Thoughts & Doings

Huxley Speaker Series 6/7/18: Denise Attwood, Ric Conner: Patagonia

Heart of Patagonia – The Legacy of Doug and Kris Tompkins

Denise Attwood (Huxley ’83) and Ric Conner (Huxley ‘85) will present a slide show and discussion on the historic creation, development and donation of Doug and Kris Tompkins private parks in Patagonia, Chile. Denise and Ric were invited to tour Park Pumalin and Park Patagonia in December with their friend Nancy Schaub who has been an advisor to Tompkins Conservation for many years. The presentation will be a photo journey through these new National Parks and a discussion of land conservation and restoration, philanthropy, community involvement and adventure travel.

(See also: With 10 Million Acres in Patagonia, a National Park System... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 5/31/18: Candy Castellanos: Sustaining Sustainability

Sustaining Sustainability

Sustainability has come to mean many things to many people. Often it takes the shape of describing behaviors, goals, and frameworks organizations or individuals use to minimize environmental impacts. Less common, sustainability is understood as an interconnected system. Using the lens of change leadership, the tenants of resilience, and models of organizational development, Ms. Castellanos will explore what it means to sustain the members of the sustainability movement and sustainability ecosystem itself.

Candy Castellanos is the founding principal of Radiant Consulting, LLC, a firm dedicated to building capacity for positive change within communities, teams, and organizations. She has 15 years experience... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 5/24/18: Teizeen Mohamedali: Water Quality Modeling

Water Quality Modeling: Magic or Math?

Mathematical water quality modeling is used by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) to help understand how a water body responds to pollutant loadings, and run virtual ‘experiments’ on what can be done to improve water quality in water bodies around the State that do not meet Water Quality Standards. This talk will provide an overview of what water quality modeling is and share some modeling related challenges and insights related to an example application of the Salish Sea Model.

The Salish Sea Model was developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) in cooperation with Ecology. The model is being used by Ecology to evaluate the relative effects of human nutrient inputs on low dissolved oxygen and acidification levels throughout the Salish Sea, with a focus on evaluating water quality in Puget Sound. Model results so far indicate that nutrient loading from anthropogenic... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 5/17/18: Christie True: Local Governments, Climate Change

What Local Governments can do to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and be Ready for the Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change is one of the paramount environmental and economic challenges for our generation.  King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP) is a comprehensive blueprint for climate action, and provides “one-stop-shopping” for county decision-makers, employees and the general public to learn about the County’s climate change commitments.

The presentation by Christie True will outline how the SCAP charts a clear pathway to achieve a clean energy future, where the region’s local governments, businesses and communities are working together towards an equitable, sustainable and thriving King County for all who live, work and play in King County.  The SCAP builds on technical assessments of what actions and commitments, when taken together,  ensure that climate targets are met.  Through the integrated strategy... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 5/10/18: Kate Darby: Environmental Justice

"Looks like Urine" and "Smells Like Sewer":
Sensory Claims-Making and Environmental Injustice

Canary in a coalmine... use a mask!   (David & Angie, )

In the face of a regulatory system that asserted the safety of the Flint, MI water supply, in early 2015 resident Ashley Holt declared that her water “look[ed] like urine”, “smell[ed] like sewer”, and did not taste normal.  Environmental justice (EJ) scholars and activists have long recognized the value and power of experiential “lay” knowledge held by fenceline communities. While expert science employs disembodied, technocratic knowledge to assess harm, individuals in environmental justice... Continue reading

Huxley Faculty Michael Medler Tests WWU eBike Program

As our sun finally breaks free of our wet skies (for a couple days) we look forward to hearing how our new eBikers are adjusting to the electric bike experience. Dr Michael Medler of Huxley College is one of our new riders. He comes at the project with a long history of cycling, but due to more recent circumstances he has had to rethink his approach. Now that he’s got an eBike for 10 weeks things may be changing.
Let’s see what he has to say….

Huxley Speaker Series 5/3/18: ENVS Faculty Candidate Yanjun Cai: Social Media and Geospatial Analysis

Creative Amalgamation of Technologies for Proactive Resilience toward Socio-spatial Justice

Research talk by Dr. Yanjun Cai
Candidate for Faculty of Environmental Studies
Thursday, May 3, 4:00-5:00, AW-204

This research presentation explores how the participatory approach of photovoice and the technological tools of social media and geospatial analysis can be innovatively integrated for proactive resilience, especially in marginalized communities. The multiplicity of definitions, interpretations, and objectives (e.g., social, economic, political), which underlies the theories and practices of resilience, is challenging for intellectual coherence. The convenient—depoliticized or overtly technical—application of resilience often fails to recognize structural issues that can be contextually unique. Common efforts to build resilience frequently elide the embeddedness of power, conflicts, and inequities. In this light, few scholars and practitioners have comprehensively revealed the intricacies of climate-related... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 4/26/18: Dennis Willows: PNW Sea Slug

Geomagnetic Orientation Behavior in the PNW Sea Slug Tritonia: Research on a Not Yet Understood Sensory Mode with Implications for Survival in a Changing Climate

Tritonia orienting to bite polyps from a sea pen

Nudibranch mollusks not surprisingly orient to optimize finding and capturing sea pens, their prey.  How do these sea slugs do it in a complex sensory environment where odor cues are carried on water currents driven by tides, seasons,  local geography and changing climate factors?   Evidence from field work using SCUBA as well as electrophysiological recording from individual brain cells suggest they detect the earth’s feeble magnetic field and use it to determine the shoreward direction.  This information also provides critical cues to the location of their prey. 

... Continue reading

Huxley Speaker Series 4/19/18: Amelia Taylor: UN Sustainable Development Goals

United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

To Achieve the Goals: The Role of Scientific Breakthroughs & The Role of Business – Three Examples

Amelia Taylor will provide an overview of UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and how these 17 goals are interconnected.

“This is the first period in history in which a single species has placed basic earth systems in danger. We are in a race against time to find new solutions for tackling climate change and protecting the environment while at the same time ending poverty and fighting inequalities.” United Nations

She will also discuss the role of Science Discoveries, the role of Business and the Shared Values initiative.

... Continue reading
ESCI Faculty Candidate 4/23/18: Bridget Ulrich: Sustainable Water Management

Biochar for Sustainable Water Management: Implications for Global Change Associated with Reduced Releases of Emerging Contaminants and Greenhouse Gases

Research Talk by Bridget A. Ulrich, PhD

Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Dübendorf, Switzerland

Monday, April 23, 3:30-4:40 pm, CF-25

Candidate for Assistant Professor in Environmental Chemistry & Global Change, ESCI dept

Urbanization and climate change have caused growing public health concerns around exposure to contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), yet the fate of CECs in the environment remains poorly understood. This is a problem of global proportions, as highly persistent CECs can undergo long range transport from urban areas to some of the most pristine environments on earth. Warming temperatures are projected to affect the distribution and toxicity of CECs in the environment, and growing water scarcity may further increase exposure if proper precautions are not taken. Addressing these challenges will entail sustainable water management practices that... Continue reading


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