Feb 7, 2019 /

Women In STEM Part 1: Starting the Conversation

By Kelly Martin
A little over a year ago, I went to a job interview that I was confident I was qualified for: my resume matched up almost perfectly with the “desired qualifications” listed in the job posting. However, right before I walked in to the interview, I had a moment of self-doubt and quickly pulled my long, blonde hair back into low bun. 

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Feb 4, 2019 /

Why is it so tough to cut meat?

By Tressa Arbow
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in late 2018, the message was clear that we need urgent changes to whole societal systems if we hope to avoid potentially irreversible warming. Scientists and decision-makers are working against the clock to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) with initiatives that range from restoring mangroves to decarbonizing transportation. 

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Jan 28, 2019 /

Our Future IsLand

By Sallie Lau
If someone asked you to draw the ocean, what would you draw?
“Probably a horizontal line,” says Valerie Portefaix, an artist who looks at physical and imaginary territories and how humans subvert and appropriate them. “I don’t think people see the ocean as a 3D space. They just see it as a 2D blue surface that creates distance.”
In our conversation, Portefaix mentions distance to explain how people think of the ocean as a spatial barrier between a point A and some point B. 

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Jan 21, 2019 /

The Ability for Sustainability

by Celeste Barnes-Crouse
Allow me to preface this article with this: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of promoting the “sustainable lifestyle” (refusing single-use plastics, buying organic foods, driving less often, etc.) as trendy and achievable. While this comes from a genuine desire to make better choices for the planet, it is flawed. Writing this piece is a way to acknowledge my privilege to engage in sustainable living and discuss where the movement could improve. 

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Jan 14, 2019 /

Generating hope: Washington State Ferries plans to decarbonize their fleet by switching to electric power

By Alexandra Stote
Of all major takeaways from December’s COP24 climate summit, two messages rang loud and clear: our world leaders are not doing enough to slow climate change, and nations are not meeting the carbon emissions targets they pledged to reach under the Paris Climate Agreement. As the window to avoid devastating, irreversible climate damages narrows with each passing day, young and old voices alike called on prominent political figures to act in the interest of the planet’s people and its future generations to avoid a runaway climate disaster. 

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Jan 7, 2019 /

Coastal Resilience Spotlight: Getting Ready for Rising Water with Westport

By Charlotte Dohrn
Perched at the end of a narrow, low-lying peninsula on the Washington coast, the city of Westport is no stranger to exposure. The sleepy fishing town gets about twice as much rain as Seattle, and in the winter it’s often pummeled by fierce gales, king tides, and swells that easily exceed 10 feet.
These routine coastal hazards pale in comparison to what Westport could experience when the next “big one” hits. 

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Dec 17, 2018 /

From Fishing Net to Fork – A Glance at Seafood Sustainability

By Henry Bell
Do you know where your favorite seafood comes from? I grew up in Minnesota, and aside from the occasional walleye or perch that came from a nearby lake, I certainly didn’t. Perhaps the grocery store label would tell me if my fish was farmed or wild-caught, but what about the fishery it came from? How about where it was processed or who imported it? 

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Dec 10, 2018 /

Has the Puget Sound Lost its Green-Eyed Sharks?

By Brittany Hoedemaker
As Washington—and the rest of the world—buzzes about the declining Southern Resident Killer Whale population, I find myself thinking ever more about another predator in our waters: the sixgill shark.
The bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus), with its fluorescent green eyes and six (as opposed to the common five) gills can be found in temperate and tropical waters globally. 

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Dec 4, 2018 /

I-1631 Failed. What’s Next?

By Lou Forristall
I-1631, the second attempt to put a price on carbon emissions in Washington state via ballot initiative, was rejected by voters this November. 1631 sought to place a fee on carbon emissions and use the revenue to fund programs and projects related to the environment. The oil and gas industry spent $31 million to defeat it, annihilating the record in Washington for spending on a ballot initiative. 

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Nov 30, 2018 /

Nature’s beauty pageants mean life or death when it comes to conservation

By Jessica Knoth
Tigers, elephants, gorillas, dolphins, sharks…you can picture each one, right? That’s because they are charismatic megafauna, or, in other words, species that are compelling because they are viewed as beautiful, impressive, or cute. Ironically, many of these species also happen to be endangered. A 2001 study by Anna Gunnthorsdottir found that there are stronger efforts to conserve some endangered species over others, simply because the animal is perceived to be physically attractive. 

