Mapping Environmental Quality Around the World

Sebastian de la Chica, University of Colorado,, Author

Robert Downs, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University,, Author

Daniel Edelson, Northwestern University,, Author

Carla McAuliffe, Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC,, Author

Deborah Munson, Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC,, Author


Note: This chapter was retired in August 2022. The visualization tool (My World GIS) is no longer supported.

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) is a numerical index, produced by the Environmental Performance Measurement Project. It measures progress toward environmental sustainability of 146 countries around the world. Seventy-six data sets, tracking factors such as land conservation, water quality, health, waste management, and air pollution, are aggregated to calculate each country's ESI score.

In this activity, users construct and analyze maps of the ESI and it's component data sets to compare ESI rankings around the world. Users download the ESI dataset from the Environmental Performance Measurement Project, and import it into My World, a geographic information system (GIS) tool designed for education. The ESI and its component data sets can be sorted and mapped to investigate the factors that affect countries progress towards environmental sustainability.
[map of air pollution (for ex.) over ESI]

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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