2013 Senior Thesis Abstracts
Mary Beth Barham, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Susan Rose-Ackerman): The Fracking Boom: Rise and Regulation
Beginning in the 1970s, the DOE began funding research for unconventional energy recovery resulting in the creation of horizontal slickwater fracturing. The technique, known as fracking, boomed at the turn of the 21st century unlocking the nation’s vast natural gas resources. The development brought the long-standing debate of environmental federalism into light, questioning which level of government should be responsible for the regulation. The energy crisis of the early 2000s, DOE investment, and overall uncertainty regarding environmental consequences culminated in the “Halliburton Loophole,” exempting fracking from portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Protection Act. These exemptions have left states responsible for drafting and implementing their own regulations as they see fit. However, state-based regulation has only been reactive and remains minimal, failing to address the externalities of fracking. A new federal regulatory scheme is unnecessary; national standards for water already exist to address these problems. In order to protect both public health and the environment, the first step Congress should take is to repeal the exemption of fracking from the SDWA.
Emily Billing, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Garry Brewer): Unconventional Gas Drilling: Analysis of Air Quality Risks and Regulation
From its reputation as being the savior of our country's energy independence to its status as the contaminator of air, water, and soil, fracking is a popular topic of discussion for many. Often, fracking is associated with health risks, usually from water contamination. However, air pollution from fracking is also associated with serious health risks. This thesis analyzes four significant studies done on the air emissions from fracking by using a template to discipher the validity of the studies and their importance, while also taking note of the missing pieces. The studies are then used to support the claim that the US needs more stringent regulations on fracking to protect human health. Suggestions for better regulatory systems are then discussed and the conclusion is that in order to reduce the health risks from fracking, emissions must be aggregated. Ideally, this will be done by permitting by airshed and also using a trading program, which would allow the industry to reduce emissions in the most economical way.
Catherine Chen, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Dana Tomlin): Growing Life in Arid Lands: A Story of Water and Irrigation in Tunisia
Tunisia is a small country in North Africa that faces severe water scarcity, with annual average rainfall lying around 250 mm. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, taking up over 80% of total water resources. The development of water and irrigation in Tunisia has been a complex journey, weaving through a corpus of economic objectives, political abilities, and natural realities. My analysis of Tunisia’s water mobilization and irrigation program consists of two components. First, I conduct a macro-analysis of the country’s national policies, as the development of Tunisia’s water cannot be separated from the development of its political and economic state. Second, I use satellite remote sensing and GIS analyses to examine the practical impacts of such policies, taking the governorate of Kairouan as a case study. By tracing first the historical development of Kairouan’s irrigated lands and then the capacity for irrigation, I illustrate the dramatic expansion of irrigated production, filling Kairouan’s biophysical potential. Overall, Tunisia’s water management policies have been important to and dependent on the country’s economic aims, and while the country’s pure mobilization goals have been successful, such success also brings risks of overexploitation and environmental degradation that threaten to undermine Tunisia’s goals of productivity.
Karmen Cheung, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Robert Mendelsohn): Moving Sustainabilitiy Forward in Higher Education Institutions: Using Yale as a Case-STudy to Inform Campus Sustainability Efforts
This paper utilizes Yale as a case study to yield insights into the growing campus sustainability movement and argues that the lack of attention paid to initiatives after implementation has led to a multitude of ineffectual policies and wasted resources in higher education institutions (HEIs). In varying degrees, this research explores the ways to quantify and monitor the impact of three sustainability initiatives at Yale (procurement, Zipcar, occupancy sensors). The results of this research demonstrate the challenges and obstacles to measuring and assessing impact in each area studied. While the conclusions reached are not necessarily definitive, nor completely transferable to all HEIs, the purpose of this research is so that the methods and analytical approach utilized to assess campus sustainability initiatives can serve as a guide to critically assessing similar initiatives in other communities.
