Environmental activist and marine expert to speak on Gulf oil spill at TROY

Posted: Thursday, 02 September 2010

TROY, Ala.—Nationally known author, activist and public speaker Dr. Riki Ott will present “The Gulf Oil Spill: Exxon Valdez Revisited?” at Troy University on Sept. 22.

The lecture, which is open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms, and includes a question-and-answer session immediately following Dr. Ott’s presentation. It is sponsored by the Environmental Club, the Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“The Gulf oil spill is our modern day ‘Exxon Valdez,” only more than an order of magnitude larger,” said Dr. Michael Stewart, Eminent Scholar in Agriculture and Management and professor of biological science at the University who is coordinating the event.

“The oil spill has tremendous impact on our region, occurring in a time of high unemployment and economic crisis,” he said. “Its impact on the biology of region is largely unknown, but if similarities with the Exxon Valdez are real, we will be dealing with the effects for years into the future.”

Dr. Ott is a community activist, a former commercial salmon “fisherm’am,” and has a degree in marine toxicology with a specialty in oil pollution. She experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

A resident of Cordova, Alaska, she is the author of “Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill” and “Not One Drop: Promises, Betrayal, and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill” (Chelsea Green, 2008). She is also the founder of three nonprofit organizations that deal with lingering harm from man-made environmental disaster.

“Dr. Ott will put the Gulf oil spill into historical perspective while discussing similarities with that of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Her first-hand experience helps illuminate corporate responsibility and the impact such a disaster has on the people and biota of the Gulf region,” Dr. Stewart said.