Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when people have a clean and healthy environment that contributes to our state's well-being now and into the future.

Maintaining a healthy environment involves careful utilization of natural resources, reduction of impact of human activities on the environment (e.g., eliminate soil, air, and water pollutants and contaminants; eliminate soil erosion; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions), and preserving and enhancing the beauty of nature. A healthy environment can also be defined by the human-made resources that support human activity (e.g., the built environment), which refers to the infrastructure and resources such as grocery stores, parks, green space, restaurants, buildings, transportation systems, and other features.

What's happening

  • Residents of the Dickinson micropolitan area enjoyed the best air quality of the four metro/micros for which EPA data are available in North Dakota. Residents of the Bismarck metropolitan area had the lowest number of "good" Air Quality Index days in 2016.
  • The rural nature of communities in North Dakota influences access to healthy food more than demographic and economic characteristics. While 21.7 percent of people in metropolitan areas had low access to a grocery store, 39.0 percent of people living in non-metropolitan areas had low access, according to the latest data (2010).

Making connections

Our economy and workforce can be directly impacted by the state of our environment. Poor air quality also negatively impacts the health of residents in the region, which lowers our quality of life. A nutritious diet is critical to optimal health and disease prevention, and essential for healthy growth and development of children and youth. Healthy food retail businesses improve the community’s economy by supplying local jobs, increasing or stabilizing home values in nearby neighborhoods, generating local tax revenues, and attracting complementary businesses and services.


Dean Bangsund: Effects of Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion on Spring Planting for Producers

Researchers in the North Dakota State University Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics have studied, in cooperation with the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Authority, the risk and economic impact of temporarily retaining or staging floodwater on agricultural land south of the Fargo-Moorhead community when the proposed FM Diversion is operated.  In this article, Dean and David answer some questions on how the FM Diversion might affect spring planting activities for agricultural producers operating within the Diversion’s staging area.


Jessica Creuzer: The Changing Face of Western North Dakota: What are the Effects of Increased Travel from Energy Development?

"Energy development has changed the scene of western North Dakota over the last decade. Much of the energy related traffic passes the unpaved roads where many of the active drilling wells are located. Overall, there is little research on the subject of environmental impacts of energy development. One of the environmental concerns of these impacts is the amount of dust being generated by the additional traffic".


Abby Gold: Community Food Systems: Food Charters and More

"Promoting local food saves resources by reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned to deliver calories to our table; keeping local dollars in the local economy through direct marketing, local processing, and value added activities; providing ways to reconnect with the food supply; and strengthening social, economic, and physical health. Furthermore, building a community food system adds much needed diversity to a system that emphasizes efficiency and large scale operations".


Abby Gold: Cass Clay Food Systems Advisory Commission: A Multijurisdictional Food Policy Council

"Equitable access to healthy food within a community improves health behaviors as well as addresses issues of food insecurity. Enhancing access to locally grown food is one strategy that will strengthen our food system".

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North Dakota Compass

North Dakota Compass

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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