May 8, 2017 /

Against the Current in a Plastic Society

By Katie Keil
I watched the video, dumbfounded, as the marine biologist continued to pull the seemingly never-ending straw out of the sea turtle’s nose. Anyone who has seen this (or the multitude of similar videos on the Internet) can attest to the cringe-worthiness of plastic pollution in our oceans. Over 267 marine species are impacted by oceanic plastic pollution through ingestion, strangulation, entanglement, and poisoning by toxic chemicals, leading to over 100,000 animal deaths each year. 

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May 3, 2017 /

Earth Day’s Birthday

By Mackenzie Nelson
Each year, Earth Day comes and goes like any other day for me. The only difference being the ubiquitous presence of eco-friendly advertisements and related pro-Earth conservation propaganda that inundate my social media channels. My lack of celebration does not stem from an apathetic view of Earth Day festivities. Rather, I like to think I celebrate the values expressed during Earth Day everyday through using reusable shopping bags, opting to walk or take public transportation to reach my destinations, buying locally grown produce, and caring for the one plant I have managed to keep alive—albeit minus the obvious displays of love I have for my home planet. 

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Apr 18, 2017 /

A National Park Attitude Adjustment

By Alex Gustafson
Mt. Rainier National Park single vehicle fee: $25.00
Standard day pack starting price: $40.00
Granola Bar: $1.25-$3.50
Preserving the fate of the National Parks: A new persona
The natural spaces throughout our nation are landmarks of pride, beauty and are often emotionally stimulating in many individualized ways. John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt and William Clark are a few who found inspiration and delight exploring in solitude among the beauty of the outdoors for long stretches of time. 

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Apr 12, 2017 /

Where is the Dead Sea going?

By Grace Ferrara
If you’re like me, the words “Dead Sea” might conjure up images of a vast ocean filled with sea monsters and other eerie perils. You might picture heroic Roman warriors venturing across it to find new lands filled with treasures, but failing time and again, their barren skeletons the only things left behind to mark their fate. But the Dead Sea isn’t even a sea at all…it’s actually a really big, salty lake at the end of the Jordan River, wedged between Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. 

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Apr 3, 2017 /

How to communicate: A roadmap for environmental scientists

By Mackenzie Nelson
Draw a mental image of a map of the United States. Make it as detailed as possible.
Now consider your map. What does it look like? What are your landmarks? Notice the areas that are more complete—probably places you have lived or spent a lot of time in—and other areas that are less detailed—cities and states you have never been to before or seen pictures of. 

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Mar 13, 2017 /

Why a Near-Threatened Status has the Pallas’s Cat Royally Grumpy

By Kaitlin Lebon
High in the mountains of central Asia, the Pallas’s cat lurks under rocky cover, evading predators. The Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), also known as the manul, is a small, fluffy wildcat with a tendency to scowl. I found it a crime that so few people knew about the hours of hilarity these critters could bring with a simple Google or YouTube search. 

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Mar 7, 2017 /

Isn’t that just volunteer work?

By Alex Gustafson
Picture this. You are walking along one of the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. The sand is damp and there’s a drizzle falling. Waves break and the tang of salt water washes through your nostrils. You aren’t alone, you are with others walking just as mindfully as you. You are tracking, recording, and collecting data for the rigorous and respected COASST survey that uses the skills and expertise of coastal citizens to monitor beachcast birds, marine debris and other evidence of human influence. 

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Feb 27, 2017 /

Unsuspecting polluters: Why you may want to rethink the clothes you wear and how you care for them

By Mackenzie Nelson
Imagine you are in a mall surrounded by an endless selection of clothing options. This is a realistic scenario. How do you choose what to spend your money on? Do you consider trends, comfort, looks, price, or brand? Most people factor in all of these things. Our clothing contributes to our identities and represents our values.
So, when you are picking out your future clothes, do you think about the environmental footprint of what you choose to wear? 

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Feb 23, 2017 /

“You Speak What?” Why I am Learning Tagalog in Graduate School and How it Helps the World

By Hannah Bassett
I primarily study fisheries, but over the summer I spent 4-6 hours a day, five days a week in Tagalog class with two teachers and my seven classmates. Followed by another 2-3 hours studying Tagalog on my own. For two months.
Oh, sorry, “What is Tagalog?” you ask. Tagalog is the language on which most of the national language of the Philippines, Filipino, is based. 

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Feb 15, 2017 /

A Stinking Whale of a Problem

By Allison Brown
A couple of years ago I stumbled across a video on the internet so funny I was amazed that it did not feature a single cat. The video depicted a somewhat gruesome event, however the narrator’s pronunciation of the word “whale” and the sheer ridiculousness of the situation serve to induce hilarity. The video is a clip of a news report that took place on November 12th, 1970 and shows Paul Linnman reporting on KATU News about a beached whale on the Oregon coast and the ensuing disaster. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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