Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. This picture showcases a person wearing a mask that protects themselves from poor air quality, disease and sickness.

While the supply of energy is critical for a vibrant, modern society, its production and use often carries hidden social and environmental costs, including air and water pollution. This pollution can cause people to lead sicker and shorter lives, and force them to devote substantial resources to their medical care and sick time. It is vital that researchers continue to develop an understanding of the links between pollution and health, as well as the benefits and costs of environmental quality and society’s energy choices.

Our environment research explores three main topics: air pollution, conservation economics and environmental health. For example, EPIC researchers are exploring the effects of social media on government action to reduce pollution, the promise of monitoring technologies and enforcement to reduce water use, and the social costs of extinction of species caused by human activity, among many other topics. Through EPIC’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), EPIC researchers are evaluating the impacts of exposure to pollution on people’s health, and specifically on their life expectancy. Other projects are focused on the economic consequences pollution imposes on society in terms of , and overall GDP. They are also determining people’s willingness to pay for clean air and high environmental quality. Combined, this information can lead to evidence-based solutions and improved prevention, compliance and enforcement.