Environmental Policy Research

While at MIT I have collaborated on research to support carbon mitigation, equitable energy transitions, and electricity resilience with the Energy Initiative (MITEI), Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), and Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI). 

Studying the impacts of mining on glaciers in Chile

Since spring 2023 I have been collaborating on a project with MIT's Environmental Solutions Initiative to study the impacts of mining on glaciers and on desalination projects in Chile - as well as how shifting practices in the mining industry to enroach on glaciers and use desalinated water are shaping opinions and experiences of mining. This project is part of ESI's Program on Mining and the Circular Economy, which seeks to better understand how the energy transition is changing mining practices around the world - and to design tools to help more sustainably and equitably source the metals needed for a green economy.

Supporting MIT's Second Climate Action Plan

From 2021-2023, I served on a faculty committee convened to research low-carbon Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) options for MIT and a group of peer institutions in order to achieve MIT’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2026.

In Spring 2022, I was on the organizing team of the MIT Living Climate Futures Initiative. This project was co-led by MIT's Departments of Anthropology, History, and Science, Technology, and Society and by community leaders to further the climate justice goals laid out in MIT’s Climate Action Plan. Read a news article about the event here.

In Spring 2021, I served as a panelist in the second of three Climate Engagement Forums held by the Institute to gather input and insight for MIT's second Climate Action Plan. Watch a video of the event here [my comments begin at 51:50].

Studying User Experiences of Distributed Energy Storage Resources in Texas

In July 2021, I took a research trip to Austin, Texas, sponsored by MIT's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), to learn about household experiences during Winter Storm Uri, which triggered widespread power outages in Texas and across the U.S. and Mexico. Supported by the Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute (TEPRI), I interviewed Austin-based individuals who maintained access electricity when the power went out, largely via residential batteries or electric vehicles. I published an article about the research in CEEPR's Winter 2022 Newsletter

Advancing the Land Rights of Afro-Colombian Communities

Colombia’s Law 70 of 1993 was a groundbreaking effort to forge a legal pathway for Afro-Colombian communities to receive collective title to historically occupied territories in rural river-basin areas. However, though the Law has served as a model for similar initiatives across Latin America, it has not yet been fully operationalized. During the 2020-21 academic year, I worked with MIT's Environmental Solutions Initiative and Colombia's former Minister of the Environment Luis G. Murillo to evaluate the law's achievements and limitations and to develop a set of recommendations for its implementation. We published an ESI white paper on this research, which has since been used to inform ongoing policy and stakeholder engagement in the region.

Assessing the Impact of the Coal Industry's Decline on Tax Revenues in Greene County, Pennsylvania

In 2020, I led a team of student researchers at the Environmental Solutions Initiative to analyze property and mineral value tax contributions for the period 2010-19 in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where the majority of the state's coal is extracted. We found that Green County’s heavy reliance on coal companies for tax revenue poses a significant risk to its present and future economic health, particularly to the County's public schools. We published an ESI white paper on this research, which has since been used to inform ongoing policy and stakeholder engagement in the region