As a youth, I was the kid who would lag behind my friends and pick up the bubble gum wrappers and soda cans that they occasionally tired of carrying and threw on the ground. Water related issues in particular always got my attention. I grew up on the ocean and spent many a lazy summer afternoon swimming, bridge-jumping, and digging for quahogs in the estuary near my Massachusetts home. Looming over my hometown is a coal-fired power plant, the largest and dirtiest in all of New England. The power plant was linked with asthma occurrence in my neighborhood friends, declines in local fisheries due to increased temperatures in Mt Hope Bay, and repeatedly violated federal air and water quality regulations. That power plant made me acutely aware of the connections between the large human demand for energy and its impact on the environment and on local communities. I have since made it my life goal to study the strain that ever-increasing human population and energy demands place on ecosystems and human health.