Read http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/features/what-you-yes-you-can-do-to-improve-pittsburghs-air-quality/. Have two friends, family, or tolerant coworkers (must be located in Western Pennsylvania!) also read this article. What myths were surprising to your friends and why? What did they know about air pollution in Pittsburgh before reading this article?
Visit http://multimedia.post-gazette.com/MappingMortality/maps_mortality/default.asp and play around with the map for a while. The map is clickable, so you can zoom in on Allegheny county. Compare the rates of death to the marked areas of pollution. If you live in Allegheny County, check on your home township. Also visit http://breatheproject.org/learn/pollution-maps/ – if you don’t live in Allegheny County, use 808 Ridge Ave, which is the address for CCAC’s Allegheny Campus.
Consider the effects of living downwind from major sources of pollution. Here are some questions to get you started, but you don’t have to be limited by these. What effect might it have on property values? On the kids that live there but grow up and move away? Can we realistically move everyone out of the area? If everyone who can afford to move does afford to move, who will be left? How much political power do they have to effect change? What’s the average house price in Bellevue (across the river from several polluters) compared to Sewickley or McCandless? What other trends do you see between areas of higher than average mortality and what you know about a given township? How does your township compare to the rest of the county, and how do you feel about that? Can we reconcile the demand for the industrial sites with the effect of the people?