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Grizzly Bears in the Pacific Northwest: Part 6

April 4th, 2016 | Posted by in Graduate M.Ed. Program

Much of the opposition to the recovery efforts of the grizzly in the North Cascades stem from hikers, climbers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who fear recreating in grizzly country. Where hiking in grizzly country brings more risk, hikers in the Northern Rockies and Alaska will tell you that it brings a new thrill and sense of wildness to the outdoor experience.  Being aware of how to responsibly recreate in grizzly country can greatly reduce some of the risks involved with hiking and fishing in bear country. There are many resources available on how to recreate in grizzly country from the National Park and Forest Services as well as many non-profit organizations such as; Western Wildlife Outreach, The Great Bear Foundation, and The International Grizzly Bear Committee.

What people also fail to realize is that even if the North Cascades were to start recovery of the grizzly population, it would be 25-50 years before people started to see them, and another 100 years before the population recovered completely, due to how slowly grizzlies reproduce.

The problem in the Pacific Northwest as stated above is that we have never had to deal with grizzlies unlike the people in the Northern Rockies. The only thing we know about the grizzly is from what we have seen from American culture, and unfortunately American culture has not painted an accurate portrayal of the grizzly bear. If the North Cascades is to effectively implement its recovery strategy it needs to succeed on two levels; first it needs sound science to back it up, which it has, and secondly it needs support from the public, and the only way that the public will become okay with the grizzly bear walking around in the Cascades is if we begin to tear down these false images of the grizzly and start to properly educate people.

» Continue reading Grizzly Bears in the Pacific Northwest: Part 6

Conversation at Curriculum for the Bioregion 2016

Down Valley Conference Adventure: A Grad’s Perspective

February 1st, 2016 | Posted by in Adventures

Living at the Environmental Learning Center near Diablo, WA changes how we approach everyday decisions. Little trips, for instance, turn into a three day down valley adventure! This last weekend the 15th graduate cohort (along with a few from the 14th) traveled to two conferences in three days: Storming the Sound and Curriculum for the Bioregion.

Our first leg of the journey had us hit the road at 6 am from Diablo. After so many wilderness journeys with my cohort it was strange to see what “gear” changed and what didn’t with this adventure into civilization. No tents. No trekking poles. But some still packed in their hiking backpacks! After a few hours travel along SR 20, we arrived in La Conner.

First Leg Labled

First leg of our three day trip. Photo courtesy of Google Earth.

Storming the Sound is an “annual conference for environmental educators in the north Pudget Sound region.” Since 2000 in Padilla Bay Reserve, the event has brought environmental organizations, teachers and students together to not only learn from one another but to better connect the environmental education field in the Puget Sound region. There were thirty one sponsor organizations this year which gave us graduate students a great view of how strong the environmental education presence is in this region. This year’s event was held in Maple Hall in La Conner, WA.

» Continue reading Down Valley Conference Adventure: A Grad’s Perspective

Narsaq Sound, Greenland

Kathleen Dean Moore in Bellingham, Nov. 9

November 5th, 2013 | Posted by in Odds & Ends

Kathleen Dean Moore is the first speaker in our Vanishing Ice Speaker Series, a partnership with the Whatcom Museum as part of their new Vanishing Ice exhibition. Join us for her free talk “Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril” Saturday, November 9, 2 pm at Old City Hall (250 Flora Street, Bellingham). The following is a book review I wrote for Moore’s ground-breaking anthology Moral Ground, originally published in the Cascadia Weekly in 2010.

Because of humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels, we are warming our planet beneath a cloak of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Here in Washington State, rising temperatures and a warmer climate are causing our glaciers to melt faster than they can replenish themselves. This is leading us towards a future with less fresh water for agriculture and drinking and less resources for inexpensive hydroelectric generation. Over 40 of our coastal communities are threatened by rising sea levels. Sagebrush-steppe and alpine ecosystems will disappear as the tree line shifts, and growing seasons are changing in unpredictable ways. The loss of several amphibian species, alterations in bird and butterfly migratory patterns and invasions of unchecked, voracious insect infestations are already underway. Ocean acidification is choking the abundant life in Puget Sound and bays of the outer coast. Eastside forests are drying up and wildland fires will become more prevalent. We humans will face a deadly spike in infectious, respiratory and heat-related illnesses as the natural world around us smolders.

Heard this laundry list of doom before? Most likely you have, and it’s because scientists have done an impressive job of both studying the phenomenon of global climate change and communicating the causes and effects to the public. The effort has be so heroic that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.”

While the data, interpretations and subsequent warnings from the scientific community are essential pieces of this puzzle, Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, recognized that something was missing. Moore, the author of personal essay/nature writing books like Riverwalking, Holdfast and Wild Comfort, teaches environmental ethics and moral reasoning to students and she soon realized that the scientists’ arguments, no matter how comprehensive, were not going to inspire us to act to save our world.

“Clearly, information is not enough,” she writes. “A piece is largely missing from the public discourse about climate change: namely an affirmation of our moral responsibilities in the world that the scientists describe. No amount of factual information will tell us what we ought to do. For that, we need moral convictions.”

In Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, Moore and co-editor Michael Nelson assemble 80 of the world’s leading visionaries, leaders and writers to create a compelling call to action. The goal of the anthology is to confront the challenges of climate change based on moral and ethical grounds. It is a chorus featuring the sterling voices of the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu, John Paul II, Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Hawken, Thich Naht Hanh, E.O. Wilson, Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Snyder, bell hooks and many others from cultures and countries around the globe.

“Do we have a moral obligation to take action to protect the future of a planet in peril?” the editors asked of their contributors, “and if so, why?”

The answers – inspiring, creative, sobering and grounded in reason – are presented in thematic clusters, including “Yes, for the survival of humankind,” “Yes, to honor our duties of gratitude and reciprocity, “Yes, for the stewardship of God’s creation, “Yes, because justice demands it,” “Yes, because the world is beautiful.”

Moral Ground strives to start the conversation about “who we are when we are at out best, what we must do to be worthy of our gifts” and how we might live on Earth “respectfully, responsibly and joyously.” These are essential questions to ponder here at the most crucial turning point our planet has ever faced.

Top photo by Len Jenshel, American, b. 1949. Narsaq Sound, Greenland, 2001. C-print, 26 x 30 in. (66 x 76 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA