Way Out West covers environmental news from around the San Francisco Bay Area on the web. Through original and partner content we aspire to be the hub of Bay Area green news, covering policy, pollution, clean tech, and nature from the nine counties with an eye on regionally and nationally relevant stories.

As the potential threats of climate change push environmental concerns into every aspect of life, the Bay Area has been a pioneer of new ideas. And it’s no surprise given the region is home to people who set national and international trends in science, business, policy, and lifestyle that wrestle with environmental problems.

Almost 20 years ago Wallace Stegner wrote, “The West at large is hope’s native home, the youngest and freshest of Americas regions, magnificently endowed and with the chance of becoming something unprecedented and unmatched in the world.” If that’s true of the West, than the Bay Area is hope’s kitchen, where ideas are concocted and tried for the first time.

But frontiers need citizens and reporters who bring a critical eye and institutional memory to the giddy enthusiasm of progress. We see a strong need for comprehensive Bay Area environmental coverage collected in one location that encourages civic participation and discusses the ideas and stories of the day. We hope you’ll join us in gathering and debating the Bay Area’s latest green news.

Way Out West is produced in the spare time of two experienced environmental freelance reporters, Alison Hawkes and Victoria Schlesinger. We’re looking for passionate reporters, editors, business mavens, tech folk and financial investors who believe environmental reporting is more important than ever to join us. If you are interested, please email us at [email protected].

Victoria Schlesinger

Victoria Schlesinger, a founding partner, editor, and reporter for Way Out West, is native to the Bay Area and has been writing about the environment for 15 years. Her articles have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, the New York Times, Audubon, Discover, The Christian Science Monitor and many other publications. But she cut her reporting teeth right here in the Bay Area with an internship at California Wild, followed by a year and a half interning, stringing, and substitute publishing for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Point Reyes Light newspaper in West Marin. She’s also author of Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya, published by the University of Texas Press in 2002. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and infant daughter. For more on Victoria, please see her website.

Alison Hawkes

Alison Hawkes is also a founding partner, editor, and reporter for Way Out West. She grew up in North Carolina and transplanted herself to the Bay Area twice, making her doubly enthusiastic and determined to live in this magical region by the sea. Since a girl, she’s gravitated towards environmental issues but spent many years slogging it out as a newspaper reporter covering government in Pennsylvania. Now she freelances for KQED, writes the occasional magazine piece, runs a climate change blog for NASA’s  online Astrobiology Magazine, and devotes much time to pushing Way Out West into the forefront of Bay Area environmental news. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, little boy, and rat terrier.

Alex Zielinski

Alex Zielinski, an intern reporter for Way Out West, is a recent college graduate of the University of Oregon’s Journalism School with a focus in both magazine and news editorial reporting. With her degree, she’s aiming to combine her two main interests: talking to strangers and reporting on environmental and science-based issues. As both a journalist and human being, she loves having the ability to see through another person’s eyes and retell their story to those who might miss it otherwise, specifically pressing and impacting themes. Alex, an Arcata, California native, has had experience writing for an alt weekly journals,  daily newspapers, and online publications in Oregon, and is thrilled to be retuning to her home state to continue writing. When she’s not roaming the streets for stories, Alex enjoys all things outdoors — biking, hiking, camping, general exploring — along with a variety of artistic pursuits. Alex also writes a blog: alexzielinski.wordpress.com.

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Who we are

Way Out West is a news site for the Bay Area dedicated to daily coverage of local green news.

We're camping out at public meetings, traipsing through parks, and sticking our noses into green tech research to bring you relevant local stories that matter.

WOW is produced by two local environmental journalists for you, our eco-savvy readers. We'd love to hear what you want from this site.