As the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaches, environmental awareness and the need to address the impact of global warming appears to be at an all-time high. Politicians around the world are making references to a “green new deal,” and the world’s most famous teenager isn’t a musician — she’s the 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the second consecutive year.Read more
For us, rice was life.
There’s a Cantonese saying, 食咗飯未 (siik jor fan mei) – have you eaten rice yet? It is a standard greeting between family, friends, and sometimes even between strangers. It means, “Hey, how are you? Are you well?” Rice, and the act of cooking rice, of sitting down with a bowl of rice and eating it, was an act of care.
During the piercingly cold snow days we just had, I thought a lot about sun, and home. Home for me is the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was first a volunteer and later a research technician in Dr. Kathy Boyer’s wetland ecology lab.
As we walked through a tidal marsh or waded through eelgrass beds, I’d often notice my lab mates saying things like “Oh, this eelgrass looks happy!” or “This pickleweed looks stressed.” Not because I wasn’t thinking similarly, but because in the STEM fields we’re conditioned to Be Objective and resist emotion or anthropomorphization.
Depending on who you ask, offshore aquaculture is either key to meeting food demands in a growing world and shrinking the US trade deficit, or it will catastrophically destroy ecosystems and livelihoods. Most government agencies involved in managing offshore aquaculture support its development, but most of the people it would directly affect outside of the industry oppose it.
Sounds tricky, but not quite like the culture war you mentioned in the title.
According to the most recent Climate Change in the American Mind report, the majority of Americans (59%) say they “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends, while the remaining 41% say they do so “occasionally” or “often.” Regardless of which camp you currently fall into, with climate change on the agenda of so many Presidential candidates, it’s probably a good idea to steady yourself for some climate small talk.Read more
How much time do you spend eating? According to the USDA, the average American spends about 1,800 days of their life eating. With this time eating comes consistent, daily decisions about what to select from our pantry or buy at the grocery store. Additionally, we are inundated with food-related information from physicians, celebrities, and popular health media that complicate our many decisions.Read more
We are all salmon people, and we know what we need to do.
Such was the message of this year’s Billy Frank Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit, a day-long gathering focused on achieving consensus for immediate and bold action to restore the Pacific region’s diminishing salmon runs. The summit, hosted by Squaxin Island Tribe on November 5 in Shelton, Wash., was a follow-up to last year’s inaugural convening of a broad coalition of groups working toward a consensus to accelerate salmon recovery in the region.
In Jenjarom, a small palm plantation town a few kilometres outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the smell of burnt plastic crept across the town every night, entering the homes of residents, causing them to wake up choking for fresh air. After months of sleepless nights, a few local residents decided to investigate the source of the smell, forming the Kuala Langat Environmental Action Association (KLAA).Read more
To many of us, going to the Seattle Aquarium may be a way to fill a rainy afternoon, a chance to get a closer look at a particularly fascinating marine creature, or perhaps an opportunity to learn something new about the aquatic world that surrounds us. But to Jim Wharton, a visit to the Aquarium represents an opportunity to be inspired–inspired to empathize with marine creatures and to take action on their behalf.Read more
What’s getting wasted this holiday season — other than your great uncle Earl? Turns out, a lot of food. In King County, 33% of household waste is food. That’s an average of 390 pounds per household per year! When 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, reducing food waste would also help lower emissions and curb climate change.Read more
This fall, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez retweeted a picture of the Vallejo Fire in Northern California, captioning it, “This is what climate change looks like.” She is far from the only one making this point. A few hours later that day, the Los Angeles Times ran an editorial: Climate change has set California on fire. Are you paying attention?
At the time of writing, California was in the midst of another devastating fire season; there were ten active fires burning across the state.
Happy launch season!
It’s that time of year again when your favorite tech companies announce new products that make your perfectly good phone from just a year ago feel oppressively obsolete.
This quarter, Apple released a new MacBook Pro; Google flaunted its new line of Pixel smartphones, and Microsoft announced a foldable phone with a physical keyboard. Still waiting for Levi’s to announce compatible 510’s.
Seven years ago I stood in a huge office park on the shores of San Francisco Bay, feeling alone despite the thirty other people who were with me holding signs, chanting, or at times blocking traffic. Fighting down my natural aversion to being on camera and swallowing my embarrassment at the sound of my own voice, I used a megaphone to tell Cargill and DMB Associates that their presence in my hometown was not welcome.
Every time I open my garbage to throw something away I hear a little voice in my head that whispers… waste. Can I reuse this Ziploc bag again? Is it worth trying to clean the raw chicken out of it? Are bottle caps recyclable? What do I do with the pizza box?!
To help cope with this eco-anxiety, I’ve started following Instagram accounts that highlight plastic-free living and ways to reduce waste in everyday life- content like upcycled reusable produce bags, plastic free toothbrushes, and bar shampoo.
The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle, a symbol of freedom and power that can invoke an unparalleled sense of pride in Americans. The bald eagle is a spiritual symbol and charismatic bird, yet it was once almost driven to extinction. Contributors to the bird’s decline included: loss of habitat due to development, illegal fatal shootings from farmers who believed that bald eagles were a threat to livestock, and post-WW2 use of the agricultural pesticide Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) which contaminated the eagle’s food source and affected the strength of its eggshells.
Thermos filled to the brim with steaming coffee, my mind buzzed with the day’s tasks of collecting people’s powerpoints, compiling presenter and panel bios, and attempting to orchestrate a smooth transition between presentations. This scramble of thoughts, as my heels relentlessly clambered up and down auditorium steps, was not how I initially envisioned the conference to be. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience that helped me grow, not just as a researcher, but as a member of society.Read more
In the spring during his interview class, professor Marc Miller would always stroll into the classroom, look you dead in the eye, and ask, “Are you excited for the summer?”
We were excited. We’d planned on doing thesis work, going hiking and diving, and doing all the things normal twenty-somethings in grad school would do. Then it all crumbled. And we weren’t excited anymore.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts is known for a lot of things; sandy beaches, overfilled lobster rolls, and countless Kennedy tragedies. However, over the last few years, this summer vacation destination has become known for something else: sharks. Although sharks are not unheard of in New England, the last time sharks became synonymous with Cape Cod was in the mid 1970s. With last year’s shark-related death and almost 300 Great Whites visiting each summer, the word “shark” is on everyone’s mind throughout the Cape.Read more
In 2014, 80 feet underwater in the Galápagos, surrounded by hammerhead sharks and black-striped salema, I experienced a moment of emotional clarity that sparked my desire to protect this planet. This underwater moment, with all its unimaginable curiosities and bursting biodiversity, affirmed my commitment to promoting marine conservation over my lifetime.
In the years since, I’ve wandered the world leading wilderness trips, writing stories for PBS NewsHour, substitute teaching, coaching tennis, working temp jobs, and fumbling through all the responsibilities and obstacles that come with being a twenty-something — the clarity of my life’s mission and my confidence that I could make a meaningful difference in the world becoming faded and fuzzed along the way.
For the first Currents blog post of the school year, Sallie Lau, the managing editor, interviews Brittany Hoedemaker, the editor-in-chief, about the importance of science communication, what makes good sci-comm, and what readers can expect out of Currents this year.
Who is Brittany?
I’m a second year SMEAgol and the editor-in-chief of Currents! Perhaps more importantly, I’m also a golden retriever enthusiast, a native Seattleite, and a shark lover.