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What toxins lurk in your cell phone?

Ten years ago, Willamette Riverkeeper asked environmental writer Elizabeth Grossman to research and author a report on Willamette water quality. What she found came as a huge surprise: toxins from our everyday high-tech devises, like computers and cell phones, had become a major source of local water pollution.

Obama’s conservation agenda

With jobs and the economy at the forefront of political dialog, conversations about the environment are often pushed to the back burner. But current efforts, from the grassroots up to the federal government, are underway to show that environment and economy are not at ends with one another. Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), discussed such efforts at last week’s Solutions Seminar.

Taking the car out of carbon

If mass transit can get credit for the greenhouse gas emissions it saves, it could revolutionize the way we fund public transportation, according to the sustainability chief for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who visited Portland State Thursday.

Valuing nature, measuring well-being

Since the 1940s, we have been measuring economic progress from a single, narrow viewpoint: gross domestic product. But what does this actually mean for people and communities?

Rainforest: use it or lose it

Years ago, “save the rainforest” was a slogan that entrenched the man-versus-nature mindset. Today, conservationists increasingly understand that preserving the rainforests must go hand in hand with promoting the rural livelihoods of the people who live there.

How India is capitalizing on natural benefits from its forests

Ecosystem services are increasingly regarded as a vital concept in conservation—helping governments, communities and businesses understand the value of the natural and cultural resources that sustain them. Last week, Madhu Verma shared her experiences defining the value of forest ecosystem services in India.

A sustainable Haiti

It’s been more than two years since the unprecedented earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 300,000 people and left over a million homeless. That’s just enough time for media attention to drift away and relief efforts to dwindle, but not quite long enough for any real economic or social resurgence to take root.

Regional conservation

Portland is constantly touted as one of America’s greenest cities. But there’s more to it than an affinity for public transit and renewable energy—Portland has an abundance of natural green space that reaches beyond city limits to support communities, ecosystems, and economies throughout the region.

Nature does it better

What would Mother Nature say about the way we spend precious conservation dollars? By quantifying nature’s benefits, Willamette Partnership is able to translate restoration efforts into metrics that are meaningful to industry and consumers.

Eco-restoration your way

Ecosystem services are a hot topic in academic and environmental circles. But a lot of these natural services—like carbon sequestration, erosion control, or drought mitigation—are pretty technical for the average person. Instead of pricing ecosystem services based on their function, visiting economics professor Sahan Dissanayake looks at the values held by regular people.