About the Conference

State of the Planet 06: Is Sustainable Development Feasible?

The Earth Institute at Columbia University convened the fourth biennial State of the Planet Conference to discuss the feasibility of sustainable development for billions worldwide.

Internationally renowned scholars and opinion leaders lead discussions, presented ideas, and outlined research throughout this two day forum, which sought to explore the fundamental requirements of science, economy, governance and human behavior needed to achieve sustainable development.

The conference included an in-depth analysis of:

Research and Ingenuity
How can research protect and provide resources for energy, water and biodiversity, particularly as they are affected by or contribute to climate change?
Tapping into Market Forces and the Economy

What are the strengths and limits of free market mechanisms versus government regulation in achieving sustainable development?
Developing Effective Institutional Structures

What are the strengths and weaknesses of global governance in tackling issues of sustainable development?
Challenging Behavioral Patterns and Perspectives
Will societies, with all of their complex social, cultural and religious components, need to modify their behaviors to achieve sustainable development?

Pre-Conference Audio

Past Conferences

State of the Planet 2004: Mobilizing the Sciences to Fight Global Poverty
State of the Planet 2002: Science and Sustainability

Steering Committee


John C. Mutter, Deputy Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University


Charles Alexander, International Editor, TIME Magazine (retired)

Paul W. Brandt-Rauf, Professor and Department Chairman of Environmental Health Science, Columbia University

Wolfgang Kinzelbach, Professor, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Institute of Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management

Glenn-Marie Lange, Senior Research Scholar, The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Marco Mazzotti, Professor of Process Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering at the ETH Zurich

Shahid Naeem, Professor and Department Chairman, Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University

Cheryl Palm, Senior Research Scientist, Tropical Agricultural and Rural Environment Program, The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Tim Palmer, Head of Probability Forecast Division, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast

Peter Schlosser, Vinton Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University

Elliott Sclar, Elliott Sclar, Director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development, The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Professor of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. He is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University


This event is co-sponsored by The New York Academy of Sciences.
New York Academy of Sciences