We assemble diverse, interdisciplinary teams of faculty, external experts and students to collaborate on the world’s greatest environmental and sustainability challenges and turn research into action for the common good. Our research isn’t restricted to the lab: we are transforming Georgetown’s campus into a living laboratory where we develop urgently-needed, scalable solutions to green the campus and broader community—and shape the future of our planet.

The Vision

The Earth Commons will consist of thematic “Commons” with dedicated faculty and staff and convene internal and external researchers, academics, experts, practitioners and students to understand and address each theme. The Commons will include Climate & Energy; Food & Water Security; Environmental Justice; Biodiversity Conservation; Environmental Health; University Sustainability; and the Environmental Innovation Lab, a campus think tank.

All, In the Press, Scholarship

Weaponizing Water: Water Stress and Islamic Extremist Violence in Africa and the Middle East By Marcus D. King

King…argues that all three insurgencies have weaponized the need for water to cause terror and advance their strategic goals. They have sought to take over water infrastructure, for instance, and have tried to control irrigated lands.

August 22, 2023

All, Scholarship

Microplastics and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Abundance, Distribution, and Chemical Analyses in the Nash Run, an Urban Tributary to the Anacostia River (Washington, DC, USA)

This is the first study that shows the presence of microplastics in both water and sediment and the presence of specific polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment at the same sites in a Washington, DC freshwater system.

July 19, 2023

ECo Impact Funding, Scholarship, University Stories

Energy Democracy in a Federal and Localist System: Georgetown Scholars Investigate a Crucial Component of Just Energy Governance in the Coming Decades

Foster and Chertoff explore how different levels of governmental regimes impact energy democracy, comparing how legal and policy levers (authorities, mandates, funding, and power dynamics) impact its success by comparing different projects.

June 20, 2023

Research Programs

Below is a list of research programs related to the work of the Earth Commons. Check back on this page for a more comprehensive list of research programs exploring environmental and sustainability issues across Georgetown Schools.

Marra Lab

Director Peter Marra’s research uses birds to help us define and understand broad environmental issues, tackling contemporary conservation challenges by addressing fundamental knowledge gaps at the intersection of ornithology, ecology and conservation biology. The Marra Lab in Georgetown’s Department of Biology investigates migratory connectivity, full annual cycle ecology, urban ecology & applied conservation, Kirtland’s Warbler conservation & management, and identifies the smoking guns in bird declines.

Research Projects

Migratory Connectivity

Advancing the conservation and understanding of animals throughout their full life cycle by promoting the science of migratory connectivity.

Explore StoryMaps

Atlas of Migratory Connectivity

Through the Migratory Connectivity Project, led by Georgetown University and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and together with the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we are working on an important and exciting two volume book entitled “Discovering Unknown Migrations: The Atlas of Migratory Connectivity for the Birds of North America.” 

Learn more