Environment

KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Marcie Sillman talks with Roxanne Fonder Reeve, who, along with a slew of volunteers, is building a trash studio in her Columbia City driveway to teach people how they can build environmentally sustainable housing out of found materials.

Isoseismal map of the event.
Wikimedia Commons

In 1872, a mass earthquake rocked the Northwest. It’s on record as one of the most widely felt temblors in the Pacific Northwest.

But the location of the fault line that caused the quake has been a mystery for more than a century. They didn’t even know which side of the Cascades the fault fell.

SEATTLE -- Macklemore rolls up in his signature old black Cadillac, sporting black Ray-Bans and big boots.

He’s late. “Google took us on a bit of a joy ride this morning,” explains the rapper (real name: Ben Haggerty).

But fortunately, Seattle’s beloved star hasn't left concert-goers in a lurch. He's not here to perform. He’s come to this heavily industrial and polluted part of South Seattle to go for a paddle on the river he’s made his cause celebre: the Duwamish.

Food compost.
Flickr Photo/szczel (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen May, program manager of King County's Food: Too Good To Waste program, about food waste. 

Some of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms are right here in the Northwest. Some are harvesting about 20,000 trees a day.

The movie “Wild” hits select theaters Friday, December 5. It's based on a memoir by a Portland author who made a life-changing trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.

WINTHROP, Wash. -- This summer, the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through central Washington’s Methow Valley. The fire consumed more acres than any other fire in the state’s history. Now, ecologists are trying to make forests more sustainable to help prevent these large-scale fires.

Fire ecologist Susan Prichard was driving from Seattle to her home in Winthrop just as the Carlton Complex fire picked up.

Northwest lawmakers voted along party lines as the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to reject a plan to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

This is the second part of a three-part series, “What A Waste: Why We Have To Stop Throwing Food Away.”

A pile of food waste can make rich compost for the garden. But some Northwest companies are going beyond composting. We discovered three companies that are turning it into energy to power homes, race cars and city buses.

Flickr Photo/Ilja Klutman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Denis Hayes about the forthcoming book he co-wrote with his wife, Gail Boyer Hayes, called “Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Economy.”

The couple was on a driving tour of Great Britain when they noticed many small herds of cattle. That got Denis Hayes, an environmentalist who organized the first Earth Day and now heads the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, thinking about the impact of cows.

SEATTLE -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took the handoff Monday for his latest run at putting a price on carbon emissions.

It happened at a gathering at Seattle City Hall, where the chair of his task force on climate change, Ada Healey, delivered a set of options to the Democratic governor.

"Here you go, there’s a bow on it. It’s red," she joked.

Options put forward for Inslee's consideration include a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system. The task force did not make recommendations on either approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Scientists Solve Mystery Of West Coast Starfish Die-Off

Nov 18, 2014

SEATTLE -- After months of research, scientists have identified the pathogen at the heart of the starfish wasting disease that’s been killing starfish by the millions along the Pacific shores of North America, according to research published Monday.

They said it’s a virus that’s different from all other known viruses infecting marine organisms. They’ve dubbed it “sea star associated densovirus.”

No One Said Curbside Composting Would Be Easy

Nov 18, 2014

This is the second part of a three-part series, "What A Waste: Why We Have To Stop Throwing Food Away."

Seattle and Portland are working to reduce the environmental impacts of food waste by offering curbside composting. But no one said it would be easy. The cities have faced challenges from foul odors, lack of participation and plastic contamination.

This is the first part of a three-part series, "What A Waste: Why We Have To Stop Throwing Food Away."

Wasting 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks:

It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

A new study out of Canada reveals a surprising side-effect that hunting may have on wolves.

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