Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017: Hard Rains, Polluted Run-off, and Salmon

For over a century, cities have been developed in ways that interrupt the natural water cycle. Hard surfaces prevent rain from soaking naturally into the soil. Instead stormwater floods through streets, carrying pollution directly to local waterways. For some species of salmon, stormwater can be lethal. Others can handle it, but only briefly or at certain stages of their life. In this feature Martha Baskin checks out an urban creek on a stormy day when salmon had returned to spawn.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017: Restoring Urban Forests with a Little Help from Humanity

Without intervention, forested parks in Seattle are at risk of losing 70% of tree cover in just 20 years. It's a problem many cities face, with invasive plants taking over and holding down natural growth. A unique government, non-profit, and volunteer partnership is turning things around. Martha Baskin joined a restoration project in south Seattle and has the story.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017: Does natural gas have a role in a clean energy future?

Does natural gas have a role in the region's clean energy future? It depends on who you ask. The NW Energy Coalition recently brought policy makers, environmental advocates, utilities and businesses to the table for a Clean and Affordable Energy Conference to explore the issue. With climate goals at risk, it's a high stakes question. Martha Baskin brings us this report.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017: Bridging the Gap Between Kids and Farms

It's not often that school-age children get to experience the bounty of food grown on farms in Seattle's fertile neighboring valleys. "Farm to table" is best known as a culinary experience at high end restaurants. One after-school and pre-school care program is turning that around. Not only are they sourcing locally grown food with the help of a start-up to "bridge the gap between fields and kitchens," they're working to make sure staff know how to cook with the valleys unique ripe and ready produce. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5, 2017: Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life - Interview with David Montgomery

From the Romans through the US Dust Bowl to today's conventional industrial agriculture, great societies that abused their land risked famine and often downfall. In his most recent book, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Health, David Montgomery, a MacArthur Fellow and geomorphology professor at the University of Washington, offers an optimistic look at how regenerative farming can revive the world's soil, increase food production, boost cost effectiveness,and slow climate change.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

August 29, 2017: Can the Public Push Puget Sound Energy toward a 100% Clean Energy Diet?

At a packed public hearing, majority testimony urged the state's largest private utility, Puget Sound Energy, to shed all fossil fuels – 60% of its energy comes from coal and gas – and adopt a clean energy diet. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission will decide whether the utility can increase rates by year's end, but the most contentious issue is what energy mix PSE will use now and into the future. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

August 24, 2017: Food in Motion: Rescuing Food - A Moral Win and a Climate Win for the Planet

It's no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted every year – at restaurants and markets, in storage, in fields and during transport in industrialized and developed countries alike. Food waste that ends up in the landfill releases methane, a greenhouse gas that's 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. A non-profit in Seattle is doing its part to rescue food for those living on the streets. Last year they rescued over 900,000 pounds of food alone – a moral win and a climate win for the planet. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27, 2017: The Energy Bill No One is Talking About

Packaged in 890 pages of legislation, its little wonder that the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 has received little attention. But if you care about how your energy is served, water and land conservation, oil and gas pipelines, and their carbon counterpart, renewables, you may want to take notice. The bill was co-authored by Senators Maria Cantwell and Lisa Murkowski earlier this month and fast-tracked through committee by Mitch McConnell. Martha Baskin has more.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017: Sierra Club Challenges Washington's Green Governor on Plans to Build Fracked-Gas-to-Methanol Refinery

Ever since the plan to build what would become the world's largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River was proposed, environmentalists and Governor Jay Inslee have been on opposite sides. For Inslee, considered one of the nation's greenest governors, the proposal by a subsidiary of the Chinese government is a "low-carbon energy" project that will stimulate trade. For the Sierra Club, 350 Seattle and others, a fossil fuel project that will release methane, a powerful warming gas, is one they say neither the state nor the planet can afford. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017: Canadian Trail Looks to Minimize Vessel Underwater Noise for Endangered Southern Resident Orcas

The region's endangered southern resident orcas face a triple threat – the lack of sufficient Chinook salmon, contamination and underwater noise from vessels. While orca and chinook numbers continue to plummet, the Port of Vancouver will conduct a unique vessel experiment this summer. They're asking ships to slow down their speed by half. Orca researchers and the Port of Seattle are taking notice. Martha Baskin has our story.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 20, 2017: “Trump-Proof Seattle" Campaign Devises Plan to Protect At-Risk Communities and Programs

With proposed federal cuts to everything from housing and mass transit to job training and environmental restoration, the Trump-Proof Seattle campaign wasted no time in proposing an alternative source of revenue to protect programs at risk. They hosted town hall forums in every city council district to get buy-in from council members. Their plan was to impose an income tax on high net worth individuals in Seattle. This summer, the city council is expected to pass an ordinance that could raise as much as $125 million annually which fewer than 5% of households would pay. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017: Climate Activists in PNW Fight Construction of World's Largest Methanol Refinery

