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Ruth is Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York City. A member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Ruth has received the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America, and American Academy for Arts and Sciences. She co-directs the undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Author on more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, her research, focused in the Amazon and India, balances human societies’ landscape transformation for requirements such as food production and settlements, and maintaining a habitable planet. Her book, The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Nature Crisis is aimed at a popular audience.

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