– originally published on “The Recovery Room” 12 July 2010
Long overdue progress update. What a bad blogger I am. I do have a few good excuses though. I know, I know, excuses are like @$%holes, everybody has one. Here they are anyway.
Good Excuse #1: I’ve been feverishly working on full-length articles and query letters pertaining to various oil spill topics that stemmed directly from my visit to Louisiana. I haven’t been feeding them to my trusty blog because many news agencies don’t like recycled material. Alternative news agencies (The Huffington Post, AlterNet, Slate, Salon.com, and The Nation) are my target publications because, in the words of The Big Lebowski cowboy, “I like your [their] style Dude.” I’m hoping that they’ll dig mine too and we can help each other out. I love my blog due to the unedited free reign and I especially love all of you whom legitimize all of the time I spend on this mania but the traffic is sparse. I have information that I think is important to a wider audience than just friends and family. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not excluding my most faithful readers. I have every intention of posting links to articles published elsewhere. You’ll be the first to know! I would pitch to conservation organizations but preaching to the choir just isn’t getting enough done. The vast majority of folks that visit those types of publications are already aware and doing what they can. My aim is to reach out to a greater swathe of the public and inform them of the choices, responsibilities, treasures, and trash heaps that lie beyond the scope of mass media journalism.
Good Excuse #2: As for my three work options on the Gulf Coast…things got complicated. Option 1 was to return as a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries employee. I declined that post citing the desire to pursue option 2. Option 2 was to work on a bird radio telemetry project with Entrix. My last phone conversation with the human resources person at Entrix lead me to believe that they were “99.9% percent certain that they would like to hire me for that project.” After leaving three phone messages and as many e-mailings since we last spoke, I’m starting to wonder what he was basing that 99.9% on. That percentage seems to have inverted as I am left with no stable work opportunities on the Gulf Coast. Option 3 was to return as a freelance journalist. This option is complicated by the lack of finances as well as safety issues.
While I’ve been trying to figure out this whole “real job” thing I’ve been wrestling with some other issues as well. The main one is of personal safety. A few people that I know who have been covering the scene in Louisiana continuously have fallen ill. Various respiratory aliments have caused them to take leaves of absence from the Gulf Coast and have drastically slowed the pace of their work. Upon researching the probable cause of these ailments, oil dispersants pop out of the past in electric neon. Spills as far back as the IXTOC-I near Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1979 have had the same track record for dispersant linked human illness. Studies from the Exxon Valdez spill point definitively to dispersant ingredients in long-term illnesses of many clean-up workers. Dispersants are one of the subjects that have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks. More to come on Corexit, its nefarious past and present, and how we can change its course into the future. You can also expect to see more about birds, turtles, wildlife transloactions, migration, erosion, and a few other tricks I have up my sleeve. I’ll keep you all posted on any publications that arise. Many thanks, Nicole.