Submitted by Kirk Jalbert on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 08:16
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
The scientific study of environmental pollution has undergone two major shifts in the recent decades. On one hand, local volunteer groups are increasingly involved in gathering evidence of pollution in their communities. By participating in knowledge production, these “citizen science” groups can gain legitimacy amongst scientific experts, and open doors to more democratic decision-making with regulators.
Unconventional extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary study of the effects of rapid economic development and environmental impacts on human quality-of-life. Our research team includes eight faculty and staff with expertise in economics, anthropology, sociology, satellite image analysis, political science, risk communication, environmental education and geographic information systems. We will develop a quality-of-life index specific to our study population and the issue of gas extraction.