Environment

Environment
10:44 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Blue Ribbon panel warns about dangers of ocean acidification

Declining PH levels in the world's oceans interferes with many species ability to form shells.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Carbon emissions are threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. That’s the concern of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which meets today in Seattle.

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Geological history
9:22 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Book: Missoula Floods shaped inland Northwest

Bruce Bjornstad, of Richland, near the Potholes Coulee near Quincy, Wash. Photo by Bruce Bjornstad

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 5:11 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new book details how a dramatic series of Ice Age Floods transformed the landscape of the inland Northwest.

The new book called, “On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches,” details what happened when floods whooshed into the Northwest and created the channeled scablands.

Bruce Bjornstad spent five years researching and writing his geologic guidebook. One fact in the book: It might have been as many as 1,000 floods that shaped the region, not just two or three big events.

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Environment
5:16 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Herbicide use on commercial timber lands questioned

Eron King of Blachly, Oregon says herbicide sprayed on forested ridge tops makes its way down to people and animals below.
Serene Fang Center for Investigative Reporting

Radio Transcript:

GELLERMAN: It's Living on Earth, I'm Bruce Gellerman. Oregon is timber country.
The terrain is steep, dark green, and intensely beautiful. Six million acres of Oregon forest is owned by commercial timber companies. The companies spray the land with herbicide when the trees are young. It’s an efficient way to kill every other plant except for the commercially valuable Douglas fir.

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Environment
11:56 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Study: Plastic in Pacific Ocean increased 100-fold in 40 years

An insect known as a "sea skater." Scientists say the abundance of floating plastic has led to an increase of these creatures.
Scripp Institution of Oceanography

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 11:31 am

The amount of plastic debris in the part of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has grown 100-fold in the past 40 years.

In a paper published today by the journal Biology Letters, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography report that most of that plastic has degraded into pieces no bigger than a fingernail. But that wasn't the major finding the scientists are reporting.

The scientists have found that all those pieces of plastic have provided ample opportunity for insects called "sea skaters" to breed.

The AP reports:

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Environment
4:56 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Personal care products, pharmaceutical toxics found in Columbia River

The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River near the west end of the Columbia River Gorge. Photo courtesy of USGS

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 6:21 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Giant smoke stacks and industrial dump sites are no longer the only water quality problem on the Columbia River. A recent study has found that our day-to-day life has a major impact as well.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at nine cities along the river, from Wenatchee to Longview, Wash. They detected hundreds of contaminants flowing from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff.

Hydrologist Jennifer Morace says the toxic contaminants included things like shampoo and pharmaceuticals.

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Environment
4:26 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Officials respond to oil spill on Elliott Bay in Seattle

Coast Guard and state officials are responding to an oil spill at the Bell Harbor Marina on Elliott Bay in Seattle.

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Movie Reviews
2:38 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

'Surviving Progress': Taking overdevelopment to task

The documentary Surviving Progress illustrates its arguments on the sustainability of human behavior in the context of environmental degradation with striking images of life in cities like Sao Paulo.
First Run Features

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:37 am

Not every human advance is a snare, according to Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress. But some new techniques can lead to something the Canadian author calls a "progress trap" — a development that's ultimately more harmful than helpful.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court: Idaho couple can take EPA to court

Chantell and Mike Sackett said the EPA violated their right to due process when it said they were building a house on a wetland and ordered them to restore the land.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

A north Idaho couple is still a long way from breaking ground. But Mike and Chantell Sackett have won the right to go to court over their property in Priest Lake, Idaho.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Sacketts can challenge a decision by federal regulators that their lot is in a protected wetland. The ruling was relatively narrow.

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Environmentally friendly
3:55 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Can a Seattle building save the world?

An artist rendering of the Bullitt Center currently under construction in Seattle.

Seattle’s greenest building – on paper, since it is still under construction – jumps back into the news with this headline from MSNBC:

Could this $30 million green tower be the future of world cities?

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Landscape art
9:44 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Seattle trees to be painted blue in enviro campaign

Image of a tree at an installation in Vancouver, B.C.
Konstantin Dimopoulos

A King County arts organization says 56 trees in Seattle and Kenmore will be painted blue starting April 2 in a temporary art project meant to make people aware of global deforestation.

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Environment
7:01 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Bellingham to buy land to preserve Lake Whatcom

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Bellingham City Council is on the verge of approving the purchase of a 47-acre tract of land along North Shore Road as part of the effort to preserve Lake Whatcom water quality.

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The Salt
12:53 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Sustainable sushi: See the video, but don't eat the eel

Odds are the local sushi joint's fish is less than sustainable.
Matteo De Stefano IStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 12:38 pm

Sushi seems like the perfect modern food: Light, healthful and available at seemingly every supermarket in the nation. But is it sustainable?

That's the question behind "The Story of Sushi," a new video that's been pulling a lot of clicks in the past week. Maybe that's because its adorable format, with tiny, handcrafted figures used to tell the tale, stands in stark contrast to its depressing message: Most of the sushi we snarf up is harvested using unsustainable methods.

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Environment
11:31 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Environmentalists push climate change suits on behalf of kids

Nelson Kanuk, a 16 year old from Kipnuk, Alaska, has a lawsuit against the state of Alaska that aims to force the state to reduce carbon emissions.
Courtesy of OurChildrensTrust.org

EUGENE, Ore. – Environmental lawyers are trying a new legal tactic, hoping to force the government to take more aggressive steps against global warming. They’re bringing lawsuits on behalf of kids – including young plaintiffs in the Northwest . The cases use a legal theory put forth by a University of Oregon professor.

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The Salt
7:56 am
Sun February 12, 2012

Battling the bottle: Students and industry face off over water

Humbolt State University

Originally published on Sun February 12, 2012 3:55 am

Bottled water is trickling away from college campuses nationwide, thanks to the efforts of student activists and the non-profit groups that support them with campaigns like Ban the Bottle.

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Environment
11:41 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Ribbon seal far from Arctic home in good shape

In this photo provided by NOAA, a ribbon seal is seen Friday, Jan. 20 on a dock in Marysville, Wash. The ribbon seal is commonly found in the frigid waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia, but has recently been spotted in the Seattle area.
The Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. — An Arctic ribbon seal rarely seen in Puget Sound has had its southerly sojourn interrupted for a medical checkup that shows the male is in good health.

Marine mammal experts from NOAA fisheries in Seattle threw a net over the white-striped seal on an Everett dock Tuesday and held him for a 20-minute examination.

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