The Science of Sustainability

Headquartered in Seattle, KCTS 9 is the premier source for public media that informs, involves and inspires more than 2.5 million viewers each week in Western and Central Washington State, British Columbia and across Canada. To watch or learn more about any of our programs, visit KCTS9.org.

QUEST Northwest partners include the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, IslandWood, The Museum of Flight, NatureBridge, NOAA, Pacific Science Center, Science World British Columbia, Seattle Aquarium, University of Washington College on the Environment and Woodland Park Zoo.

Visit our KCTS QUEST spring schedule for episode descriptions and broadcast information.

Kickstarting Science: Crowdfunded Research Explores Potential Health Impacts of Coal Trains

Kickstarting Science: Crowdfunded Research Explores Potential Health Impacts of Coal Trains

Scientists and researchers are turning to new and innovative online funding methods to pay for their projects. And the public is buying in.

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Check-ups for Old Trees

Check-ups for Old Trees

A new technology helps determine the health of urban old growth trees.

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A River Returns

A River Returns

In Washington state, a river once known for its abundant salmon run is getting a second chance. The Elwha River dams, which decimated salmon populations and profoundly altered the ecosystem, are coming down and hopes are high that salmon will return.

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The Seattle Seawall Project: Transforming Salmon Habitat

The Seattle Seawall Project: Transforming Salmon Habitat

Seattle’s urban waterfront — a noisy highway viaduct and failing seawall — is being transformed to create a welcoming environment for salmon and people.

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Citizen Scientists Gather Data on Urban Bees

Citizen Scientists Gather Data on Urban Bees

Seattle gardeners are assisting University of Washington researchers by gathering data on pollination activity in community gardens.

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Revitalizing Grasslands, One Steak at a Time

Revitalizing Grasslands, One Steak at a Time

A prehistoric approach to livestock management could help revive dying grasslands and combat climate change.

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From High-Rise to Low Impact: A Building That Mimics a Forest

From High-Rise to Low Impact: A Building That Mimics a Forest

In the search for greater efficiency, green builders are looking to nature for answers.

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Harnessing The Hidden Power of Cow Manure

Harnessing The Hidden Power of Cow Manure

A dairy farm in British Colombia uses new technologies to convert manure into electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and remove the stink.

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Penguin Sentinels

Penguin Sentinels

In this short video, we travel with conservation biologist Dee Boersma to the Galapagos Islands where she works to support a population of temperate penguins that are being impacted by climate change.

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Tracking Your Ecological Footprint

Tracking Your Ecological Footprint

Online tools can track the true global costs of your lifestyle choices.

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Fish Earbones Provide a Rare Glimpse into the Past and Future of Fisheries

Fish Earbones Provide a Rare Glimpse into the Past and Future of Fisheries

Archiving artifacts from the sea, a natural history museum preserves precious data for scientists.

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Thinking Like a Pirate – or a Scientist

Thinking Like a Pirate – or a Scientist

New understandings about how scientists think inspire changes in school science standards.

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Tales from the Ghost Forests

Tales from the Ghost Forests

When a megathrust earthquake strikes, scientists around the world know in seconds. But what about hundreds of years ago? How, exactly, do scientists know there was a megathrust quake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone on January 26, 1700 between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.? The answer lies in a ghost forest discovered on the Washington coast that reveals the secrets of one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the planet.

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Up, Up and Away: Escaping a Tsunami Vertically

Up, Up and Away: Escaping a Tsunami Vertically

Northwest disaster officials and communities propose new structures for people to get to safety when a killer tsunami wave is on the way, not by trying to outrun the wave, but by trying to out-climb it.

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Megathrust Earthquakes

Megathrust Earthquakes

Experts warn that an offshore quake powerful enough to kill thousands and discharge a tsunami could hit the West Coast any time. QUEST Northwest talks with geologists and seismologists about cutting-edge research in earthquake prediction, and what it would look like if the next “Big One" hits close to home.

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Web Extra: Orca Sounds vs. Underwater Noise

Web Extra: Orca Sounds vs. Underwater Noise

When listening for orca whales underwater, researchers distinguish their sounds from other noises such as boats, ships, and other sea animals with hydrophones. Learn how these instruments work in this web extra from QUEST Northwest.

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Two Endangered Icons: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

Two Endangered Icons: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

Kenneth Balcomb, senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research Friday Harbor, Washington, explains the connection between the Southern Resident killer whales (orcas) and chinook salmon.

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Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

They are an icon of the Pacific Northwest, stirring a mix of fascination, awe and affection. Thousands of people come to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just to catch a glimpse of the Southern Resident orcas that call these waters home.

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Into the Waves with Orcas

Into the Waves with Orcas

Orcas use sound to navigate, find food and communicate. But underwater noise is making it more difficult. We explore how scientists use hydrophones to track noise from ships and boats to discover what affect noise pollution really has on orcas.

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Why Killer Whales Don’t Eat People: Where Science and Legend Meet

Why Killer Whales Don’t Eat People: Where Science and Legend Meet

It’s clear that in the wild, orcas seem to have a pretty universal rule: don’t attack humans. The reason would appear to be both biological and cultural.

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