Katherine Eshel, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Ann Camp): A Predator in Paradise
Invasive species present a significant challenge to policy-makers and managers. Their removal requires a huge logistic and financial effort, and their impacts on ecological and human systems are highly unpredictable, both temporally and spatially. The resulting structural uncertainty calls for flexible decision-making processes, drawing on adaptive management concepts. The construction of the Erie Canal created an invasion corridor between the Great Lakes and the North Atlantic, giving non-native species colonization access to new habitats. The combination of overfishing, habitat destruction and sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) invasion led to the functional removal of the Great Lakes’ apex predator, the lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) by the 1960’s. The destruction of the region’s backbone fishery continues to affect Great Lakes ecosystems to this day. This paper reviews legal language and management frameworks to evaluate the adaptiveness of the sea lamprey governance regime. While federal legislation is outdated and state management plans typically neglect their own, often insufficient, provisions, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the primary management body, actively incorporates adaptive management ideas into their vision and program design. Nonetheless, third-party stakeholder involvement in decision-making processes inserts the risk of swaying management priorities to serve human interests rather than optimally restore the Great Lakes ecosystems to resilience.
Madeleine Faucher, Environmental Studies (Advisor: John Wargo): The Spiritual Science of Wine: Analyzing the Growth of Biodynamic Wine in the United States
The United States is currently seeing an increase in number of biodynamic vineyards, most of which are concentrated in Napa Valley, California, and Willamette Valley, Oregon. Biodynamic agriculture can be described most easily as one step beyond organic agriculture: it takes organics and adds a spiritual component. In order to be certified biodynamic, a farm must satisfy the requirements of both the National Organic Program and Demeter USA, the biodynamic certification agency in the United States. Given the reputation that biodynamics has acquired for having techniques that use “voodoo” or “witchcraft,” this paper explores the impetus behind the production of biodynamic wine, and the subsequent execution of said production. It delves into the technicalities behind certification, the scientific legitimacy of biodynamic agriculture, and the efficacy of biodynamic techniques, in addition to synthesizing interviews with biodynamic grape farmers and winemakers in Willamette Valley. Each of these topics is placed within a more familiar framework: that of organic agriculture.
Anna Rose Gable, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Carol Carpenter): Practical Pedology: Soil, Sustainability and Agricultural Knowledge in the Georgia Piedmont
Nationwide, the sustainable agriculture movement is galvanizing people from non-farming backgrounds to take up farming as a pragmatic response to the environmental, social, and economic ravages of mechanized, chemical-intensive “conventional” agriculture. Their alternative, “sustainable” agriculture is based on marketing locally and building biologically-active soils. The ideas that inform sustainable agriculture practice in the Georgia Piedmont come from a nationalized sustainable agriculture literature which obscures regional environmental differences. Farmers in the Piedmont adapt practices to local conditions through trial and error, but the “local” of today’s Piedmont is not a purely ecological space. Soil-building systems have not, historically, been sustainable in the Georgia Piedmont due to the region’s climate and geology. Their contemporary success depends upon nutrient and energy subsidies from conventional sources. This contradiction locks sustainable farmers into a physically and mentally exhausting battle that pits nature itself against an ideology of restoring and preserving a nature that never existed. An anthropological view of the Piedmont’s human ecology suggests that swidden agriculture (“slash-and-burn”) could provide a truly liberating, truly ecological alternative with positive social implications on a global scale.
Philip Gross, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Garry Brewer): A Triple Bottom Line Analysis of Ohio's Imminent Natural Gas Play
The large increase in domestically produced oil and gas is expected to continue to grow over the coming decades, putting America on track for energy independence. Ohio, with its oil and gas rich deposits in the Utica Shale formation has already begun to receive enormous attention from energy companies as a hotspot for valuable natural gas and natural gas liquids. However, there are concerns associated with this upcoming development including the use of hydraulic fracturing as the primary method for resource extraction as well as worries of economic decline following peak energy production. Distilled to its basic purpose, this essay is about how “Ohio” – its land owners, its legislators, and participating oil and gas exploration companies should manage the inevitable energy boom in the state from the perspectives of the triple bottom line: economic, environmental and social. By providing recommendations centered on these three variables, this essay seeks to ensure that Ohio’s fast-approaching energy boom is as beneficial as possible.
