environment

A souped-up paddle board, custom rowing craft and high performance, carbon fiber sailboats are just some of the eye-catching entries in the inaugural Race to Alaska.

Student Lorena Guillen shows her support for the UW Board of Regents, which on Thursday voted to purge the UW's endowment fund of investments in "thermal coal," a type of coal used in power plants that's associated with higher pollution levels.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The University of Washington’s Board of Regents voted Thursday night to sell off its investments in thermal coal -- the kind of coal used to generate power.

It’s only the fourth time the university has “divested” its endowment – the other issues were South Africa, tobacco and Sudan.

Dawn Woitt-Campbell sits on the front porch of her house in Longview, Washington.

“We’re looking at a green pan that we have boiled water in twelve different times,” she said.

The pot is caked with a hard, white chalky material.

“We do one gallon of water, boil it down to nothing. Then we’d put another one in and boil it down to nothing," she said. "I did it kind of as a project.”

Flickr Photo/Seattle.roamer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Mycologist Paul Stamets calls fungi “the soil magicians of nature.” He says they were the first organisms to come to land 1.3 billion years ago.

Stamets has spent his career searching for ways to learn from nature’s secrets to heal humans and the planet. One focus of his research is Northwest mycelium. 

Foss Maritime tugs pull the Polar Pioneer past downtown Seattle on the way to Terminal 5 on Thursday, May 14, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Environmental activists in kayaks paddled into the middle of Seattle's Elliott Bay  on Thursday afternoon to meet -- or, as they say, "un-welcome" -- a huge Shell oil rig.

The arrival of the Polar Pioneer could raise the stakes in the battle over Shell's oil exploration plans in the remote Arctic Ocean.  

Federal courts may force the U.S. Department of Energy to adhere to new timelines to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state.

Student activists Angela Feng, Sarra Tekola and Alex Lenferna of Divest UW appear before the UW Board of Regents on March 12, 2015 to urge the university to get rid of its coal investments.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

David Hyde speaks with Vox.com writer David Roberts who says student activists at the UW and elsewhere are changing the debate about climate change by making it a moral issue.

Kayakers protesting the arrival of Shell's Polar Pioneer rig in Port Angeles in April
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle Port Commission has voted to delay the arrival of Arctic drill rigs on the Seattle waterfront, but Shell Oil’s contractor is vowing to bring them here anyway.

The Roza Irrigation District in Eastern Washington’s Yakima Valley is shutting off the water for two weeks because of drought. About a billion dollars in crops are on the line.

Jim Willard, Juan Manel and Leobardo Magana worked to adjust irrigation systems for the short water year on a farm outside of Prosser, Wash.
KUOW PHOTO/ANNA KING

Bill Radke talks with reporter Anna King of the Northwest News Network about how farmers in Central Washington are struggling to save water during an extended drought.

The lion's mane jelly taken by KUOW reporter and diver Ann Dornfeld in 2010.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Little fish are disappearing from much of Puget Sound, according to a new study.

These are the fish that orcas and salmon depend on, and they’re being replaced by ballooning populations of jellyfish, which most fish and seabirds don't eat.

 A couple of unseasonably large wildfires in the Northwest are giving crews an early taste of fire season.

Water managers had hoped late snows or heavy spring rains would help fill reservoirs and streams after a largely snow-free winter in the Northwest.

But that’s not how things turned out. New data shows precipitation levels in the Northwest were 40 percent below normal last month, with snowpack pretty much disappeared.

Of the 98 sites in Washington monitored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, 66 are now snow-free.

America's biggest food production companies face a growing threat of water scarcity, according to a new report from Ceres, an environmental sustainability group.

Producing food, after all, requires more water than almost any other business on Earth. And the outlook isn't pretty: One-third of food is grown in areas of high or extremely high water stress, while pollution and climate change are further limiting supplies of clean water around the world.

Federal officials said a tunnel used to regulate the water level in Spirit Lake at the base of Mount St. Helens needs to be repaired to reduce the danger of flooding.

Cowlitz County officials are concerned that if the tunnel failed, Spirit Lake could fill up and possibly flood downstream towns Kelso and Longview.

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