A digital gesture for comprehending a year’s worth of industrial pollution in Louisiana.

  • Research,
  • Visual Design

This project is part of an ongoing series of digital gestures using the affordances of the browser to address social and environmental issues.

Louisiana is consistently ranked as one of the most disadvantaged states in the country—a place where environmental and economic deregulation has exposed its residents to both poverty and health hazards. It has the highest rate of incarceration in the country and a deep history of both racial and economic inequality. It is also one of the most heavily polluted states in the country.

In response to field research conducted on this topic by Arlie Russell Hochschild for her recent book Strangers in their Own Land, we wanted to visualize the magnitude of one year’s worth of industrial pollution in Louisiana—130 million pounds worth. Using EPA data from 2015, we proportionally mapped industrial pollution in LA by substance and published the data on a simple website in which 1 pixel = 1 pound of pollution.