Atid Kimelman, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Amity Doolittle): Shwei, Shwei: Sustainable DEvelopment, Indigeneity and NGO Politics in a Bedouin Village
This paper presents a case study of the NGO Bustan, which does sustainable development work in the Bedouin village Qasr A-Sir, in the Negev Desert of Israel. Tracing the history of the NGO, the paper interrogates the shifting discourses that the NGO employs to frame its work. Through this analysis, the paper ultimately concludes that Bustan’s work disempowers the community it seeks to help in a variety of ways, despite its good intentions. The first part of the paper analyzes Bustan’s shift from an environmental justice to a sustainable development framework, arguing that this shift contributed to the de-politicization of the NGO’s work. The second section asks how Bustan’s increasing engagement with social entrepreneurship impacts the ability of the NGO to “do good,” in particular noting the ways that the advertising demands of the market cause the NGO to use the same orientalist discourse it wants to end. The final section of the paper then analyzes Bustan’s engagement with the Bedouin as an indigenous people, in particular exploring the ways Bustan articulates discourses of indigeneity and environment to create a particular eco-indigenous discourse.
Nicholas Leingang, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Ben Cashore): Like Oil and Water: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Environmental and Policy Challenges of Unconventional Extraction in North Dakota
The rapid expansion of unconventional extraction in northwestern North Dakota since 2008 has resulted in significant economic growth and booming population levels at the expense of environmental stability. The state has yet to address this problem, and the scholarship on the ecological implications of hydraulic fracturing and associated development activities is incomplete. This essay uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the body of literature treating hydraulic fracturing’s environmental concerns, survey relevant North Dakota policy and
legislation, and explore publicly available datasets to determine environmental concerns in North Dakota. Uncertainty surrounding chemical use, the concentration of wells in ecologically valuable areas, and climate change emerge as primary issues. I use both natural and policy science to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the policy instruments available to North Dakota policymakers. I argue that the best policy approach would use information-based instruments, which foster public engagement and scientific advancement; regulatory mechanisms for chemical usage and wells in valuable areas; and market incentives to end unsustainable practices such as gas flaring. Enacting a comprehensive environmental policy to govern extraction is the only way for North Dakota to ensure long-term economic, environmental, and social health.
Eleanor Lewis, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Karen Hebert): Dream Camp: A Case Study for Improving School Lunches
Between 1980 and 2010, the percentage of obese children aged 12 to 19 rose from 5% to 18%. This number will continue to rise unless something is done to improve the health of the nation’s children. 95% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 are enrolled in schools; therefore, cafeterias are a favorable setting in which to promote healthy eating and to attempt to reverse rising obesity rates. Dream Camp, a camp that operates for five weeks each summer in Philadelphia, PA, switched from meals outsourced to Aramark (an external food service provider) to meals cooked from scratch daily by chef Marc Vetri. Following this switch, Dream Camp saw a noticeable decrease in average fat and sugar content in the lunches. Additionally, a study conducted during summer 2012 showed there was a reduction in average BMI among a group of 108 campers over the course of the five-week program. While it is hard to attribute this reduction directly to the healthier meals, the result cannot be ignored. These successes should be seen as incentives for schools across the country to make changes to their lunch programs.
Eli Mitchell-Larson, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Harvey Weiss): Taking the Long View: Learning from the Earth's Dramatic History of Climate Change
Over the past three decades the field of paleoclimatology has made enormous strides, revealing large stretches of the Earth’s climate history using geochemical data and computer models. These breakthroughs coincided with growing scientific certainty that humans are causing climate change by altering the chemistry of the atmosphere, leading to increased interest in records of past climate change. However, many of the most important insights from the paleoclimate record—that the Earth’s climate has undergone extreme variability in the past, that climate changes can be abrupt, and that the climate system may rest precariously on the fulcrums of stable equilibria—remain trapped in an academic echo chamber that is largely inaccessible to the public. This paper attempts to establish the relevance of paleoclimate findings toward understanding and responding to anthropogenic climate change. I explore how paleoclimatologists frame their research to fit into an established narrative of relevance, but fail to disseminate their results in a meaningful way. I offer recommendations for improving communication between paleoclimatologists and the public, and conclude that public demands on climate science to produce anthropocentrically relevant results risk stifling scientific freedom.
