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Program on Global Sustainability and Health

Land Use and Energy Issues

Energy use and its environmental consequences are part of our conceptual framework. We are investigating links between the burden of abandoned mine lands (AML) to community and individual health outcomes.

We are using geographic information systems to create summary measures of the burden of abandoned coal mines in three dimensions: physical hazards, aesthetic qualities and toxic contamination. For example, the density of physical hazards and accessibility to toxic contamination (e.g., acid mine drainage [AMD]) will be evaluated in relation to social disorganization, physical disorder and economic deprivation in communities, and then in relation to human health outcomes.

This figure depicts how abandoned mine features can be distributed. In geographic information systems, such spatial data may be a point, a line or a polygon, depending on the feature.Our analysis will then convert the data into metrics relevant to human health.