Department of Communication, the College of the Environment, University Libraries, and the Master of Communication in Digital
Media at the
University of Washington
SEAchange: From Exxon Valdez to Deepwater Horizon
Tales of Environmental Disaster, Justice, and Recovery
with Lessons for Puget Sound
Saturday, April 2, 2011
8:30am - 5:30pm
One year ago last April, the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico inspired citizens, scientists, engineers, lawyers, and others to
fill what they saw as an information vacuum, while federal officials and
mainstream media outlets struggled to accurately tell a story that
amplified and morphed at breakneck speed. Newly influential
storytellers, along with enterprising journalists and government
agencies, used YouTube, Twitter, compelling visuals, cutting-edge
science, blogs, and humor to make sense of a complicated set of events.
Twenty-two years ago this April, in a very different media era,
another disastrous oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
In the two decades between these events, lawyers, environmental
advocates, journalists, and researchers have told the story of the Exxon
Valdez spill in varying degrees of depth and with a range of tools —
from news articles, legal briefs, and documentaries to scholarly
investigations and public art exhibits.
What do the narrative
responses produced by these two disasters tell us about the powerful
ties between storytelling, our environment, and social justice? What
lessons from the 20th Century are useful for people who are still
working to tell the story of the BP DeepWater Horizon blowout and its
ensuing oil spill in the 21st Century? On the anniversaries of both
spills, what can we learn about the stewardship of Puget Sound?
Join this important conversation. SEAchange 2011 will feature scientists, fishermen, technologists, chefs, community leaders, and a
multitude of interdisciplinary thinkers and doers for a refreshing day
of shared learning. At stake are ecosystems and public health,
professional livelihoods, government and media credibility, and deep
notions of justice and responsibility. Help explore how we as a society
of modern consumers confront the many environmental ills that all of us
have a hand in creating.
Richard Harris, National Public Radio
Shirley Laska, University of New Orleans
Doug Helton, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bill Rodgers, University of Washington
Kevin Davis , Blueacre Seafood
Tom Leschine, University of Washington
Bob Pavia, University of Washington
Fred Felleman, WAVE Consulting
Usha Lee McFarling, University of Washington
Our main stage features many
nationally recognized speakers who have dealt directly with these spills
and their widespread environmental, economic and emotional fallout. At
the same time, we’ll have a variety of more intimate conversations and
multimedia presentations where you can delve deeply into your specific
areas of interest.
Meals and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.
Reception to follow.
Join the conversations. Engage in this conference on our Social 27 platform.
Registration will be capped at 300. Please register early to hold your seat.
SEAchange is held in the UW Libraries Research Commons, a newly
developed space that fosters research conversation and collaboration
and is meeting a new set of student and faculty needs that are emerging
growth of data-driven research, digital scholarship and
LOCATION OF RESEARCH COMMONS:
Coming from the north
From I-5 southbound, take the NE 45th Street exit (#169). Turn left
onto NE 45th Street. Continue east about one quarter mile to 15th Avenue
NE and turn right. Head south on 15th Avenue three blocks to NE 41st
Street. Turn left at Gate #1 into the Central Plaza Garage. Stop at the
gatehouse inside the garage for directions and a parking permit.
Coming from the south
Drive northbound on I-5 (do not use the express lanes), and take the
NE 45th Street exit (#169). Turn right onto NE 45th Street. Continue
east about one quarter mile to 15th Avenue NE and turn right. Head south
on 15th Avenue three blocks to NE 41st Street. Turn left at Gate #1
into the Central Plaza Garage. Stop at the gatehouse inside the garage
for directions and a parking permit.
Coming from the east
Coming from the east use State Route 520. Take the Montlake Boulevard
exit. Continue north on Montlake Blvd. and cross the drawbridge. At the
first traffic light after the bridge, turn left onto NE Pacific Street.
Proceed west on NE Pacific to 15th Avenue NE. Turn right and head north
on 15th Avenue to NE 41st Street where Gate #1 is located. Turn right
into the Central Plaza Garage. Stop at the gatehouse inside the garage
for directions and a parking permit.