Danielle Moncion, Environmental Studies (Advisor: James Saiers): Militaristic Antropogenic Pollution and Water Quality: A Case Study on Canadian Air Forces Base Petawawa
The objectives of this study were threefold. First using effluent data collected from 19 outfalls located around CFB Petawawa, the water chemistry of the samples was investigated. Guidelines set by the Ministers of the Environment (MOE) in Ontario and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) in Canada constituted the comparative standards. The results showed total metal and Petroleum Hydrocarbon (PHC) exceedances across almost all outfalls. Second, using GIS data, relationships between vehicle use and rates of contamination were drawn. A strong correlation between increasing traffic volume and increasing contamination levels was found thus insinuating that combustion sources and automobile use are linked to anthropogenic constituents in pavement runoff. Lastly, points of potential remediation included the construction of additional routes on/off base as well as the use of LAV beds to reduce environmental impacts posed by the military in CFB Petawawa.
Victoria Montanez, Environmental Studies (Advisor: John Wargo): Food Waste: The Value of Knowledge-Based Campaigns in Environmental Protection
In the United States, over 40% of the total available food is lost or wasted. Postconsumer food waste, which results from individual waste behaviors, accounts for a large proportion of this loss. Despite significant social, environmental, and economic consequences, the government and food industry have taken little action to prevent or recover food waste. Using the case of Yale University, this study seeks to address behavioral issues in an institutional cafeteria setting and determine whether a simple knowledge-based campaign, focused on the negative impacts of food waste, can effectively reduce wasteful behaviors in students. A secondary objective of this study is to determine why students waste food and provide constructive commentary for Yale Dining to promote less wasteful behaviors.
James Murphy, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Elihu Rubin): Urban Transit for a Healthy, Sustainable Future
We are at a critical time in our history as a species. We are failing to use the resources we have sustainably, polluting our planet in dangerous ways, and beginning to lose some of the huge health gains we have made in recent history. However, many of our environmental and public health problems can be solved through low-cost investments in urban transit. This paper will explore the problems we face, investigate what goes into an effective urban transit system, compare the different modes of transit available to a city, and discuss complementary interventions. Case studies will be used to provide examples of real-world transportation successes and failures. The argument for urban development being superior to suburban or rural development for future sustainable growth will also be made.
Aviva Musicus, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Kelly Brownell): The Role of the Law in Protecting Public Health in the Context of Addiction: The US Tobacco Litigation Model and the Future of Food Regulation
The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of law, specifically litigation, in protecting public health in an environment featuring easily accessible, potentially addictive and harmful substances. Obesity is a widespread public health concern, and
there is growing evidence that highly palatable processed foods could be addictive. The tobacco and food industries share many similarities; by exploring the history of U.S. tobacco litigation in the context of nicotine as an addictive substance, this history can be used as a model to inform future food litigation and obesity prevention. Research presented in this paper is also used to determine the current landscape of public opinion regarding food addiction. Although the public does not yet consider food to be addictive, there is evidence that litigation could be a successful tactic against the food industry in the future in order to reduce obesity’s burden of disease.
Hodiah Nemes, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Paul Sabin): Its the Climate, Stupid: Bill Clinton's Change Rhetoric and the Ghost of Kyoto
This essay uses the fields of climate communication and presidential rhetoric to analyze the Bill Clinton’s rhetoric on climate change. Using data from a presidential speech database, I show that Clinton avoided talking about climate change in his first term but spoke of it incessantly during his second. In 1997, he launched an awareness-raising campaign around climate change to build support for the Kyoto Protocol; the campaign has as yet received little scholarly attention. I analyze the language Clinton used to describe climate change – focusing on the overarching frames he utilized in his climate-related speeches. I argue that by framing climate change as an environmental challenge and as a problem of the future, he chose a losing message that alienated portions of the public and increased apathy about climate change. Problems with his overall communications strategy on Kyoto are also brought to light. While he made an unprecedented effort to educate the public about climate, Clinton made crucial errors in his bid to build public support for the Kyoto Protocol, some of which still linger with us today.
Julia Osterman, Environmental Studies (Advisor: David Post): Survival of the Fishes: Alewife Conservation and Effects of Alewife on Young-of-Year Bluegill
Currently under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), an anadromous fish species, has declined over 98% from historic population levels. Alewife is a keystone species that plays an essential role in coastal ecosystems as predator, prey, and source of marine derived nutrients. The ecological and economic importance of alewives fuel conservation and management efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. This thesis presents original research on the impacts of two different life history forms of alewives on the size and diet of a competing fish species, bluegill (Lepomis Macrochirus), and discusses the implications of the diminishing social value of alewives on these fishes’ management and conservation.
