Feb 6, 2017 /

An Unexpected Silver Lining for Decommissioned Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms

By Lily Zhao
In the 1990s the decommissioning of Brent Spar, an offshore oil storage platform, sparked public controversy. Yesterday afternoon, Professor Tom Leschine, an expert in risk management and marine policy, told me the story of this 137-meter-tall platform – one many of us graduate students are a little too young to remember. In 1995, the United Kingdom granted Shell U.K. 

Read more

Jan 23, 2017 /

Defining Sustainable Seafood: The Use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in Eco-labeling

By Teressa Pucylowski
Seafood has long been a valuable source of food across the globe and, despite concerns about overfishing, global per capita availability of fish for human consumption has actually doubled since 1970 – thanks to the rapid growth of aquaculture. However, amid concerns such as overfishing, pollution, climate change, health hazards, and exploitation of fishworkers [1], the public is demanding more information on where their seafood comes from and how it was harvested or produced. 

Read more

Dec 12, 2016 /

Kalaallit Nunaat: Visiting a Changing Arctic

By Marisa Nixon
“A little closer,” he said. “Now quick, reverse! Hold her right there; pass me the hatchet.” Ice chips started flying. I was driving a 14-foot inflatable and holding the bow up next to a hunk of glacial ice, floating in Arsuk Fjord near the terminus of a large glacier. I’d been sent with my employer’s guests to gather glacial ice for the evening’s cocktails. 

Read more

Dec 5, 2016 /

Orcas in Puget Sound – What Are They Really Eating?

By Amy Brodbeck
What do pink pigeons, wild yaks, and orcas in Puget Sound have in common? They’re all endangered in the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Here in Washington, the orcas of concern are part of the Southern Resident orca population. This population spends most of their days in the Salish Sea, but disperse in the winter and have recently been sighted as far south as Monterey Bay, California and as far north as Chatham Strait in southeast Alaska. 

Read more

Nov 28, 2016 /

Changing Oceans: How can climate change lead to less fish catch?

By Teressa Pucylowski
Everyone on this earth has one thing in common: we all need an adequate and nutritional diet to survive, a fact that is encompassed in the concept of “food security”. Sadly, the onset of climate change threatens food security for a large number of people in this world. The effects of climate change on food sources varies between land and sea in terms of magnitude and intensity. 

Read more

Nov 21, 2016 /

New Faculty Feature: Sunny Jardine

By Danielle Edelman
At the start of Fall quarter this year, SMEA students were introduced to the newest member of the department’s faculty: Dr. Sunny Jardine. With a BS in Environmental Studies and a PhD in economics, Sunny fits in well with the interdisciplinary community of SMEA.
As with many SMEA students, Sunny’s academic path found focus with a specific topic that piqued her interest, namely deforestation in Costa Rica. 

Read more

May 17, 2016 /

Reconciling Environmental Sustainability and Economic Growth: Two Schools of Thought

By Hilary Polis
This past fall, I attended a conference hosted by the US and Canadian Societies of Ecological Economics. I am an environmental economist by training, which means that I work to develop and apply tools to express the economic value of the environment in our current capitalist, market-driven society. One way to go about this is to assign values to the services that nature provides to humans so that these “ecosystem services” can be taken into account in environmental management decisions. 

Read more

Apr 22, 2016 /

Fortress Conservation & the Makings of Yosemite National Park

By Grace Ferrara
This year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in caring for our national parks. For 100 years, the Park Service has protected and maintained some of our nation’s greatest treasures and provided connections for millions of people to the Great Outdoors. The creation of the Park Service in 1916 represented a major step forward in the struggle to protect our natural environment from the encroaching threats of urbanization. 

Read more

Apr 14, 2016 /

Fish Sticks and Fair Trade: The next step in seafood labeling

By Chris Giordano
Go to your fridge, open it, and take a look at what’s inside. Have you ever wondered how many people worked to bring you those vegetables? What about that carton of eggs? Now open your freezer. Who caught the fish in your fish sticks? What do those fishers actually look like? Where are they from?

Few people consider these questions, but they are important, especially in light of recent headlines. 

Read more

Apr 8, 2016 /

Humans: Living on the edge since 200,000 BC

By Hannah Bassett
While I and my fellow ocean-lovers might fancy ourselves ‘sea people’ or possibly ‘mermen and merwomen’ – on account of our penchants for surfing, scuba diving, sailing, or the like – humans are a terrestrial species. Right?
While that is a fact that few would argue against, that is exactly what I intend to do here.
Today, almost half of the world’s population lives in coastal areas[i] and urbanization is pushing even more people coastward.[ii]  As millions of people flock to coastal cities and towns, it becomes evermore important to question the common, but misguided association of humans with land and disassociation with oceans and seas. 

Read more