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Posted on December 12, 2018 - 1:49pm, by abrown

By Lou Forristall

What do Orcas have to do with I-1631? Nothing, yet. That’s a problem. Photo Credit: Oregon State University

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.

Despite what has been characterized as 1631’s “resounding defeat,” there is reason for optimism regarding climate action in Washington after 1631. Yes, it lost by about 6 points.  But it performed well compared to its 2016 predecessor, I-732. 732 was a revenue neutral carbon tax that lost by almost 10 percent. That’s progress! Small progress, admittedly, but 1631 faced some major hurdles that 732 did not.

Read the full blog HERE

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Posted on December 12, 2018 - 1:44pm, by abrown

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. The usually sluggish sharks live along the ocean floor, rendering them out of sight and out of mind for most people despite their wide distribution. However, these sharks still find themselves listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to depletion from incidental bycatch and sport fishing.

Read the full blog HERE

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Posted on November 30, 2018 - 10:31am, by abrown

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. The increased funding, habitat protection, and policy support for these species due to their perception by the general public can lead to more conservation successes.

Read the full blog HERE

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Posted on June 6, 2018 - 1:28pm, by abrown

By Spencer Showalter

Mark your calendars for 2020—it could be the beginning of the largest dam removal project in American history. While dams in California have been used for generations to stabilize long-term water availability to settlers, their inherent role of restricting flow affects humans and ecosystems downstream. Because of these impacts, four dams in the Klamath River Basin are slated to be removed in a $450 million project that would re-open 500 miles of spawning grounds to coho and Chinook salmon. The gains from the removal could be huge. Reopening spawning grounds would help rebuild depleted salmon fisheries, and higher flow would mean cleaner water with fewer viral infections and toxic algae blooms. Because the future costs of upkeep of the dams represent a net loss to their owner, PacifiCorp, removal would be economically positive in a corporate sense. Additionally, the water and salmon fisheries were historically used by native tribes of the Klamath Basin, including the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, who stand to regain clean water and increased harvests if the dams are removed.

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Posted on June 6, 2018 - 1:27pm, by abrown

By Samantha Farquhar

Take a breath….and thank the trees.

Now take another breath…..but this time thank the ocean.

Yes, the ocean. It has been estimated that 50% of the global oxygen supply comes from the ocean.

How does the ocean do this? By providing a home to plant-like organisms called phytoplankton.

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Posted on May 28, 2018 - 2:58pm, by abrown

By Danielle Edelman

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting behind a table covered in bottles of sea water, pH-test kits, and posters with pictures of pitted and dissolving snail shells. I had a coffee in one hand and a bowl of steamed clams and mussels in the other. As I looked around at the booths next to mine, I spotted a family with two kids. I smiled and asked “would you like to do a science experiment?” The two kids glanced at my booth, then looked away and walked with their parents toward the ice cream stand.

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Posted on May 28, 2018 - 2:54pm, by abrown

By Katie Keil

On April 26, 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an application for a genetically engineered (GE) salmon facility in Indiana, paving the way for “frankenfish” to be commercially produced on US soil for the first time. These “frankenfish”, containing genetic information from three different species, were first demonstrated in 1989 but have had difficulty garnering consumer support.

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