SEAchange 2011 is a Four Peaks Bridge Event
8:30 am: David
Domke & Lisa Graumlich, UW Welcome/Overview - Main Stage
9-945am: Broken Promises - The Legacy of Exxon Valdez - Bill Rodgers, UW Law School
Keeping Watch Over the Sea (NANOOS)
What a Rock Can Tell Us
Measuring the Flow
Reinvigorating an 'Oiled' Culture and the Role of Media
10-10:45am: Deepwater Horizon - Making Sense of Chaos - Richard Harris, NPR
Media Literacy: Who Posted This?
Forecasting Oil Flow
The Dark Side of Dispersants
A Fisherman's Perspective
11-11:45am: Meeting the Needs of the Communities While Meeting the Needs of the Media:
Encouraging 'Robust' Journalism - Shirley Laska and Kris Peterson, University of New Orleans
The Making of "Oil Literacy"
Managing a Torrent of Information
How Safe Is Your Seafood?
Treaty Tribal Views -- Not Just the Cost of Doing Business
12-1pm: LUNCH and FILM SCREENING in ALLEN AUDITORIUM: Hindsight and Foresight: 20 Years After the Exxon
Valdez Oil Spill with Gary Shigenaka
1-1:45pm: Deepwater Horizon: Crisis Science in the Media Spotlight - Doug Helton, NOAA,
Tom Leschine and Bob Pavia, UW
Sea Turtle SOS
Will the Real BP Please Stand Up?
How Vulnerable Is Puget Sound?
Telling the Story of Being 'Oiled'
2-2:45pm: Putting Food on the Table: Do Oil and Seafood Mix? - Kevin Davis, Steelhead Diner & Blueacre Seafood
Visualizing an Oil Spill in Puget Sound
A Harbormaster's View
Seagrass and Seabirds as Sentinals
Who Speaks for the Oceans?
3-4pm: Two Decades of Spills: Lessons Learned and Improvements Made in Washington Waters - Main Stage
Keeping Watch Over the Sea: NANOOS The
first defense against oil spills -- or any of a number of assaults on
the seas -- is the nation’s linked collection of powerful ocean
observing systems. Join Jan Newton, an oceanographer at the Applied
Physics Laboratory and executive director of the Northwest Association
of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, or NANOOS as she describes this
powerful -- and visually compelling -- system to safeguard our waters. http://www.nanoos.org/
Telling the story of being 'oiled' : Representatives of Native American coastal Louisiana communities.
Join Rosina Philippe, Theresa Dardar, Gigi Ancar, and Donielle Ancar-Brinkley as
they describe their experiences and the plights of their communities
during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Will the real BP please stand up?: Join
comedy writer Josh Simpson, who created the sardonic twitter feed @
BPGlobalPR that has drawn more than 176,000 followers -- 150,000 more
than BP’s real twitter feed. The disarming tweets are difficult to
distinguish from real statements made by former BP CEO Tony Hayward that
angered so many in the Gulf. Simpson will discuss the creation of his
twitter stream, the huge public response to it, and the evolution of the
feed into a fundraising effort that has has raised thousands for Gulf
A Fisherman’s Perspective: Join
Jeff Stonehill, who formed one of Alaska’s first salmon cooperatives in
1982 only to see the fishery decimated by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Stonehill will describe the spill’s effects on his own life and
Forecasting oil flow: When
the extent of the Deepwater Horizon spill became clear, fishing
captains, residents and tourists all clamored for information about
where the oil was headed and where and when it would hit land. Join
NOAA’s Debbie Payton as she discusses the difficulties of “forecasting”
oil flow and then getting this complex and uncertain information to the
public in a timely and understandable way.
Sea turtle SOS: Some
of the most compelling of the many animals harmed by the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill were the sea turtles of the Gulf of Mexico. Join Gary
Shigenaka, a marine biologist from NOAA, as he describes how 500 turtles
were rescued and rehabilitated from oil-slicked and burning waters and
how their critical nesting habitats were also saved.
How safe is your seafood?: Join
Usha Varanasi, retired Science and Research Director of NOAA Fisheries'
Northwest Fisheries Science Center and affiliate professor of the UW
College of the Environment whose work on seafood safety was instrumental
during the Exxon Valdez spill and John Stein, acting Science and
Research Director of NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center,
and Head of NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Seafood Safety Program.
