Climate Change & Extreme Events

Environmental justice in oil and gas

Oil pump in a field

Using an environmental justice perspective, we study how recent policy changes in Colorado have shaped oil and gas decision making in cities and counties across the state. Using surveys, interviews, and geospatial analysis, we assess whether or not the distribution of risks and benefits from oil and gas (O&G) development has been equitable.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation from 2020 to 2022.

Sun Valley public housing redevelopment study

Street view of an apartment complex in Denver
The homes and environments where people live affect physical and mental health through multiple channels. The role of housing in shaping health outcomes is particularly important in the face of climate change. Working in partnership with the Denver Housing Authority, our team conducted pilot studies on the impacts of housing redevelopment on residents’ health and well-being.

This project is funded by the JPB Foundation.

Reciprocity project

Smiling mother and child
As part of this project, our team creates broad-brush audits of the sources of environmental hazards in disproportionately impacted neighborhoods, focusing on North Denver. We also develop tools to educate historically privileged communities about the ways their lives depend on the services these neighborhoods provide. We work in collaboration with GreenLatinos as well as Dr. Sara Wylie’s Northeastern University research group in Boston, MA, who began this work in Chelsea, MA. The goal of this research is to support disproportionately impacted communities in the work they already do to bring awareness of the hazards they face and build alliances that can create lasting positive changes that improve their health.

View of wildfire on a mountain from the road
Our research explores how social interactions in fire prone areas drive risk perceptions and mitigation choices. In the wake of the Marshall Fire, our lab was awarded an NSF RAPID grant to lead a team of local and national researchers conducting longitudinal surveys of affected residents. We are also looking at prescribed burning risk perceptions, impacts, and policy support across Colorado.