In the Media
Young people have always been at the forefront of change, and society needs to prioritize nurturing them to become future environmental and sustainability innovators — across all fields. Doing this will require more than building their scientific and technological skills. We need to tend to climate change anxiety among young people, invest in K-12 climate education, and implement curricula anchored in environmental and sustainability literacy at all levels, which is crucial to shifting the behavioral changes that will be necessary to reduce carbon emissions. But to capitalize on our current window, educational institutions also must work intentionally to build a social infrastructure of belonging that enables individual confidence and collective agency in young people.
- Column written by WWU College of the Environment Dean Teena Gabrielson
Scientists are collecting samples from the ocean floor off the coast of Greece in hopes of predicting future volcanic activity. Among the team will be volcanologist Susan DeBari, a geology professor at Western Washington University.
“I feel really lucky to be here,” DeBari said in a Zoom interview.
With the Washington legislative session wrapping to a close, new legislation will allow local higher education institutions to utilize new recruitment and planning tools.
One measure gives higher ed outlets access to more high school student information. Another moves forward by six months a timeframe to set tuition rates — a budgeting benefit for students and institutions alike. Additionally, several bills focused on student welfare will pass.
"Overall, it's been a very good session, the House and Senate have each supported some of our top priorities, and we've been successful in shepherding some important legislation across the finish line in partnership with others," said Nora Selander, Western Washington University's director of government relations, at the April 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
It is essential that we support efforts by NASA and others to detect NEOs, characterize them and prepare for a rapid response if we need to deflect one. We in the Pacific Northwest are no more susceptible to an asteroid impact than anyone else — but we may be better suited to understand the gravity of the threat, since we’re used to hearing about the “Big One.” We can also deeply appreciate that, unlike earthquakes, this natural disaster is preventable. If humanity invests now, then — when the time comes — we’ll be able to do much more than just duck, cover and hold.
Melissa Rice is a professor of planetary science at Western Washington University, and a member of NASA’s Curiosity rover and Perseverance rover science teams.
US startup Upwell Cosmetics has entered into an agreement with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) of Massachusetts and Western Washington University (WWU) to make and market a marine microalgae-derived wax for personal care products.
“Businesses use bank accounts to hold their money to pay for things just like we do as individuals,” said Zoë Plakias, an agricultural economist and professor at Western Washington University and Ohio State University who has done research on cannabis industry banking. “It turns out that many cannabis businesses have a very hard time just getting a bank account.”
“Based on previous research, we had predicted early on in the pandemic that Whatcom’s retail sector would take a big hit from the lack of Canadians, which comprise as much as 12% of retail sales tax in some categories,” said Laurie Trautman, Ph.D., director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University.
“However, what we didn’t predict was how much domestic spending would spike, and this offset much of the lack of Canadian spending,” she said. Exceptions, Trautman said, included clothing and big-box stores.
Bellingham’s own Kathryn Trueblood comes to mind here; your friendly critic picked up her most recent, very admirable story collection, “Take Daily as Needed,” on a recent trip to Ravenna’s Third Place Books in Seattle (your critic was visiting his mother). It is Trueblood’s fourth book, all of which have appeared from small (or very small) presses. This one is out of University of New Mexico Press, small indeed, yet it offers more plausible life, and recognizable human experience, than nearly anything marketed as literature by the big New York publishers these days.
Trueblood, who teaches English at Western Washington University, is especially good at depicting what happens to those who are burdened with sensibility but who struggle to make ends meet. As culture gets meaner, as resources are stripped away from those in need, and as all but the lucky find themselves drifting frighteningly downward, how is anyone supposed to keep their dignity? With grit, humor, honesty and courage, and plenty of sex and swearing. Mothers and sons, and unreliable men, fill these vital stories. Tip your cap her way if you see Trueblood on campus, or off.
The Salish Sea is truly a wonder. On a daily basis, we see orcas, salmon, eagles and many other species travel up and down its coasts, taking advantage of the remaining healthy habitats for feeding and refuge. None of them take notice of the international boundary running through the middle of the sea and the different governments managing these waters. Just as these species travel freely across the border, so does the water and any pollutants they may be carrying.
Western Washington University will host a prestigious annual discussion of antisemitism amid a national spike in hate against Jews and a school year that has seen bigotry against several minority groups on campus. Focus of the event is how the Nazi Party forced schools to teach its racist ideology, a topic that’s increasingly in the headlines as U.S. states such as Florida censor what students can learn about American history.