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Preventing fires from destroying entire towns will take communities learning to live with fire

In recent years, small towns, like Malden, Washington, have become victim to catastrophic fires that burned around them.

Matthew Carroll.

The three main factors that are leading to greater fire risk are a changing climate including hotter temperatures and drought, vegetative conditions and people choosing to live in homes built in or near forests, said Washington State University professor, school of the environment, Matthew Carroll, who studies how communities in the West can better adapt to “megafires.”

Conditions with large unkempt forest floors and debris have only gotten worse over the years as the techniques for fighting fire focused mostly on suppression and not about preventing it through prescribed burns or thinning trees, Carroll said.

The Legislature passed a bill last session that will direct $125 million every two years for forest health and wildfire prevention. That money will be broken down into three buckets: wildfire response, forest health and community resilience.

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The Spokesman-Review
The Neighbor

Ag land use part of climate solution, study suggests

Linking agricultural land use, air quality, and climate, a Washington State University scientist offered a new way to understand and minimize health impacts from human-caused changes to our climate and environment.

Deepti Singh.

Based at WSU Vancouver, lead author Deepti Singh, assistant professor in the School of the Environment, drew on hundreds of studies of climate change, air quality, agriculture, and public health to propose a “systems lens,” or scientific approach, that connects health risks with simultaneous environmental changes driven by human practices.

“The health consequences of air pollution, climate change, and transformations in agriculture are often discussed separately,” Singh said. “But these issues are all related—they have similar sources, and each one affects the others. Agricultural activities contribute to air pollution and affect regional climate patterns, while farm production and quality of crops are sensitive to air quality and climate conditions.

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Farm Progress

Inequality examined: WSU welcomes professors around the nation for The Foley Institute’s lecturing series

Eight professors from across the country will present research related to inequality in a lecture series hosted online by Washington State University this fall.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service hosts the distinguished lectures to “broaden the educational experience of WSU students and the surrounding community by bringing engaging and influential opinion leaders to campus in encourage thought-provoking discussions and ideas.”

Jennifer Sherman.

While The Foley Institute looks to host a diverse set of lecturers, Jennifer Sherman is taking a local look at systemic inequality. Sherman is a current WSU associate professor of sociology and will present her lecture, “The gentrification of Washington,” on Oct. 12 at noon.

“A lot of us have gone a year and half without seeing people in our departments and additional committees,” Sherman said. “To be around people who share the same interest and passion as you around the campuses is really exciting.”

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Yahoo! News

Making Waves for Coastal Careers on Olympic Peninsula

Energy from currents, tides, and waves is a crucial part of reaching clean energy targets and addressing climate change. But harnessing this predictable and environmentally friendly energy source requires an eye to the future. This future includes both the communities along the coast and the people who develop, manufacture, and support energy technologies.

“There’s a weekly lunch with the scientists that lets us hear from individual scientists how broad the research is and also how they developed their careers,” said David Cancino, a Washington State University senior studying biology with plans to apply to graduate school. This summer he monitored an eelgrass field in Sequim, adding measurements to a database that catalogs the influences of climate change as far back as 1991. “I didn’t know the specifics about eelgrass before the internship. Before, I always wanted to work with large marine mammals, but this experience has made me want to focus more on ecology and the entire system.”

Overall, the educational benefits of the program are expected to ripple out from the teachers and reach over 1,600 students in the next year alone. For many of these students, this is the first time they may be learning of possible careers in marine renewable energy.

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Mirage News 

Is Instagram bad for mental health? Experts weigh in on how to use the platform more effectively

We’ve been questioning the same thing for years: Is Instagram bad for mental health? Between the need for likes and a verified status—plus the picture-perfect influencers we hold on a pedestal—it’s next to impossible not to feel somewhat inadequate while doom scrolling.

Chris Barry.

“Attaching our self-worth to how we think we compare to others who post on social media is also problematic,” says Dr. Chris Barry, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University. “Instead, using social media to connect with others or to keep up with news or topics of interest seem to be more adaptive in terms of well-being.”

Instagram users of all ages have felt some type of anxiety at one point or another whilst using the app. The picture-perfect presentation with engagement reveals, vacation stories, and job updates can be enough to make someone crack. What’s meant to be a fun, accessible way to connect with people has turned into a grand competition that’s led to feelings of deficiency, jealousy, FOMO and so much more.

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My Imperfect Life