The Wylie Environmental Data Justice Lab (WEDJ pronounced WEDGE) seeks to investigate environmental injustice across the life cycle of oil and gas from production, to transport, refining and storage, to the toxicities of downstream products.
We work collaboratively with community organizations, NGOs, environmental scientists, and computer scientists to develop new methods for environmental justice research, citizen science, and corporate accountability.
WEDJ lab is currently working on ways to map the neurotoxic gas hydrogen sulfide using photographic paper, exposure experience of fenceline communities and on ways to visualize water pollution from industrial outfalls, low cost methods to visualize lead contamination, citizen science around urban gas leaks, chemicals used in fracking, open source tools for collaborative data analytics, and relational approaches to communicating environmental injustice.
We have worked with communities in Texas since 2015 to analyze air quality impacts from oil and gas extraction. In 2014-2015, we worked with Pennsylvania’s Environmental Health Project to assess their citizen science efforts to monitor particulate matter emissions from unconventional energy. In 2015, we worked on a successful campaign with the Southeast Environmental Task Force and Ban Petcoke to study and map piles of petcoke, a waste product from tar sands refining. In 2016-17, we worked with the Swinomish Reservation in Washington State to analyze air quality impacts from neighboring oil refining operations. Between 2018-2020 we worked with the Price of Oil consortium in Saskatchewan to further develop low cost methods to map hydrogen sulfide and corrosion. Presently we work with Chelsea Massachusetts’ environmental justice organization GreenRoots to study the environmental health impacts of their seven oil storage facilities. Since 2017 we have worked with Healthy Gulf in the Gulf of Mexico to develop citizen science tools for mapping land loss from climate change and oil and gas extraction: https://cartosco.pe/kioskProject.html#/hg_landloss.
Why a WEDJ (WEDGE)
A Wedge is one of the six basic machines with which we can build new social and technical conditions by holding objects together or pushing them apart. A wedge can be used in many different ways to cut, to split, to tighten, to hold together and to scrape. Inspired by this simple machine, the WEDJ lab seeks to change socio-technical discourses and possibilities by creatively splitting apart and recombining methods and concepts in ways that generate more just and sustainable eco-social relationships. More specifically we combine art, science, social science and computer sciences to more fully account for the worlds created through oil, gas and petrochemicals.
Our work has been funded by the Harvard School of Public Health’s JPB Environmental Fellowship, the Heinz foundation and Harvard and Boston Universities: Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), as well as the National Science Foundation.
Present Lab Members:
Vivan Underhill, post-doctoral researcher (Open Frac Focus Project Coordinator)
Leah Horgan, post-doctoral researcher (Reciprocity Project Coordinator)
Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff, graduate researcher (PhD Candidate Clark University) (Gas Leak Detective Project Coordinator)
Kaleem Ahmid, researcher (Toxic Toys Project)
Larissa Morikawa, researcher (Toxic Toys Project)
Kourtney Bichotte Dunner, undergraduate researcher Environmental Science (Reciprocity Project)
Vasiliki Pistoftzian, undergraduate researcher Environmental Studies (Reciprocity Project)
Angelica Fiuza, undergraduate researcher Health Sciences (Open Frac Focus)
Former Lab Members
Erik Hanley (Health Sciences at Northeastern University) pursued his capstone research project in the lab. Erik is developed ways to analyze hydrogen sulfide corrosion on copper pipes as part of the Wylie’s Hydrogen Sulfide sensing project.
Emily Schachtele (Health Sciences at Northeastern University) pursued her capstone research project in the lab. Emily developed ways to assess real-time performances of environmental data as part of the lab’s work studying the water quality impacts of oil storage facilities and the development of the Thermal Fishing Bob.