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Oral History of the 1969 SB Spill

To some, the impact of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill was environmental.  To be sure there was ecological harm all around (see any of my old lectures if you are curious about that).  But the bigger impacts were upon the burgeoning Environmental Movement, igniting of a generation of environmental activism, birthing a new paradigm/cultural… Read more »

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River Spill

We are in southern Louisiana with my ESRM 492: Service Learning in New Orleans class.  Today we head down to lower Plaquemines Parish and it just so happens at 2am this morning we had a small spill of oil in the river.  Details are still flowing in and the Coast Guard are responding, but so… Read more »

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Rio’s Toxic Olympic Waters

Every two years the Olympic Games roll around and we are treated to endless commentary and an amazingly small amount of actual sport (at least on NBC Universal Channels that have a stranglehold on U.S. broadcasts via their $7.75 billion contract).  Outside of the NBC hype machine, we have seen a pattern in recent years of… Read more »

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Refugio Oil Spill History: Timeline Part 1

The one-year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill has brought with it a raft of renewed interest in this oil spill and the consequences as we now see them.  We’ve done a good deal of media over the last couple of weeks.  Add to that plenty of breaking stories from all quarters (often speaking to… Read more »

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Refugio Spill Public Lecture

A few weeks ago saw me up in Simi Valley speaking to folks from young to old about what began last May 19 at Refugio Beach.  I always enjoy giving one of our monthly installment of the CSU Channel Islands Library Lecture Series, an array of public lectures held across Ventura County open to all comers.  This presentation had… Read more »

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ExxonMobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Deception

Lipstick on a Pig? It appears to be no coincidence that ExxonMobil has recently released a new series of beautiful and very slick TV and online ads implying that they are all about innovation and very interested in alternative energies.  (Their most recent releases are below:) Reality is far from the images portrayed in this… Read more »

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This Toxic Tar

Spoiler Alert: Our experiments are showing tar balls washing up on our beaches to be toxic to our local sand crabs.  If you are looking for that info, scroll to the Tar’s Toxicity heading at bottom of this post.  If you want get a brief primer on Ecotoxicology, then start right here… A brief history of poisons: French… Read more »

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Oil Seeps 101

We have been getting lots of inquires about this crazy tarballing going on across Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.  I thought I would give a quick overview of tar balls in our part of the world; the Southern California Bight. Oil Seeps In Our History Oil has been deep underground for millions of… Read more »

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The worth of our Beaches

Sandy Beaches are everything to us here in Southern California, a central pillar of both our cultural identity and economic engine.  They are where we birthed surf culture (on beaches like Huntington and Surfrider), invented beach volleyball (on beaches like Manhattan Beach and Redondo), trained our young people to fight the axis powers of WWII… Read more »