Dec 7, 2020 /

Wellbeing at the Mountaintop

The trail winds around another switchback; your chest is burning and your legs are shaking. Your ankle is still throbbing from post-holing through remnants of late spring snow, and your hip belt has rubbed your skin raw. You fight back the urge to acknowledge that inner voice asking whether this is actually worth it. And then you reach the crest, overlooking craggy peaks that resemble cathedrals and alpine lakes colored hues of turquoise by glacial silt. 

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Nov 30, 2020 /

How the Demands of Black Lives Matter Extend to Climate Change

I am a habitual person; about four days a week this past summer, I biked south from my house in Wallingford to and around Mercer Island, traveling up and over Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. My route took me past the Seattle Police Department’s Capitol Hill precinct and through the former Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone that launched Seattle to national prominence as a center for change. 

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Nov 26, 2020 /

Ethnic Cleansing and Continued Indigenous Erasure within the National Park Service

Growing up I didn’t visit many of the U. S. National Parks, but I did look to them as paragons of the natural world. Watching the majestic Grand Tetons or towering redwoods flash across my television screen inspired awe and love for these places. I remember watching nature programs depicting fearsome brown bears feeding on bright red salmon in the pristine rivers of Alaska and packs of wolves and elk playing out the dramatic dance of life and death in Yellowstone. 

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Nov 23, 2020 /

There’s No Climate Justice without Gender Justice

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the link between racial and environmental injustice. But amidst efforts to address these issues, one crucial component often seems to get left by the wayside. What about gender justice? Women, particularly BIPOC women, are critical leaders at the forefront of environmental stewardship, but also one of the demographics most disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. 

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Nov 19, 2020 /

Brian Tracey on Changing the Paradigm for Young Minority Students

Brian Tracey is a SMEA alumnus who graduated last year. He is the program coordinator for Seattle MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), an organization that provides hands-on STEM education to underrepresented or economically disadvantaged K-12 students in the area.
Brian wrote his thesis on the experience of underrepresented minorities at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) and was the head of the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) committees of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and of the College of the Environment during his time at UW. 

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Nov 16, 2020 /

Water as Pedagogy: Six Weeks on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

After canoeing over 600 miles this summer, I could tell you about the visceral feelings that accompany being outside for forty days and nights in a row, or the adrenaline rushes inherent in a dynamic long-distance canoe trip. I could tell you about the jaw-dropping beauty, the moments of extreme tranquility, and the intimate and kindred encounters with moose, snapping turtles, and eagles. 

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Nov 12, 2020 /

Tori Tsui on Intersectional Environmentalism, Radical Self-care, and Supporting Authentic Spaces for BIPOC Activists

Tori Tsui (she/her/they) is a EurAsian intersectional climate activist who uses her social media platforms to advocate for climate change action, mental health stigmatization and care access, and racial justice. I first came across Tori on Instagram and was captivated by the breadth and honesty of her activism. With 24,000 Instagram followers, Tori’s activism is a great example of the power of new media as an advocacy platform. 

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Nov 9, 2020 /

Open Water: A Community, Gift, and Teacher

As I step outside into the 36°F weather, I am awkwardly half-running to limit the amount of time I spend exposed to the frigid air. I reach the end of the dock where the water is gently lapping back and forth. I slowly lower my body down a ladder, trying to steady my breath as I adjust to the cold limb by limb. 

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Nov 5, 2020 /

Annabel Gong on Sharks, Storytelling, and Science Communication

Annabel Gong is a behavioral ecologist studying sharks at the University of San Diego (USD) for their master’s degree. They are advised by Dr. Andrew Nosal, and one of the members of their thesis committee is Dr. Camrin Braun, a professor with the UW’s School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences. Recently, they began co-hosting a podcast created by Felix Berrios called the LGBTQ+ STEM Cast, which highlights LGBTQ+ voices in the sciences. 

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Nov 2, 2020 /

Mainstreaming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Our School

In three days, student volunteers from the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs will present faculty with a formal proposal to create a Departmental Diversity Committee, or DDC. The proposal describes the proposed committee’s structure and mission and includes a detailed action plan for the 2020-21 academic year. It is the result of an intense and sustained effort by students in SMEA’s Diversity Forum and a volunteer committee who worked throughout the summer doing the research needed to formulate their proposal. 

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Oct 26, 2020 /

“Is This Fish Farmed or Wild?” Learning and Communicating about Aquaculture

Aquaculture has exploded as an industry over the last couple of decades and is now the world’s fastest growing food industry. Farmed seafood comprises over 50% of seafood consumed by Americans, and that number is only expected to increase.
Consumption of farmed fish has the potential to be one of the most sustainable and healthy ways to feed the world’s growing population. 