Rebecca Poplawski, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Debbie Humphries): Urban Farming, Health and Food Security: A Case Study of the Long Bein Community in Hanoi, Vietnam
Small-scale sustainable urban agriculture is being promoted as a path to improved household food security around the world, particularly in developing countries. However, the pathways between urban farming and improved food security, especially in low-income households, are complex and can often be mitigated by poor health, unsanitary living conditions, and other factors that unduly effect poor families. This study of low-income farming and non-farming families in the Long Bien Community of Hanoi, Vietnam aims to study the effects of urban farming and health on food security. In a quantitative analysis of farming and non-farming families, no significant difference was found in food security scores between the two groups. In a qualitative analysis of health and food security, a correlation was found between poor health and decreased food security. The results are used to give recommendations for future interventions in the Long Bien Community for improved food security; the VAC program, a sustainable integrated agriculture and aquaculture program, is recommended as the ideal intervention for the community.
Joshua Pugil, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Paul Sabin): Understanding Public Perceptions of the Environmental Risks Posed by Natural Gas Fracking and their Relation to Regulation: A Case Study of Washington County, Pennsylvania
The rapid spread of natural gas fracking across the U.S. has given little time for scientists, local communities, and government to react. The point of this essay is to make sense of the emerging data and literature on environmental health risks posed by hydraulic fracturing to determine what the risks are, which ones matter to these communities, why they matter, and how they are reflected in national policy by using Washington County, Pennsylvania as a case study. Examination of interdisciplinary evidence shows that residents of Washington County have created a hierarchy of risks that places an emphasis on water quality despite inconclusive scientific evidence on the magnitude of environmental health risks posed by hydraulic fracturing due to local news coverage that focuses almost exclusively on water-related issues. It is posited that this biased reporting is the result of the legal infrastructure in place in Pennsylvania prior to natural gas fracking that provided for greater monitoring of water as opposed to air pollution from natural gas. Regardless of the scientific accuracy of Washington County’s risk perceptions, they do not appear to be included in national fracking policy.
Madison Sharp, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Garry Brewer): Exploring the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemic Among Nicaraguan Sugarcane Workers
For the past two decades, researchers have reported an increased mortality due to chronic kidney disease (CKD) among sugarcane workers in northwestern Nicaragua. The rate of CKD is ten times higher in Nicaragua than it is in America and kills more Nicaraguan men than HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined. Patients in later stages of the disease require renal replacement therapy, such as transplant or dialysis, to survive; however, these expensive treatment methods are not readily accessible in lowincome regions. The World Bank, in conjunction with Boston University School of Public Health, has funded studies to investigate the high prevalence of CKD among sugarcane workers, but the etiology of this disease remains unknown. The causes of the CKD epidemic are multi-faceted and must be examined at the micro and macro-levels through interdisciplinary perspectives. I argue that 1) there are short-term and long-term public health and occupational interventions that should be promptly implemented to mitigate the CKD epidemic, and 2) further research is required to answer remaining
Pamela Soto, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Amity Doolittle): Brazil's Polemic Belo Monte Dam: The Social and Environmental Costs of a Mega-Development Project in the Amazon
The Belo Monte dam currently being constructed in the Brazilian Amazon, which will be the third largest in the world when completed, is hailed by some as sustainable development while it is dismissed by others as disastrous. At the crux of this controversial development project is the challenge of balancing the need to conserve and protect the Amazon rain forest, the issue of social justice regarding the communities who will be affected by the dam, and Brazil’s need for more energy to sustain its economic growth and development. This paper traces the history of hydrodevelopment in the Brazilian Amazon and the evolution of the Belo Monte project since it was first proposed almost 30 years ago with the hope of understanding how the negative social and environmental impacts of large dams can be mitigated and the extent to which these measures are being implemented successfully. Although tremendous strides have been taken, there continue to be several important unresolved disputes regarding adequate compensation and pending environmental problems that are being ignored by the Brazilian government.
