environment

Nearly 100 Tiny Quakes Shake Area Around Mount Hood

May 16, 2016

Mount Hood is trembling. They’re not big tremors. But there are a lot of them.

Close to 100 tiny quakes shook the area around Mount Hood Village between 6 p.m. Sunday night and Monday morning.

The largest had a magnitude of 1.9, meaning people didn’t actually feel it.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a quake has to reach a magnitude of 3 before people actually feel it — and even then, they’d have to be sitting quietly, likely on the upper floors of a building.

They came on kayaks and on bikes. They hunkered down in hammocks and on train tracks. They marched at refineries and did morning yoga at mines.

For nearly two weeks, demonstrators on six continents gathered to protest climate change — and, in particular, the fossil fuel industry.

In Washington state, 52 people were arrested Sunday after they camped out on train tracks servicing oil refineries in northern Puget Sound, Ashley Ahearn of member station KUOW reported for our Newscast unit.

In Florida, homeowners have a propensity for landscaping. They take great pride in the green carpet of grass in front of their homes. But one Florida man is working on a project that's turning his neighbors' lawns into working farms.

Chris Castro has an obsession — turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms.

"The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says.

If you think your job is painful, try spending a workday with Justin Schmidt.

Schmidt is an entomologist who focuses on a group of insects called Hymenoptera — we know them as stinging ants, wasps and bees.

Schmidt has traveled all over the world looking for bugs ... and getting stung by them. The result of his work is an alarmingly comprehensive pain index, ranking 83 insect stings on a spectrum of 1 to 4.

'Week in Review' panel Erica C. Barnett, Ross Reynolds, Gyasi Ross and Jonathan Martin.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ever heard of Seattle's 20-year plan? We discuss why you should care about it.  And what kind of hope should we have for the new approach to the homeless encampment known as the Jungle? Also, as Sound Transit move towards a light-rail future, are they spending too much on the opening day festivities? What does it mean for Washington state now that the Army Corps of Engineers has put a stop to a new deep water terminal in Cherry Point? 

Ross Reynolds talks over the week's news with writer Erica C. Barnett, columnist Jonathan Martin and lawyer and activist Gyasi Ross.  

Waiting quietly in the living room of a home in an upscale New Delhi neighborhood are a dozen people of all ages — maids, security guards, construction workers, all of whom earn at most a few dollars a day. The elegant, plant-filled room is hushed except for the sound of coughing.

Over in the next room, Dr. Gita Prakash is at her dining table with a stethoscope pressed to a pregnant woman's chest. Prakash has been treating indigent patients here for 30 years, six nights a week, in the evenings after she finishes her rounds at the local hospital where she works.

M
William Wigley

More than 80 percent of the Earth's urban residents are breathing unhealthy air. They're living in cities with lots of cars, trucks and fossil fuel-burning power plants. Think Peshawar in Pakistan, the Saudi capital Riyadh, or Delhi, India.

But a newly updated database from the World Health Organization also pinpoints urban spots where air is the cleanest. 

University of Washington fisheries professor Ray Hilborn is facing accusations from the environmental group Greenpeace about conflicts of interest and failures to disclose industry funding in some of his research.

Citing documents obtained through public records requests, Greenpeace said Hilborn has received more than $3.56 million from 69 fishing or seafood industry groups since 2003, making up more than 20 percent of his outside funding.

Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions.

This weekend, thousands of environmental protesters will rally to block the oil flowing to refineries near Anacortes, Washington. But some worry the event may also block the Salish Sea’s largest colony of great blue herons from feeding their young.

We hear a lot about the size of a person's carbon footprint — how much they use electricity, drive a car, fly on airplanes.

In India, some people are trying to shrink the carbon footprints of the dead.

At least 20 times a day, Braj Kishore Pandey sings a mantra as he lays a human body on a pile of firewood to burn. "There is a request from god for the freedom for the release of the soul, and also for the happiness for the family," he says.

About three feet of snow covered the summit of Chinook Pass in 2015. That was an exceptionally light snow year for Washington.
WSDOT blog

The unusually warm spring has let gardeners do some early planting, but it signals problems ahead for Washington farmers. The warm weather is causing snow in the mountains to melt faster than normal.


Federal land managers labored long and hard on their latest plan for the 2.6 million acres in western Oregon known as the O&C lands.

And they admit it was crafted, at least in part, to avoid protracted legal battles.

But the plan hadn’t even been officially released yet when it began gathering threats of lawsuits from all sides.

Jim Whittington, with the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, says the agency’s four-year effort to update its management plan for the O&C lands hits the sweet spot.

Oregon Spotted Frog
Flickr Photo/USFWS Pacific Region, Teal Waterstrat (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ajZhmE

On Monday federal officials defined the critical habitat for a rare Northwest creature: the Oregon spotted frog. That designation is required since the frog was listed as threatened in 2014.

You'd be lucky to see or hear this frog.


A coal mine operation in Wyoming.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

The Lummi Nation’s Tribal Chairman Timothy Ballew pulled fellow council member Travis Brockie into his office to announce the big news:

He’d just gotten off the phone with Col. John Buck of the Army Corps of Engineers.


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