Cassandra Profita

Reporter for Earthfix
Jamie Newton / Lucid Energy

A renewable energy company in Portland has cities across the globe taking a closer look at their water pipes. Lucid Energy has designed a mini-hydropower system that generates electricity from drinking water on its way to the tap.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Wildlife cops have uncovered a problem on the Columbia River. Poachers are catching and killing giant sturgeon. They're driven, in part, by global demand for black market caviar. And they're putting the whole sturgeon population at risk. As part of our EarthFix series on wildlife crime, Cassandra Profita went on patrol and brings us this report:

It’s a high-speed pursuit in an unlikely place: The Columbia River. Wildlife cops are chasing a boat with illegal sturgeon on board.

Officer: “Stop right now!”

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

Experts say a megaquake off the Northwest coast could hit anytime. When it does, many of us may struggle to find safe shelter, connect with loved ones, and secure enough food and water to get by. This could be especially difficult for vulnerable populations.
As part of  OPB's "Living Off Your Kit" weekend, we followed a woman in Troutdale who has little income and lives with disabilities, as she simulated what  life would be like if she had to live off her emergency supplies.

Theresa Tilson / Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

A record number of sea lions have been feeding in the Columbia River this spring. A lack of food in the ocean and a big run of smelt drew them in. And now they’re eating salmon. That has a lot of people debating the best way to manage these hulking pinnipeds. While some are shooting at them, and arguing for their lethal removal, others are rushing to their defense.

In Astoria's East Mooring Basin, big blubbery sea lions have taken over the docks that are supposed to harbor boats. Bill Hunsinger oversees those docks as a commissioner with the Port of Astoria.

Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

A lot of energy in the Northwest comes from hydropower and wind turbines – all carbon-free.
There will be even less greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years, because the only coal plants in Oregon and Washington are scheduled to shut down. But that won’t stop coal-fired power from flowing into the region from out-of-state plants. So, Northwest clean energy advocates are taking aim at coal plants in Wyoming, Montana and Utah.

Davis: "The next level's the coal bunkers."

Stephen Baboi / Earthfix

Some people ride a bike instead of driving a car to reduce their contributions to climate change. Others shrink their carbon footprint by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Now, a Portland brewery has another suggestion: Something sold by the pint.

It's opening night for a new beer at Migration Brewing in Portland.

"Can I get a couple tasters of the low-carbon beer?"

Lindsay Eyink

A judge has denied the request from supporters of a food labeling measure in Oregon to block the certification of election results.

Measure 92 would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It fell just 800 votes short in the November election, and a statewide recount is underway.

Supporters filed a lawsuit Monday to get the state to count around 46 hundred ballots that had been rejected for invalid signatures.

City of San Diego

A pile of food waste can make rich compost for the garden. But some Northwest companies are going beyond composting. This week we’ve been bringing you stories on the challenges of wasted food. We discovered three companies that are using it to power homes, race cars and city buses.

Remember that last scene in Back to the Future?

Doc: “Marty you’ve got to come with me.”
Marty: “Where?”
Doc: “Back to the Future.”

Doc tears into Marty’s driveway in the DeLorean time machine and raids the trash can.

Doc: “I need fuel”

Katie Campbell / Earthfix

Portland and Seattle are working to reduce the environmental impacts of food waste by offering curbside composting. But no one said it would be easy. We’ve been taking a look this week at the challenges and opportunities of wasted food.  Cassandra Profita from our EarthFix team looks at what two Northwest cities are doing to get people to put the right things in the compost bin.

Paul Kelly was assigned a new task this year. He's standing in a lake of purple liquid, picking through a pile of rotting food with a pitchfork.

In the U.S., we waste about 40 percent of all of the food we produce. A lot of that food winds up rotting in landfills and releasing air pollution. But many cities are trying to turn it into something more valuable and less harmful to the environment. EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita kicks off our series of reports this week on food waste by exploring the virtues of curbside composting: