Apr 18, 2019 /

Environmental Legal Frameworks: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

According to the United States current president, air and water are at a “record clean.” I’m not entirely sure what records he’s referring to, but he isn’t wrong that air and water have gotten cleaner in his lifetime, thanks to environmental laws. Modern environmental law is entering its fifth decade, and is to thank for providing the nation with clean air and water and stopping species from going extinct. 

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Apr 15, 2019 /

Shifting Baselines in the Anthropocene

By Angela Cruz
Species loss, arctic ice loss, sea level rise: measuring any difference over time requires a starting point for reference. This reference point is typically referred to as a baseline. Baseline data measure things such as the population size of a fishery, sea level, or average size of harvested fish, at a specific moment in time. Using a baseline from a certain year affects how we perceive–or fail to perceive–change in real time and in our everyday lives. 

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Apr 11, 2019 /

The Evolution of Environmental Movements: Responding to Impending Threats

By Karin Otsuka
The early emergence of environmentalism in the United States was spurred by varying perceptions of conservation and preservation, such as maintaining wilderness for leisurely activities, sustaining natural resources for future generations, or preserving a pristine environment free of human presence. However, from the 1960s, increasing levels of pollution and cases of social issues associated with environmental degradation gave rise to the modern conservation movement. 

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Apr 8, 2019 /

Companies with a conscience – the rise of social enterprise

By Jessica Knoth
I smiled as I clicked the checkout button and got the notification that my bracelet would be arriving soon. It was a simple design of braided coral-colored threads woven through clear plastic beads and neatly tied. I liked the look of it but I had not spent $20 + shipping of my grad student budget on a bracelet for no reason – this one was special. 

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Apr 4, 2019 /

The long and winding road: charting the course of American conservation

Every Thursday through April and May, Currents is covering the past, present, and future of the conservation movement in the U.S. and beyond. This is the first article in the series, so stay tuned in the coming weeks for more!
By Dave Berndtson
For many, the birth of the movement to protect or sustainably interact with the natural world in the United States evokes images of leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir taking in the beauty of Yosemite from a mountaintop, or reflection of the exaltation of nature and simple living in Henry David Thoreau’s transcendentalist writings in Walden. 

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Apr 1, 2019 /

Ice, Ice… Maybe?

Stop collaborate and listen, sea-ice loss is real, it’s not an invention
By Samantha Farquhar and Katy Dalton
By as early as 2040, we may experience an ice-free Arctic summer. This news shook the scientific community, as the rate of ice loss was far worse than previously projected.
Why is this a big deal? Sea ice is the foundation of the entire Arctic ecosystem; understanding and conserving the Arctic and the animals and people it supports requires understanding sea ice. 

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Mar 25, 2019 /

Whale, Whale, Whale, What Have We Here?

By Priscilla Rivas
Orcas are some of the most recognizable marine creatures, and people who live in the Puget Sound region are often lucky enough to catch glimpses of them in the wild. Orcas are such an important part of Pacific Northwest culture that Governor Inslee has made a commitment to fund recovery efforts for the Southern Resident population. Southern Resident orcas are just one of the many different ecotypes of killer whales. 

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Mar 18, 2019 /

The Dirty Truth About Clean Beauty

By Brittany Hoedemaker
We talk all the time about what we put into our bodies, but it always astounds me how little time we spend talking about what we put on our bodies. Given that our skin is our largest organ, you would think we’d give it a little more airtime.
Unlike the food we eat, the products we use on our skin are wildly under-regulated. 

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Mar 11, 2019 /

It’s not all via-doom and gloom: things are looking up for Seattle’s waterfront

By Katy Dalton
The Alaskan Way Viaduct is no more. The last car passed through on the evening of Friday, January 11th, 2019 leaving the downtown Seattle waterfront eerily quiet. The silence didn’t last long, as the demolition crew began tearing the structure down, a process that will take until June to complete. The long-term tradeoff, however, promises to be worth it. 

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Mar 4, 2019 /

Alaska’s CDQ Program

By Ian Stanfield
Here are some words that you’ve probably heard: economic opportunity. The ability to take part in the global market is considered a benefit. We want job growth, we want opportunities to make money and better our living conditions. In this day and age, money makes the world go ‘round. So, what do you do if you’re locked out of the economic opportunities that most of us take for granted? 

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Feb 28, 2019 /

Women in STEM Part 4: Celebrating the In(di)visible Women of Climate Change

By Alex Stote and Zoë van Duivenbode
Google “Women and Climate Change” and what do you get? Mostly a slew of reports describing how women will be disproportionately affected by climate change because, among various other reasons, they are more likely to live below the poverty line than men, and they have far fewer  economic, political, and legal resources available to aid them in adaptation. 

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Feb 25, 2019 /

Whale Meat is Back on the Menu—But What Does That Mean?

By TJ Kennedy
Back in December, Japan decided to resume commercial whaling. It was an extremely controversial decision, at least in terms of environmental protection and conservation. The International Whaling Commission (IWC), of which Japan was a member, has banned commercial whaling since 1986. But Japan has also withdrawn from the IWC, and is thus no longer bound by their requirements, at least when operating in Japanese waters. 

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Feb 22, 2019 /

Women in Stem Part 3: Women for the Environment! American Women in the Fight for Conservation

By Spencer Showalter
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making headlines with her rollout of the proposed Green New Deal there’s a record number of female candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 addressing climate, and the Pentagon has announced that climate change is a national security issue. The convergence of these themes in the national dialogue is reflective not only of the progression of politics, but also of the history of our country: women have been strong voices for conservationism and environmental justice long before they could vote, never mind hold national public office. 

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Feb 18, 2019 /

Presidents and Protected Land: They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

By Lou Forristall
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you will spend part of this Presidents’ Day weekend enjoying our public lands. If you did not get out this weekend, you were probably making fresh tracks recently, or will be hitting the trails once the snow melts. If any of that applies to you, I am also going to assume that I don’t need to convince you of the importance and benefits of protecting public lands. 

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Feb 14, 2019 /

Women in Stem Part 2: Bringing Visibility to Women in Fisheries

By Angela Cruz
When you hear “fisherman,” what do you picture? I would expect you see an image of a burly man in a yellow raincoat, struggling on a hazardous sea. Men have been the face of the marine resource industry and discourse for decades, with the assumption that it is a strictly male sphere. Previously, reports stated that the global fishing industry was overwhelmingly dominated by men. 

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Feb 11, 2019 /

Weather, Climate, and Global Warming: Does Terminology Really Matter?

By Brittany Hoedemaker
Wildfire ash raining down from the sky. Bats falling out of trees. Hair-freezing temperatures. No, these aren’t just scenes from my nightmares. They’re real events being seen around the globe, with climate change projected to unleash even more frequent and more intense extreme weather events. But what’s the difference between weather and climate change, anyway?
Here’s the deal: weather is the atmospheric conditions at a moment in time, while climate is the atmospheric conditions averaged over a long period of time (usually over 30 years). 

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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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