environment

How Age Colors Views About the Environment

The air seems cleaner and the water fresher to middle-aged residents and seniors in Allegheny County, the urban center of southwestern Pennsylvania that has had its share of environmental struggles. A pronounced age gap separates the perspectives of residents across a spectrum of environmental issues ranging from air and water quality and the impact of …

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A Greener View

People in the heart of southwestern Pennsylvania have adopted a rosier view of the region’s environment in recent years. In the minds of half of Allegheny County residents, the overall environment found in the region is improving. Seven years earlier, only 39 percent felt the same way, according to surveys done by Pittsburgh Today and …

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Loose Change, Part X

“Without courage all other virtues are useless” – Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire We are talking about climate change, this being the tenth and (finally!) last post in my long series on “changes” that might be considered by the new Trump Administration. In my last post, I alluded to scientific misgivings about the seminal “Seven Nations” …

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Loose Change, Part VII

In my last post we looked at the need for “change” in one controversial domestic sector, education. But since that wasn’t nearly contentious enough (I only got about 400,000 death threats), let’s move on to something really controversial: climate change. Strangely enough, climate science is a subject I actually know something about. (You needn’t be …

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Toxic Chemical Emissions: The Region’s Top 10 Air Polluters

Although the region’s air has improved dramatically from the height of Pittsburgh’s industrial past, southwestern Pennsylvania remains home to factories and power plants that release millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data to track toxic chemicals released into the air, water and …

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Inconspicuous and Dangerous

The heavy smoke is gone. But particulates 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and gases formed by the reaction of sunlight and fossil fuels exhaust remain as the region’s most widespread, stubborn and dangerous air quality problems. Unlike the smoke that draped large swaths of southwestern Pennsylvania during its industrial heyday, …

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Taming Air Pollution: The Region’s Century-Old Challenge

Southwestern Pennsylvania and air quality have long had a complicated relationship. For the better part of a century, the region had been a place so polluted from the soot of industry and homes heated by coal that street lamps were lit in the afternoon and walking a single block could ruin the collar of a …

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Environmental Ethic

The environmental ethic among southwestern Pennsylvanians is complex, data reported in the Pittsburgh Regional Environmental survey suggest. They do not, for example, exclude citizens like themselves from sharing the burden of solving environmental problems. More than 86 percent of those who live in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area agree that individual citizens should be responsible …

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Vivien Li, River Keeper

My parents came from educated families in China and Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States. My mother arrived in the early ’50s as an undergraduate while my father, who was 10 years her senior, was studying for a Ph.D. Back then, it was difficult for Asians to come here. The immigration laws were …

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Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh

As his rowboat swept over Penn Avenue, Charles H. Allard looked for the bronze tablet on the Horne’s building. The object commemorated the high water mark of the Flood of 1907, previously the most severe flood to ravage Pittsburgh. Allard, reporting for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on March 18, 1936, couldn’t see it. Allard and two …

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What we say (and do) about the environment

Lori Rieger and Kim Haynes are strolling Point State Park on a July afternoon that is sunny, hot and humid enough to notice. It’s the kind of day that invites ozone pollution to accumulate at levels that violate federal air quality standards, which is something Pittsburgh and the region do on an annual basis. But …

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Our City, Our Water

An April 23 Forbes article describes “America’s 10 Thirstiest Cities,” and, of course, each is west of the Rockies and faces some degree of water crisis. Closer to home, the Great Lakes, which hold roughly 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, have dropped dramatically in the past decade. Explanations range from weather patterns to …

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Ben Roethlisberger, World Environment Day Leaders

Over the past several years, Pittsburgh has hosted one signature event each year—an event that’s drawn attention and visitors to our city: Pittsburgh Roars, Pittsburgh Celebrates Glass, Pittsburgh 250 and the G-20 Summit. And now, this year, Pittsburgh is hosting World Environment Day in June. These major events don’t happen by wishing. They come off …

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