Technology, Innovation and the Environment Program Publications

The next generation of environmental challenges and opportunities will be shaped by shifts in the way we think, make, and innovate. ELI’s Innovation Lab focuses on how we can better understand the environmental impacts and opportunities created through emerging technologies and their underlying innovation systems, structural changes in the economy, and new roles for the public in environmental protection. We welcome you to browse through our publications, categorized by topics of interest.


Environmental Impacts of the Digital Economy

Assessing Energy and Climate Effects of Digitalization: Methodological Challenges and Key Recommendations (2023)

Opening Up Environmental Footprint Calculators for Transparency and User Privacy (2022)

An Environmentalist's Guide to Quantum Computing (ISOC) (2022)

Social and environmental analysis of food waste abatement via the peer-to-peer sharing economy (2020)

Blockchain Technology and the Sustainable Supply Chain: Theoretically Exploring Adoption Barriers (2020)

Electric Vehicles in Ridehailing Applications: Insights From a Fall 2019 Survey of Lyft and Uber Drivers in Los Angeles (2020)

Evaluating the Potential of Cooperative Ridesourcing: A Case Study of Arcade City in Austin, Texas (2020)

Best Practices for Analyzing the Direct Energy Use of Blockchain Technology Systems: Review and Recommendations (2020)

The Carbon Footprint of Ride-Hailing: GHG Inventory Methodology (2020)

Social and Environmental Analysis of Food Waste Abatement via the Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy (2020)


Artificial Intelligence

Governing AI: The Importance of Environmentally Sustainable and Equitable Innovation (2020)

When Software Rules: Rule of Law in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (2018), or

Click here to Listen to Dave Rejeski talk about this Report (2018)

Environmentalism in the Next Machine Age (2017)

When Cars Lie (2017)



Blockchain Salvation (2018)


Citizen Science

Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Case Studies (2020)

Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Best Practices (2020)

Enabling Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2020)

Field Notes: Citizen Science and Agency Activities (2020)

Citizen Science and Environmental Agency Programs in the United States (2020)

Toward Citizen Science Policy Outcomes (2019)

Report - Clearing the Path: Citizen Science and Public Decision Making in the United States (2016)


Internet of Things

Earth's Electronic Skin (2022)


3D Printing

Environmental Disruptors Podcast: 3D Printing Food Waste (2019)

3D Printing and Maker Spaces (2019)

A Boon or a Bane? (2015)



Bioengineering the Future (2021)

Trips to the Biotech Frontier: Episodes 1, 2, 3 (2019)

A Future Without Fertilizer how Microbes are Changing Traditional Agriculture Practices (2019)

Preparing for the Future of Biotechnology (2017)

Synthetic Biology in the United States: A Brief History of An Emerging Innovation System (2017)

In Case You Missed It…The Future of Biotechnology (2017)



Environmental Disruptors: Weed like a Sustainable Cannabis Industry (2019)

Environmental Disruptors: Brewing Cannabis with Beer Yeast (2019)

Environmental Disruptors: Breaking the Grass Ceiling of Cannabis Cultivation (2019)

Click Here to Watch the Video

A History of EPAs Regulation of Pesticide Use on Cannabis.pdf (2019)

Pesticide Use in the Cannabis Industry (2019)

Pesticide Compliance in the Cannabis Industry (2019)


Cellular Agriculture

Cellular Agriculture: A Comparative Analysis of Press Coverage in the United States, the United Kingdom & France (2013-2018) (2018)

Perceptions of Cellular Agriculture: Key Findings From Qualitative Research (2017)



Environmental Law meets e-Commerce: Electronic Impact (1999)

The Environmental Impact of the Service Sector: An Incomplete Picture (1997)



Chapter 8 - Addressing the Risks of Nanomaterials under United States and European Union Regulatory Frameworks for Chemicals," in Assessing Nanoparticle Risks to Human Health (2016)

Revolutions in Making (2014)

The Nanotechnology Challenge Creating Legal Institutions for Uncertain Risks (2012)

Managing the Molecular Economy (2010)

Regulation of Nanoscale Materials Under Media-Specific Environmental Laws (2010)

International Coordination and Cooperation: The Next Agenda in Nanomaterials Regulation (2010)

Securing the Promise of Nanotechnologies: Towards Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation (2009)

