greenhouse gases, we cannot rely solely on nuclear power to reduce our emissions quickly enough to prevent a devastating 2°C rise in temperature.

The Tides Are Rising for Louisiana's Disappearing Coasts

By Emma Johnston Published October 20, 2014

A modern Louisiana Purchase is underway, and it's just as unprecedented as the original. This time, historian John Barry hopes to make oil and gas companies pay for the land they have destroyed along the coast of Louisiana.

A Prescription for Medical Waste

By Kelsey Clough Published October 20, 2014

Within the past century, the medicalization of society has shaped American society. This conditioned proclivity for pharmaceutical solutions to social problems, has exponentially expanded the production and sale of medical remedies. The explosion of pharmaceutical drug use, however, poses grave threats for the environment.

Defending Abe: Why Japan's Decision to Reintroduce Nuclear Power Makes Sense

By Russell Sesler Published April 14, 2014

After the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, Japan turned off all 48 of its plants. Despite significant public opposition to nuclear power, the Japanese government should restart its production of nuclear power to meet its domestic energy needs. Future meltdowns can be avoided through effective safety measures.

Innovative Battery Technology: the Key to Affordable Renewable Energy

By Alex Fields Published April 14, 2014

Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power, shows great promise for encouraging environmentally-friendly electricity generation. However, expensive batteries have prevented renewable energy production from displacing conventional energy sources. To lower the cost of renewable energy, researchers have developed new and effective battery technology using organic compounds.

Carbon Taxes: What do They Look Like and What Can We Expect?

By Liam Berigan Published April 14, 2014

With the release of the most recent report from the IPCC, climate change is proving to be a major concern. Carbon dioxide emissions have been consistently increasing and this trend will only continue. Policymakers should implement carbon taxes, modeled on British Columbia's version, to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Redefining Prosperity

By Hilary Yu Published April 14, 2014

The ecological footprint is shaped by population levels, affluence, and technology. Although developed societies have relied much on technological innovation to solve environmental problems, rising population levels demand new solutions. We must reconsider our mindset of conspicuous consumption.

The Debate Behind Natural Gas Exports

By Russell Sesler Published March 24, 2014

American natural gas exports, which have jumped due to technological innovation, are becoming increasingly important domestically and internationally. Considering the many economic, environmental, and political factors framing this debate, U.S. policymakers must make the difficult, but necessary, decision to increase natural gas exports.

Buying Into Sustainability

By Hilary Yu Published March 24, 2014

The economy and environment are not as antithetical as many would believe. In many ways, the market provides a strong framework for pursuing long-term sustainability.

Feeding the Future: Caring for Our Water

By Lucy Dean Stockton Published March 24, 2014

Climate change is altering the Earth's temperature, as well as global precipitation distributions, which has huge implications for all of Earth's ecosystems. It will have a particularly large effect on agriculture, a huge consumer of water resources. Potential ways to address this issue include mitigation strategies to prevent further global warming and adaptation strategies which will help farmers cultivate crops in an environment more compatible with the changing climate. These techniques are based in conservation principles and can be incentivized through the use of policy.

A Clock Inside a Mountain

By Liam Berigan Published March 24, 2014

Jeff Bezos is building a 200-foot clock inside a mountain in Texas to last for 10,000 years as a memento remembering our generation. But is this really how our generation will be remembered? The environmental impacts that will be left by the 20th and 21st century will last long into the future, and spending money to alleviate these impacts should be a priority for wealthy individuals.

Fuels of the Future… But Maybe Not the Future We Expected

By Lucy Dean Stockton Published November 8, 2013

Biofuels leave a lot to be desired. While many had high hopes for increased energy independence, sustainability and job stimulation, biofuels have instead shown themselves to be relatively inefficient producers and consumers of energy requiring huge facilities and huge investments. But even as biofuels may be a disappointment, bioenergy is not a bust. Simpler technologies like bioheat energy harvesting can be done on a smaller, local scale and provide both heat and electricity. Because bioheat doesn't require the complex fermentation processes associated with biofuel, they may also allow us to change the kinds of plants that are grown to ones that are more sustainable for the climates they grow in with less inputs required.

The Potential Benefits of California's Partnership With China

By Chris Harvey Published November 8, 2013

China's major cities have been crippled by smog resulting from industrial pollution, emissions which also contribute greatly to global climate change. California's recent partnership to share low carbon strategies with China offers great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address China's pollution problem. Furthermore, it serves as an exciting model for global collaboration on the issue of climate change.

Quantum Dots, An Exciting New Potential Renewable Energy

By Jatin Khanna Published November 8, 2013

Quantum dots have been used in the engineering industry for a variety of applications, including transistors, solar cells, LEDs, and lasers. Scientists at Lehigh University have discovered an exciting new application of quantum dots that could revolutionize the liquid biofuels industry.

Protecting Pollution Prevention

By Alex Fields Published November 8, 2013

In 2011, the EPA implemented policies under the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gas emissions. They mandated that power plants and factories that generate significant amounts of carbon dioxide would be subject to permitting regulations. However, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case by several industry groups and state governments against these regulations. If the EPA's efforts are rejected, then it will be far more difficult to prevent runaway climate change.

Geoengineering: A Tempting Solution

By Hilary Yu Published November 8, 2013

As the climate issue is increasingly in the forefront of public perception, the focus of discussion among those who acknowledge its existence has primarily been oriented towards finding a solution. One proposal that commonly arises is the idea of employing geoengineering, the manipulation of certain Earth functions or systems. Scientists have brought forth potential geoengineering solutions such as spraying sulfur particles in the air, fertilizing trees with nitrogen, or seeding cloud formation.

