Our Research Lab is Planet Earth

Research within Environmental & Sustainability Studies (ESS) reflects the coming together of modern technology with our age-old planet. We investigate ways to strike a harmonious balance between improving the quality of life and honoring humankind’s responsibility to natural resources.

ESS faculty members are active in a variety of research focus areas. Learn more about their efforts below.

Environmental Sciences & Engineering

(Professors Fred Looft, Lauren Matthews, Jeanine PlummerReeta Prusty Rao)

Enhancing the quality of life by applying scientific and engineering principles to the natural environment is at the heart of this research. We study ways to improve air and water quality, manage waste in its various forms, improve crop yields, develop better consumer products, and make more efficient use of resources.

Environmental Philosophy & History

(Professors Constance ClarkRoger Gottlieb, Thomas B. Robertson, John Sanbonmatsu)

At the intersection of human interaction and the natural environment is environmental philosophy & history. Students investigate how relationships between people and nature are defined, examine the question of moral obligation, explore the value of resources within societies, and consider the rights of non-humans.

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Progress and Responsibility

Learn about the work WPI's Worcester Community Project Center is doing to research and develop innovative approaches to sustainable development.

Sustainability Studies

(Professors Laureen Elgert, Scott Jiusto, Rob Krueger, Khalid Saeed)

The study of environmental, economic, and social concerns facing people locally, regionally, and globally is what makes up sustainability studies. In this interdisciplinary research area, students examine the emphasis each of these concerns receives—and analyze the implications of how that emphasis is distributed among the three.

Environmental Politics

(Professors Laureen Elgert, Roger S. Gottlieb, Rob Krueger, John Sanbonmatsu, Ingrid Shockey)

The ongoing relationships between political, economic, and social factors shape environmental concerns. Within this framework of environmental politics, researchers explore how local communities, scientists, and other groups with socioeconomic interests make decisions about consuming the natural environment in the context of political, economic, and social demands.

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