One of the things I frequently bring up in career talks these days is the connection between computing and the environment. One area is computers being used to research the environment. I love to read about the stuff they are doing at UMass Amherst to create computer models to study rivers and streams for example. And then there is the use of computers to make cars more efficient both by design and in operation. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the more direct connects is in resources needed to create and to run computers. More and more computers means more and more power and that is a problem on several levels. There is heat generation which means air conditioning for example. use power to generate operating heat and use more power to cool things down. Large computing companies like Microsoft and Google – who are both building huge data centers around the world – have to be very concerned with these issues.
Microsoft has a web site about its concerns over the connection between computing and the environment. There you will find out what Microsoft is doing from trying to use more green energy to writing computer software to help computers use less power. There are resources for companies looking to deal with their own power consumption issues as well as other resources. There are also articles about Microsoft Research projects that deal with things like global warming and other more general environmental issues. And there will be more coming.