Biodiversity and Human Health

By Adam Shelepak Published November 8, 2013

Words like "climate change" and "global warming" have become buzzwords that are now common in our vernacular for both scientists and nonscientists alike. However, do we really know the impacts that these will have on life on the planet Earth. As common as talk about climate change is, one often overlooked aspect is the worldwide loss of biodiversity and how greatly this will affect the human population in the field of medicine.

Fast Clothes Nation

By Kelsey Clough Published November 8, 2013

I always blamed the deluge of fabrics in my closet on being short. My height, which has remained at a shorter than average five feet and two inches since my eleventh birthday, had always justified my accumulation of clothing and shoes; I never grow, so my clothes simply pile up. Upon unearthing an article citing Elizabeth L. Cline's book Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, however, I realized my over-accumulation of frocks and heels may have more to do with increasingly cheap access to clothing. This proliferation of "fast fashion," though, has implications that extend further than my crammed closet. With an increase in the purchase of inexpensive clothing, a correlated increase in clothing disposal exists. Both of these processes, of clothing manufacture and disposal, possess serious environmental consequences.

Integration of anchor institutions and surrounding communities to achieve sustainable solutions to energy needs

By Angelica Cullo Published November 8, 2013

In recent months, protests against Hydraulic Fracturing ("fracking") have permeated New York State. While research on fracking operations provides a convincing case for a ban on the practice, opponents to fracking do little to offer viable alternatives. So who should we turn to to bring about tangible, lasting changes to meet future energy needs? In Ithaca, we would turn to Ithaca's major anchor institutions: Cornell University and Ithaca College. But why not look to local governments or the plentiful non-profit organizations that already focus on issues of energy sustainability in Ithaca? These Anchor institutions have the means to achieve sustainable solutions; but its time that they shared the wealth.

The USDA's Conservation Programs: The Nonsensical Shutdown of a Bipartisan Bill

By Liam Berigan Published October 10, 2013

The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the few sections of government that is rarely criticized in Congress, but that didn't make it exempt from the government shutdown. Until further notice, the department can no longer fulfill its duties to farmers or farmland stakeholders. In addition, the shutdown has indefinitely suspended a certain piece of law regarding conservation programs in the farm bill.

From Farm to Fork: Behind the Scenes of Food Production

By Angelica Cullo Published October 10, 2013

The saying "out of mind, out of sight" often rings true when it comes to assessing the environmental impact of the food we eat. From farm to fork, food production, processing, and transportation demand a sizeable amount of energy and water, and produce emissions and other harmful byproducts. Agriculture production places a substantial burden on the environment and non-renewable resources. So how can we address the root of the issue if production and distribution infrastructure remain unsustainable?

Retracting the Global Foodshed

By Lucy Dean Stockton Published October 10, 2013

The 'Green Revolution' that began in the 1960's describes the phenomenon of global agricultural advancements through innovations such as synthetic fertilizer, genetically modified crops and industrial farming technology. The technological advances and increased crop yields made it possible to feed billions more people around the world and to solve the then-imminent problem of famine. In turn, it enlarged both the global market and the U.S. dependence on foreign imports. It is crucial to note that most of the agriculture that supplies our food system (the sum of all parts and processes involved in feeding a population) depends on fossil fuels. Understanding that oil is a non-renewable resource, it is easy to see why our food system is resting on such fragile foundations: oil is undoubtedly running out.

Climate Change and Social Change

By Adam Shelepak Published October 10, 2013

Social change and civil unrest are a part of human culture. These actions are a threat to occur in any society and have been a threat to occur since the beginning of civilization itself. Today, with growing environmental pressures, another factor is added to the depth of social change: climate change.

Power of the Underdog: Pushing Back Against Chinese Oil Giants and their Environmental Degradation

By Kelsey Clough Published October 4, 2013

Niger, ranking among the poorest nations of the world, often appears to the international community as the fragile child of the playground. With the country's recent resistance to contractual obligations with the powerful China National Petroleum Corporation, however, power dynamics have begun to shift.

Oil: The Lost Topic of the Syria Debate

By Alex Fields Published October 4, 2013

With more than 100,000 people dead and many more refugees, when will the humanitarian disaster in Syria be resolved? Major international actors, especially the U.S., hesitate and question what strategic interests are at stake and how to preserve them. Amid the involvement of foreign governments, terrorist attacks, and chemical weapon use, the consequences for oil have been obscured.

Reduce Your Energy Bill Now

By Chris Harvey Published October 4, 2013

As a Cornell student living in Collegetown, I understand that between the classes, papers, prelims, and parties, we don't have a tremendous amount of time or energy to devote towards working with our landlords to participate in the NYSERDA program. Nonetheless, there are still a couple of small steps we, as well as any others who live in rental housing, can take towards making our dwellings more comfortable and more efficient that should be acceptable your landlord.

Investing in Solar Stocks: Follow Up

By Jatin Khanna Published October 4, 2013

About 6 months ago I wrote an article entitled "Solar Power: Why You Should Invest Now." In that article, I suggested that there were good reasons to invest in SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), and SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY). I've said this before and I will say it again: I am not a financial analyst, day trader, or any sort of expert whatsoever on the stock market. I simply made some speculations regarding those companies using my engineering and solar industry background. My overall theme was that based on major interest in solar power, including investments from Warren Buffett, along with news of long term large-scale contracts for solar, the market should be favorable to these companies. So how good were my predictions?