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Nov 29, 2018 /

#NOPLASTICNOVEMBER – Lonely Whale: an impactful organization working to address plastic pollution

By Elise Lasky
In honor of the culmination of #NoPlasticNovember, I am highlighting Lonely Whale, an organization that has been contributing to the movement against single use plastics since 2017. Lonely Whale not only created the local Strawless in Seattle campaign but has also created and continues to create change on a national and global scale.
Each minute a garbage truck worth of plastic is dumped into the oceans, adding up to 8-12 million metric tons of plastic each year. 

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Nov 22, 2018 /

#NOPLASTICNOVEMBER – Easy Steps Toward Reducing Single-Use Plastics in the Kitchen

By Angela Cruz
Plastic has infiltrated our lives. Looking around any room in a home, you’ll likely see a large number of plastic items. It’s possible the most single-use plastics you own are in your kitchen. And it makes sense! Plastic is highly durable and, in many cases, makes life more convenient, especially when packaging food products. But plastic’s durability has also made it a problem. 

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Nov 19, 2018 /

The Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force : Are the recommendations enough?

By Marlena Skrobe
There are only 74 endangered southern resident killer whales left – a 35 year low – and the population has not had a successful birth since 2015. As their numbers dwindle, we find ourselves asking: Is this what extinction looks like? Or will we take bold and immediate actions to help save iconic creatures that we have struck with our vessels, poisoned with PCBs, starved by constructing dams and altering their habitat, and even captured for our entertainment? 

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Nov 15, 2018 /

#NOPLASTICNOVEMBER – Pack it Out or Stay Home: What You Can Do to Refuse Single-Use Plastics

By Karin Otsuka
Going out to eat? You might be thinking about which restaurant you’d want to go to, what kind of food you’d like to eat, or whether you’d want to take out or dine in. The occasion may be casual, formal, or celebratory. Regardless of the affair, let’s take a moment to take the next step in considering the amount of waste generated on a day of eating out. 

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Nov 13, 2018 /

Reimagining how we talk about climate change

By Zoe van Duivenbode
“If we take care of the most vulnerable, then we take care of everyone,” Dr Jalonne White-Newsome kicked off the 2018 Northwest Climate Conference with this powerful message, suggesting that climate change has transitioned from an environmental problem to a social justice and equity problem. Each year, the Northwest Climate Conference gathers people working on climate change from various fields to learn about the latest science, share information, exchange ideas and encourage collaboration across sectors and the region. 

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Nov 8, 2018 /

#NOPLASTICNOVEMBER – Tackling takeout: addressing the problem with plastic containers and packages

By Dave Berndtson
Most of us are aware that the plastic takeout containers we pick up at our favorite restaurants across the nation, use once, and then throw away are destined for landfills – but what happens from there? Turns out they could end up as geological indicators of humanity’s existence in the distant future. Seriously. Your take-out taco container or coffee cup could one day mark the geological eyeblink of modern human history, similar to how the striking stratifications seen in the rock formations of Badlands National Park inform us of eras come and gone. 

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Nov 5, 2018 /

Are FADs Bad?

By Samantha Farquhar and Guillermo Gomez (SMEA Alum, 1982)
Tuna is the world’s most lucrative fishery, accounting for $42.2B in revenue in 2016. As the demand for tuna has increased, so has the innovation in catching. Now more than ever, members of the tuna industry are using Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to attract and capture tuna.
FADs are man-made structures that are set adrift or anchored in the otherwise open sea. 

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Nov 1, 2018 /

#NoPlasticNovember – What are you using?

By Spencer Showalter
In recent years, the public has become more and more aware of the negative consequences of high plastic consumption. Crucially, some cities and companies are taking steps towards slowing the use of plastics. For example, Seattle decided to ban plastic straws and utensils for businesses selling food or drinks, Alaska Airlines stopped using plastic straws this summer, and Starbucks is working on a phase-out of plastic straws. 

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Oct 29, 2018 /


By Ashley Bagley
My summer went swimmingly – in more ways than one! That’s because I spent most of my summer interning with King County on a salmon habitat restoration project along the Green River AND snorkeling the Stillaguamish River for my thesis research. One might say I really bring out the “E” in SMEA because I’m one of the few SMEA students who study stream and salmon ecology. 

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Oct 22, 2018 /

SMEA Summer: Who’s buying salmon on the South Line?

By Cori Currier and Emilie Franke
“Now’s a good time! Throw me your duffel,” the crew shouted as the two salmon tender boats pulled alongside one another. It was around 1 AM, and the Alaskan sun had just set over the low-lying green hills on the west side of Nushagak Bay. The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon summer was in full swing, and it was time to make the jump from the rail of one familiar tender to a new and unknown tender. 

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