They will discuss how scientists determine whether fish and other
seafood is safe to eat after an oil spill incident, the complexities of
communicating this information and what the outlook is for Gulf seafood
Seagrass and Seabirds as Sentinels: Join
Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria of UW’s Friday Harbor Lab to discuss what
seagrass can tell us about the health of our waters and the educational
programs he is developing. Kate Litle and Julia Parrish of UW’s College
of the Environment will discuss their extremely successful program
Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) that employs citizen
scientists to find and report dead seabirds along the Washington
coastline in an effort to monitor the environmental health of Puget
Visualizing an Oil Spill in Puget Sound: Join
NOAA’s Gary Shigenaka as he examines exciting visualization technologies that can
show where and how far oil could flow in various spill scenarios in the
Treaty Tribal Views -- Not just the cost of doing business: Join
Chad Bowechop, the Pacific Northwest Makah Tribe representative for the
Region 10 Response Team, as he discusses the history of Pacific
Northwest oil spills that had direct and lasting impact on indigenous
communities. (With Fred Felleman)
How Vulnerable is Puget Sound?: Join
Todd Hass, oil spill policy specialist, of the Puget Sound Partnership,
and Thomas Callahan, Response Manager for the Washington State Maritime
Cooperative, for a look at oil spill vulnerabilities as well as
prevention and preparedness measures unique to Puget Sound -- with its
high level of tank vessel traffic, confined spaces and numerous islands.
The discussion will include looking at lessons we here in Washington
State can take from the President’s Commission on the BP Deepwater
Horizon oil spill.
Measuring the Flow:
Join Alberto Aliseda, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering
at the University of Washington as he describes how he and UW colleague
James Riley used cutting edge visualization techniques -- with no time
to lose -- in an effort to help the government determine the amount of
oil flowing from the destroyed Deepwater Horizon oil rig. With Richard
Reinvigorating an 'oiled' culture and the role of the media:
Join Patience Faulkner, an Alaska native from Cordova and board member
of The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, who
will discuss how minority communities are challenged in their
visibility before a disaster event such as a major oil spill, are often
used as “props” by the media during disaster coverage and then rapidly
become invisible once again.
The Dark Side of Dispersants: Join
Steve Gilbert, from UW Public Health for a discussion of toxins, with
particular emphasis on the use of dispersants in the clean up effort for
the Deepwater Horizon spill. Gilbert is the the brainchild behind
www.toxipedia.org, a moderated wiki website that provides a venue for
scientists, environmental health experts, students, and citzens at large
to pool their knowledge for public consumption and benefit.
What a rock can tell us:
Join Alan Mearns, a senior staff scientist with NOAA’s emergency
response division. Mearns conducts long-term monitoring of Puget Sound
and oiled and unoiled shorelines in Prince William Sound, where he has
been studying the unusual alternating cycles of mussels, seaweeds, clams
and barnacles on a large boulder now known as Mearn’s rock. Mearns will
also discuss what mussels and sediments can tell us about thhistory of
pollution in Puget Sound -- information that is both surprising and
Oil Literacy: Join
students Kari Plog and Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath of the Pacific
Lutheran University MediaLab as they show clips from and discuss their
year-long effort to create their award winning film “Oil Literacy,”
which examines the role the environment, industry, and governments play
in North America’s oil industry.
A Harbormaster’s View:
Join Tami Allen, harbormaster of Bainbridge Island to hear about her
journey to the Gulf this summer to help clean five barrier islands off
the Louisiana coast. She’ll share the story of this massive undertaking
and discuss how the experience is helping her and her colleagues
prepare for and mitigate future spills that could occur here.
Media Literacy - Who posted this?: Join Sarah
Stuteville and Jessica Partnow, founders of the Common Language
Project, as they present a media literacy training program that examines
the motivations and sources behind videos, blogs, social networking
sites and other forms of media about BP and the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill, showing how public relations efforts and advertisements often
posed as more independent sources of information.
Managing a torrent of information: Join
Amy Merten, chief of the Spatial Data Branch for NOAA's Office of
Response and Restoration, as she describes the creation and use of
Geoplatform, a powerful new online tool that provided real-time
information for both responders and the public during the Deepwater
Horizon spill -- from the oil’s trajectory and fishery closures to the
status of vulnerable wildlife populations and deployed research ships. http://www.geoplatform.gov/gulfresponse/
Who speaks for the oceans?: Join Dr. Edward L. Miles, UW Professor of
Marine Affairs and Public Affairs for a discussion of the state of ocean
advocacy and what policies are in place to safeguard this realm that covers
71% of the planets surface and contains 97% of its water.