In a country bursting at the seams with computers, smart phones, and tablets, the need to keep data flowing is a challenge. Data centers in the United States process and store all that electronic information. These facilities consume a lot of energy: experts estimate twice the amount of electricity used each year by every household in New York City, a city of eight million people.
The state’s first-ever tally of air pollution from the fracking boom shows shale gas activity comprises a fraction of the overall pollution in the state. But the state’s new figures also show that the industry has brought pollution to areas that were largely free of it.
Are banks like PNC responsible for climate change when they fund businesses that emit greenhouse gases? That question is at the heart of a bit of news this week. An investment firm that pushes for social change announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission is allowing a contentious question to be presented on the ballot for PNC shareholders at an upcoming meeting.
An estimated two and a half million tons of computers and other electronic waste is tossed out each year. Only about 25 percent is recycled. The rest takes up valuable space in landfills, and sometimes seeps lead and other hazardous chemicals into the ground and water supply. One local nonprofit's found a way to reduce that toxic load, and help people, too.
You are about to read something that will make your skin itch. Consider yourself warned. I have bed bugs. How does this fit into The Allegheny Front? Well, when your foot is covered with welts so itchy that you crave amputation, you, too, might consider giving the stink eye to old Rachel Carson and searching for DDT on the black market.