Cover Image
close this bookThe Long Road to Recovery: Community Responses to Industrial Disaster (UNU, 1996, 307 pages)
close this folder8 The Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska
close this folderThe oil spill: Community impact
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentPsychological, social, and cultural impacts
View the documentThe villages
View the documentTown responses

(introductory text...)

Like the earthquake that was followed by a series of tsunamis, the oil spill was followed by a series of metaphorical tsunamis of the emotions. It became a media event with powerful, disturbing images, especially of oiled birds and sea otters (Davis 1990).

The section that follows draws on many kinds of data: (a) community-specific accounts by sociologists and anthropologists (Araji 1990a, 1990b, 1991, 1993); (b) corporate, state, and federal reports (US GAO 1989, 1991b); (c) selected media coverage; as well as (d) my own research on the ferry Tustemena (7-14 May 1989) and in seven communities during July and August 1989 (Davis 1989b). Some conclusions are also based on observations made while living in Anchorage during most of the first four years following the oil spill.