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Oct 19, 2020 /

Science, Salmon, and Environmental Justice in Uncertain Times

I’m supposed to be writing about my summer adventure, but, this summer–this year–has been a bit of a disheartening adventure for many. While a novel coronavirus upended our everyday lives, scientists watched as their research was abruptly halted, postponed, or disrupted.
Fortunately, those of us involved in the Floating Wetlands capstone project at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs remained healthy and, though predominantly isolated, we were able to gather some data in the field under strict COVID-19 protocols. 

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Oct 12, 2020 /

Bridging Disciplines: How Two Friends Find Common Ground in Their Research

The School of Marine and Environmental Affairs hosts students from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds who have a shared interest in applying their work to the marine and environmental fields. Lindsey Popken studied anthropology and Abby Keller studied biology before coming to SMEA, so they’re from different parts of that disciplinary spectrum, but they still find commonalities in their goals and ways of thinking. 

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Oct 5, 2020 /

Welcome to Currents: Meet the Editors

Editor’s note: As the academic year starts, the new Currents executive board would like to introduce ourselves to you! The four of us have all put in time this past summer to create a feature series focusing almost exclusively on the work of BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ people in marine and environmental affairs. For our first piece of the fall quarter, we took turns interviewing each other so you can get to know us and read about what we’re hoping to accomplish through Currents. 

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Sep 28, 2020 /

Jessica Hum on Indigenous Story-telling, Decolonizing Media, and a Quest to Rectify Indigenous Traumas of the Past

Jessica Hum (She/Her/Hers) is a self-identified Indigenous-Chinese-Canadian person, who has created and published a podcast called, “Story-telling / Story-listening.” I was drawn to interviewing Jessica because of her quest to decolonize media and her dedication to elevating Indigneous voices on her podcast. This podcast is dedicated to employing traditional oral storytelling to prepare for climate change, as well as exploring and utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing and thinking about the world. 

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Sep 21, 2020 /

Fish Functional Morphologist, J.J. Lomax, on the Black Experience in Academia

Jeremy (J.J.) Lomax is a graduate student and functional morphologist at Brown University. As a “fish dentist,” he studies how different forms of feeding apparatuses in fishes produce different behaviors, informing the fundamental biomechanical principles behind carnivory and herbivory. This summer, J.J. gave a talk at Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL), where he detailed his research within the context of police murders of Black men and boys and his own interactions with the police. 

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Sep 14, 2020 /

Q&A with Roger Dunlop: A Conversation About Marine Affairs, Environmental Justice, and the Payoff of Persistence

For this interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Roger Dunlop, a biologist at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s fisheries department, called Uu-a-thłuk, which means “taking care of” in Nuu-chah-nulth. On Vancouver Island, there are fourteen individual Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) exists to support the Nuu-chah-nulth people and territories. Specifically, the Uu-a-thłuk Department provides support to “increase Nuu-chah-nulth access to, and management of, sea resources and build Nuu-chah-nulth capacity to find jobs and careers related to the ocean.”
 I first met Roger while co-developing my masters thesis with Uu-a-thłuk earlier this year. 

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Sep 10, 2020 /

Got Green Feature Series Part 2: Tanika Thompson Bird on Lifting Voices to Influence Policy

Seattle’s Got Green has its finger on the pulse of the South Seattle community, evolving to fit the moment and people of South Seattle. With three focal areas of Food Access, Young Leaders, and Climate Justice, this grassroots organization exemplifies meaningful community engagement and works to ensure that folks of color and low-income communities benefit from the environmental movement. This month, I sat down (virtually) with two members of Got Green’s board: Climate Justice Organizer, Nancy Huizar, and Food Access Organizer, Tanika Thompson Bird. 

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Sep 8, 2020 /

Got Green Feature Series Part 1: Nancy Huizar on Meaningful Community Engagement

Seattle’s Got Green has its finger on the pulse of the South Seattle community, evolving to fit the moment and people of South Seattle. With three focal areas of Food Access, Young Leaders, and Climate Justice, this grassroots organization exemplifies meaningful community engagement and works to ensure that folks of color and low-income communities benefit from the environmental movement. To highlight the work and people of Got Green in a two-part feature series, I sat down (virtually) with two members of Got Green’s board: Climate Justice Organizer, Nancy Huizar, and Food Access Organizer, Tanika Thompson Bird.

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Aug 31, 2020 /

William Walker on Reciprocity and the Intersectionality of Water

William is from Arizona and is a junior at Arizona State University, where he’s studying sustainability, urban planning, and French. I connected with William through Washington Sea Grant, where both he and I have worked.
William is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar, and his participation in the Doris Duke program is what led him to Sea Grant. It was after learning that he was studying the needs of urban populations and their use of the marine environment that I became interested in talking to him. 

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