Interdisciplinary approaches are needed to sustainably resolve environmental problems. Our visionary faculty and passionate students make this possible at Cornell.

We explore the past, consider the present and plan the future.

We contrast modern and ancient cities, as in this distant view of St. Louis from Monks Mound, central structure of the largest city of the Mississippian culture that prevailed across the eastern U.S. for centuries, prior to European colonization.

We span boundaries between humans and sensitive environments.

We work to understand the capacity for humans to share the earth with the vast diversity of all living things. This sign at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex in coastal California alerts beachgoers to nesting California least terns and Western snowy plovers.

We get our feet wet.

We aim to experience all kinds of environments in all kinds of weather. We are ready to look at what thrives, whether the weather is hot, cold, wet or dry.

We go where decisions are made.

Each year our students meet and work with decision-makers in New York City, Washington D.C., Bonn and throughout the world. Here we meet with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

We explore food security across the globe. 

Food sold in this Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia outdoor market reflects the multiple contrasts of food availability throughout the world.

We examine how cultural practices develop.

This advertisement in Beijing, China was part of a campaign to stop the illegal trade of ivory.

We evaluate restored habitats. 

We examine altered biophysical processes in disturbed landscapes, such as this clear-cut forest in coastal Oregon, along with the economic impact of boom-and-bust natural resource extraction on nearby communities.

We compare inequities associated with environmental degradation.

This sewer outfall in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol highlights the issue of environmental justice and communities that disproportionately experience environmental degradation.

We engage the arts to understand people and their environments.

We use literature, art, music and forms of human expression that impact knowledge and action to reflect upon divergent visions grounded in human imagination, narration, reflection, and persuasion. “Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa” (copyright The Estate of Johnny Warangkula, courtesy of The Aboriginal Artist's Agency) was created by Australian aboriginal artist Johnny Warangkula. This and many other works by Warangkula focused on Kalipinypa, a location where water – a scarce resource in the central Australian desert – gathers after infrequent storms.

Distant view of St. Louis from Monks Mound
Warning sign on beach dune that reads "Do Not Enter"
Students seining river
A group of students in a conference room with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.
A woman stands in front of a container of fish at a Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia outdoor market.
Man crosses his arms in an "X" pattern in an advertisement in Beijing against the illegal trade of ivory.
A small hillside covered in harvested timber and protected tree plantings
Warning sign near sewer overflow area in Washington DC
Art by Johnny Warangkula

Environment & Sustainability news

Abstract art by KAR Robison

News

Community remembers undergraduate student, artist and activist KAR Robison
Robison originally attended Baylor University, where they took courses in pre-medicine, philosophy and African studies. They went on to work in the field of sustainable food marketing in both San Diego and New York City for nearly 20 years...
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Soil and Crop Sciences Section
  • Natural Resources and the Environment
A fish underwater

News

DNA in water used to uncover genes of invasive fish
In a proof-of-principle study, Cornell researchers describe a new technique in which they analyzed environmental DNA – or eDNA – from water samples in Cayuga Lake to gather nuanced information about the presence of invasive fish.
  • Atkinson Center
  • Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
A pink starfish being held by a black gloved hand

News

Organic matter, bacteria doom sea stars to oxygen depletion
New Cornell-led research suggests that starfish, victims of sea star wasting disease (SSWD), may actually be in respiratory distress – literally “drowning” in their own environment – as elevated microbial activity derived from nearby organic...
  • Microbiology
  • Fish
  • Health + Nutrition
Two men stand on stage at a conference

News

Cornell startup awarded $600K to improve food safety
Halomine, a Cornell-based startup developing cutting-edge technologies for the sanitation of food processing equipment, has been awarded $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA)...
  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Health + Nutrition
  • Biology

News

Sex peptide causes female fruit fly’s gut to grow

A new study of the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has identified a protein in the male’s seminal fluid that triggers the female’s midgut to expand after mating. This widening and lengthening of the gut likely prepares the female for...

  • Department of Entomology
  • Biology
  • Entomology