Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

WATCH: Riki Ott Explains the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Democracy Now!

Dr. Riki Ott, an Exxon Valdez survivor, marine toxicologist, fisherma’am, and author of Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill sits with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! to discuss the significance of the Exxon Valdez twenty years after the disaster.

Here is a partial transcript:

Amy: Where were you March 24th, 1989?

Riki: I was in bed! I heard this knocking on my door at seven o’clock in the morning, and I thought, “What in the world?!” because I live half a mile up and people actually had to hike in. And I went rushing down and there was the acting director of the fisherman’s union and he just said, “We’ve had the big one.” …I knew exactly what he meant. Amy: What were you doing then? What was your job? Riki: I was working, I was on the board of the fisherman’s union, and I was assigned the oil issues. Amy: …And you were in Cordova? Riki: I was in Cordova. Amy: So what did you see when you went outside? Riki:  I flew. I had to fly over it. It was about 70 miles away. And we flew in this plane and it was a surreal scene. It was just drop-dead gorgeous. March sunrise. Pink mountains glistening with the sunrise, and all of a sudden we come on this scene where there’s this red deck of an oil tanker that’s three-football-fields long in flat, calm water, dark blue. And there’s this inky black stain that’s just stretching with the tide. Amy: What did you do? Riki: We did a marine mammal survey right off the bat. We knew it wouldn’t be calm weather very long. We went to Valdez to refuel, and that’s when it hit me: What am I gonna do about this? And I remember this question popped into my mind, “I know enough to make a difference. Do I care enough?” And I decided that yes, I did care. This was my home. I’d lived there for four years now already, and I’d totally fallen in love with the area, the people, the lifestyle. And I decided to step up and make a difference….

Related Posts:


5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

Uncovering the Many Uses for Abundant Kudzu

As Invasive Species Week comes to a close, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,  share alternative approaches to understanding and managing Kudzu. Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye […] Read More..

Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Oxeye Daisy and check out tips for working with Garlic […] Read More..

How to Manage Invasive Thistle and Improve Your Soil

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on two variations of Thistle and check out tips for working […] Read More..