Climate activists have held the line against Shell's Arctic drilling plans, shut down tar sands valves at refineries, and waged wave after wave of actions against new fossil fuel proposals for coal export terminals and oil-by-rail refineries in the Pacific Northwest. Late last year, Portland moved to the forefront of opposition to coal, oil, and gas exports when its city council voted unanimously to prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city. But opposing a proposal to build the world's largest gas-to-methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State may be the most challenging fossil fuel fight that activists have waged to date. Martha Baskin has our story.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017: Springer, an Orca Success Story

The rescue of an orphaned orca was the first time a baby orca had been returned to its family in the wild. Nicknamed Springer, the orca's rescue from Puget Sound to her family off northern Vancouver Island, became an overnight success story. 15 years later it remains a good news story for a whale species that's endangered in the US and threatened in Canada. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017: Bird Sanctuaries: A Native Answer to an Ecosystem Under Threat

As birds face threats to their survival, creating native landscapes gives them a leg up in a sometimes hostile world. Native plants are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. Without them and the insects that co-evolved with them, local birds can't survive. Martha Baskin brings us this ambient rich story featuring junkos, flickers, yellow throated warblers and rufous hummingbirds.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 20, 2017: Immigrant Community Designs "Green Walls" to Clean the Air - the Only Walls They Favor

Hear the phrase "green walls" and you might think the southern border wall proposed by the Trump administration is taking on an eco-friendly theme. But the green walls going up in Seattle's South Park are designed to clean the air and reduce air pollution. And many members of the immigrant community are putting them up themselves. Martha Baskin has our story.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017: Restoration of Estuaries and Nearshore Waters in Crosshairs of Proposed Federal Budget Cuts to the EPA

Deep cuts to the EPA and restoration funding in Trump's proposed federal budget have those tasked with maintaining water quality and protecting endangered species on high alert. Puget Sound waters near Seattle are no exception. Puget Sound is one of 28 estuaries of national significance designated by the National Estuary Program. In this feature we take a boat tour on the city's nearshore waters with the Puget Soundkeeper, a member of the nationwide “waterkeeper alliance”. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21, 2017: Wild Salmon Allies: Tribes and Others Resist FDA's Approval of GE Salmon

Wild salmon, an ecological keystone species in the Northwest, have played a central role in tribal life for generations. The quiet approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration doesn't sit well with tribes and fishing communities across the nation, who are rallying behind a lawsuit against the FDA which is making its way through the courts. In the Pacific Northwest, Coast Salish tribes and community allies held a wild-salmon cook out to bring attention to the issue, which they say is about food sovereignty and honoring of treaty rights. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7, 2017: Mooo! 284 Acres of Prime Organic Farmland Saved From Development

Organic farm and pasture land is as scarce as hens' teeth in some parts of the country. In Washington state it's no different, which is why a recent purchase of 284 acres of prime organic farmland was cause for celebration. Not just by the land trust that bought it and saved it from conversion into 59 estate homes, but by an organic dairy who's now on the high road to expansion. From the foothills of Mt. Rainier in Pierce County, Washington, Martha Baskin brings us the story.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February 3, 2017: Climate Justice On Trial: WA State Jury Refuses to Convict First “Valve-Turner” in Four State Tar Sands Pipeline Action

In a surprise victory, a Washington state jury has refused to convict Ken Ward, the first of five "valve turners" who shut off tar sands pipelines from Canada to Washington in October of last year. Ken Ward, who turned off an emergency block valve on Kinder Morgans Trans-Mountain Pipeline, was charged with two felony counts. After more than five hours of deliberation, Ward's three day trial ended in a hung jury, with at least one juror refusing to convict. Martha Baskin has the story.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 26, 2017: Owls: The Otherworldly Creatures Whose Habitat Relies on the Department of Interior

The 116th Congress has its hands full vetting cabinet nominations. Many are controversial, but one that's flying under the radar is the nominee for Interior Secretary who manages over 200 million acres of land – land that wildlife and ecosystems rely on. Trump's choice is Ryan Zinke, a freshman Republican Congressman from Montana. In this news feature Martha Baskin looks at the issue from the point of view of owls, including the great-horned owl and western screech owl.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

January 13, 2017: Tribal and Non-Native Water Protectors Challenge Wells Fargo to Divest from Dakota Access Pipeline

Since the fossil fuel divestment campaign began on university campuses in 2011 institutions worth $2.6 trillion have pulled their investments in coal, oil, and natural gas. The movement to demand financial institutions divest from the Dakota Access pipeline, which began late last year, is still in the early stages. 17 banks, including Wells Fargo, SunTrust and Citibank,are backing the pipeline. A recent protest in Seattle, lead by native leaders and water protector allies targeting Wells Fargo, shows the movement gaining momentum. Wells Fargo has close to $500 million invested in the pipeline.

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