Aliyya Swaby, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Carol Carpenter): Not a Fishing Net: Indigenous Influence on REDD+ in Peru
Though Peru is actively designing a national version of forest conservation program Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), indigenous people, the stakeholders most directly affected, have little direct say in the process. As a result, indigenous people at different levels of power attempt to indirectly influence national and international plans for national REDD+ implementation. In analyzing a case study in the Peruvian Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, I found that the two main regional indigenous organizations collaborate with more powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in different ways to attain crucial rights for the communities they seek to represent. The communities, with fewer tools for major influence, instead seek short-term benefits from REDD+, the latest in a string of community forest management programs in the region. I conclude that although these methods of indigenous collaboration are important in shaping REDD+, national and international legislative bodies must open spaces for more direct indigenous participation not only to implement effective policy but also to ensure indigenous rights are protected in practice.
Anna Wade, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Karen Hebert): A Quiet Unease in Southside: The Transformation of Tobacco Farming and Culture in Southern Virginia
As the Surgeon General warned about smoking in the 1960s, the history of tobacco and its high profit per acre in southern Virginia enabled tobacco farmers to justify continued production. However, changes in policy and production have since shaken regional tobacco pride and caused farmers to become increasingly dependent upon tobacco companies. The deregulation of the tobacco industry, along with increased public criticism and a fall in profit margins, have thrown tobacco’s future in Virginia into question by challenging the state’s entrenched
tobacco culture. The quiet unease among Virginia growers as production becomes more difficult to justify and continue may unravel the remaining threads of the regional cultivation.
Coleman Wheeler, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Karen Hebert): Big Coal in Small-Town Virginia: A Case Study of Environmental Justice and Racial Polarization in the Rural South
In 2008, the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative announced plans to build a 1500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the small rural town of Dendron, Virginia. The proposal polarized the population of Dendron and the surrounding area, and led to a controversy that pitted economic benefits against health, black residents against white residents, and the rhetoric of political and environmental justice against the rhetoric of racial and economic justice. Despite challenges posed by racial divisions and significant resource disadvantages compared to the electric utility, the local opposition to the plant mounted an effective political and legal resistance that delayed the plant significantly. Ultimately the project folded as a result of changes on the national energy scene in 2012. By conducting interviews with locals and key players in the controversy and analyzing local newspaper archives and other primary documents, I sought to explore the factors that contributed to the deep polarization of the community and to the final outcome. In conversation with the literature of environmental justice and social movement theory, I argue that Dendron’s pre-existing racial tensions made it particularly vulnerable to corporate power, and that locals mobilized the rhetorical frame of injustice to great effect both in support of and against the proposed facility.
Andrea White, Environmental Studies (Advisor: Amity Doolittle): Strategizing Public Health Disaster Management: A Case Study of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Bhutan
Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) have high potential for significant destruction and devastating impacts on communities in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. Bhutan currently lacks a comprehensive disaster plan, and strategizing management techniques is a necessity for beginning creation of such a plan. I conclude that community-‐based management techniques are most appropriate for strategizing disaster management for a Bhutanese GLOF, based on analysis of a historical account of a Bhutanese GLOF from 1994, Bhutan’s public health infrastructure and policy, and study of current community-‐based systems in Bhutan. In addition, I complete a vulnerability analysis of political, economic, natural, and public health vulnerabilities to a GLOF event, and make recommendations for the Royal Government of Bhutan to plan for and strengthen resilience capacity for a GLOF in Bhutan.
Seung Hyun (Lucia) Woo, Environmental Studies (Advisor: John Wargo): The Air Our Children Breathe: PM 2.5 Pollution Survey of New Haven
Particulate matter sized 2.5 micrometers or smaller is one of the criteria pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates in the interests of both public health and climate change. This paper seeks to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of PM 2.5 concentrations in New Haven, Connecticut. I analyzed the hourly PM 2.5 concentration and meteorological data from a stationary ambient monitor and conducted a personal sampling of both outdoor and indoor air, using three elementary schools as key sampling sites. I found that wind speed is the major determinant of PM 2.5 concentration rather than the weekday rush-hour traffic patterns. Also, the local sources of pollution dictated the PM 2.5 concentration rather than proximity to highways. Compared to a personal monitor, the state’s ambient monitor recorded lower concentration values. Additionally, the PM 2.5 concentration indoors was significantly less than outdoors. I concluded that the state’s tools for air quality regulations – ambient monitors and the Air Quality Index – are limited in protecting the susceptible group of asthmatic children.