Photo of senior citizens biking

The Journal of Aging and Health published "Environmental Sustainability in an Aging Society: A Research Agenda" by Karl Pillemer (HD) 

Environmental Sustainability in an Aging Society: A Research Agenda

March 22, 2011

Photo of senior citizens biking

The Journal of Aging and Health published "Environmental Sustainability in an Aging Society: A Research Agenda" by Karl Pillemer (HD), Nancy M. Wells (DEA), Linda P. Wagenet (DSOC), Rhoda H. Meador (BLCC), and Jennifer T. Parise (BLCC), in its April issue.

Karl PillemerKarl Pillemer (HD)

The article resulted from a 2009 “Cornell Conference on Aging and the Environment,” sponsored by the Atkinson Center’s 2008 Academic Venture Fund.  The conference included experts from across Cornell, partner and peer organizations, and the EPA, and the format encouraged the development of a research agenda through a “consensus workshop” model, designed by Pillemer.

The team observes that as our population ages, “studying the connections between environmental sustainability and aging is potentially of great importance,” for several reasons: 1) environmental threats may disproportionally affect the aging, 2) an aging population may contribute to environmental problems, and 3) older persons may provide solutions to environmental problems.  Despite these motivations, only a few articles “have specifically examined the intersection of aging and environmental sustainability.”

The article concludes with several recommended topics for future research: 1) Environmental Threats to the Health of Older People, 2) Proenvironmental Behavior and Volunteerism in Later Life, and 3) Environmental Impact of Housing and Living Arrangements.