Consumer Labelling of Nanomaterials: Convergence or Divergence? (2009)

Regulating Nanomaterials: A Transatlantic Agenda (2009)

Application of the Toxics Release Inventory to Nanomaterials (2008)

Overseeing the Unseeable: The Challenge of Nanotechnology (2007)

The ELI Nanotechnology Deskbook (2007)

Harmonization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Governance Approaches for Nanotechnology: An Overview of Key Themes (2006)

Governing Uncertainty: The Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Challenge (2006)

A Framework Convention for Nanotechnology? (2006)

Governance Structures for Nanotechnology Regulation in the European Union (2006)

Nanotechnology Oversight and Regulation--Just Do It (2006)

Flexibility, Clarity, and Legitimacy: Considerations for Managing Nanotechnology Risks (2006)

Keeping Pace With Nanotechnology: A Proposal for a New Approach to Environmental Accountability (2006)

Environmental Law Institute Summary of Participant Discussions, Symposium on Nanotechnology Governance: Environmental Management from an International Perspective (2006)

Comments of the Environmental Law Institute on EPA’s Nanotechnology White Paper External Review Draft (2006)

Securing the Promise of Nanotechnology: Is U.S. Environmental Law Up To the Job? A Dialogue (2005)

Environmental Law Institute Issue Paper (2005)

Nanotechnology: The Next Small Thing (2004)


Technological Change & Environmentalism

The Rise of the Sustainable Enterprise (2020)

Novel Entities and Technologies: Environmental Benefits and Risks (2020)

Digital Technology Opportunities in the Colorado River Basin (2019)

A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection (2018)

Novel Entities and GEF: Background Paper (2018)

Blindsided by Change: Slow Threats and Environmental Policy (2017)

Environmentalism in a Post-Ownership Society (2017)

Any Big Ideas Left? (2011)

More Humility and Try to Get it Right This Time (2004)

Progress Happens, But What Kind? (2003)

The Importance of Business Dynamics (1999)


Spotlight: Dave Rejeski and 20 Years of Crazy Ideas

Dave Rejeski, Director of ELI's Technology, Innovation and the Environment Project, started writing for ELI's policy journal, The Environmental Forum, in 1997, starting with a story on the environmental implications of the service sector and most recently ending with a piece on the sharing economy. Here is the whole trip:

  • The Post Ownership Society, The Environmental Forum, September/October 2017
    The environmental impacts of the sharing economy may not be unequivocally positive or negative but will depend on sticky norms, policy nudges, and human preferences. There may also be tipping points in capacity utilization, which could impact policy decisions.
  • Any Big Ideas Left?, The Environmental Forum, September/October 2011
    Clearly, we are not running out of problems, but are we running out of solutions? At this point, it is not clear what paradigm, or more broadly, what vision, drives thinking about our collective environmental future.
  • Managing the Molecular EconomyThe Environmental Forum (cover story), January/February 2010
    Pretty much as predicted, the long awaited convergence of nanotechnology and biotechnology has arrived. Can environmental protection, still cleaning up the last Industrial Revolution, avoid the perils while realizing the promises of manufacturing at an atomic scale?
  • Overseeing the Unseeable, The Environmental Forum (cover story),  November/December 2007 (with Terry Davies)
    Nanotechnology is the perfect test case for the future of environmental protection…Oversight will require a variety of approaches – voluntary and involuntary, public and private, market-based and rule-based.
  • The Next Small Thing, The Environmental Forum, March/April 2004
    Nanotechnology is not the next industrial revolution, but it will converge with ongoing revolutions in information technology and biotechnology
to create it. The environmental community has a chance to guide the coming Info-Bio-Nano Revolution in ways that avoid the mistakes of the first industrial revolution — and harness this one for environmental improvement.
  • Electronic ImpactThe Environmental Forum (cover story), July/August 1999.
    The era of e-commerce has arrived. Selling and purchasing by both consumers and businesses will change form, and demand will be created for new products and services and how they are delivered. It’s time to start thinking of the environmental impact, and how unlikely our present regulatory system will be able to address it.
  • An Incomplete PictureThe Environmental Forum (cover story), September/October 1997.
    Though the services may not be at the end of the pipe, they have a significant effect and its size and contents.  Yet we are only beginning to understand the environmental impacts – and opportunities – the sector presents.

Journal Articles: