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

Joseph McFadden working in a dairy barn with students

News

Upgraded facility to study dairy industry emissions
Four climate-controlled respiration chambers will be built in the Large Animal Research and Teaching Unit to study gas exchange of dairy cattle and other livestock with the goal of reducing emissions.
  • Animal Science
  • Animals
  • Environment
The Colorado River curving around a large rock

News

Flavio Lehner won a three-year, $500,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve climate models on which future U.S. water projections are based.
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Environment
  • Water
A busy street in Shanghai

News

The answer: China must take responsibility for developing sustainable international trade, according to scientists and economists from around the world – including Cornell’s Mario Herrero. Their research published Oct. 18 in the journal Nature...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Agriculture
  • Environment
A protester holding a sign that says there is no planet B

News

The research updates a similar 2013 paper revealing that 97% of studies published between 1991 and 2012 supported the idea that human activities are altering Earth’s climate. The current survey examines the literature published from 2012 to...
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Department of Global Development
  • Climate
Sheep in a solar field

News

As industrial-sized solar installations pop up throughout New York state, residents fear the loss of agricultural land. Lexie Hain ’99 has a simple solution: sheep.
  • Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Agriculture
  • Animals