What’s New

Research on Plastic Bag Legislation, Dr. Megan Styles

This past summer, ENS Chair Dr. Megan Styles and PA faculty member Dr. Junfeng Wang, conducted research on the adoption of plastic bag legislation in Illinois communities. They interviewed city officials and community leaders in the five IL municipalities that have adopted plastic bag laws (e.g. bans or fees designed to deter the use of these bags) to understand why these communities adopted these laws and their experiences with implementation. Drs. Styles and Wang found that these laws have successfully reduced plastic bag use and municipalities have not faced many issues with implementation. This research has now been published in the December 2020 issue of the ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL POLICY JOURNAL. Read the peer-reviewed article here, beginning on page 91.

GIS Workshop on Mapping COVID-19, Dr. Yun Zhao and Dr. Junu Shrestha

On November 14, 2020, the GIS Lab, joined by Junu Shrestha from the UIS Public Health Department, offered a virtual GIS workshop titled “Mapping COVID-19 Using GIS.” The workshop introduced the use of desktop and online GIS tools in visualizing COVID- 19 to help in the decision-making process. Two example products are included here. This is the first time the GIS Lab offered an online workshop. Watch for future workshop offerings, which are open to UIS students, faculty, and staff and community members.

Map of spatial patterns of COVID-19 in Illinois using ArcGIS Desktop
Mapping spatial patterns of COVID-19 in Illinois using ArcGIS Desktop

New Intercession Course Offering, Dr. Brandon Derman

During the new Winter Intersession term between Fall and Spring semesters, nine students from ENS and other programs enrolled in Dr. Derman’s Topics in Environmental Studies course “Understanding Struggles for Climate Justice.” The course examined the ways in which climate change is increasingly being understood as an issue of intergenerational, racial, and global justice, building on Derman’s longstanding research interests, explored in his new book. After examining the uneven impacts of climate change, and some pathbreaking institutional and popular mobilizations for “climate justice” at international, national, and region levels, each student prepared a paper, story map, or TED talk-style presentation analyzing an effort or theme related to climate (in)justice of their own choosing. Among other topics, students examined the legacy of racialized housing segregation in the US, climate impacts facing Midwest farmers, and sea level rise in populated areas around the globe. Stay tuned for future offerings of this course and other ENS intersession options as UIS works to increase credit-earning opportunities between our regular terms!