WATERSHED: "That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."
- John Wesley Powell
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Marco Morency is the front man for one of Canada’s most heartening stories of environmental redemption, having inherited a remarkable victory thanks to the work of his dogged predecessors. In 1967 a causeway was built across the Petitcodiac River just upstream from the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, severing its connection to the frothy and rambunctious tidal flows of the Bay of Fundy. The fish ladder installed in the causeway didn’t do its job. As a result, fish diversity plummeted and the river filled in fast from sediment below the causeway.
On Tuesday I interviewed Gregory Button at his house along the North edge of Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Button is the Director of the program in Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights and co-director of the center for the study of social justice at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
As someone who has studied the Exxon Valdez at length, as well as other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the TVA coal ash spill and now the BP disaster, Button provided us with a new and valuable perspective on these events, as you can see from our interview.
Few people are as qualified to comment on the true price that communities pay in the aftermath of an environmental disaster like the BP oil spill as Dr. Steven Picou. The insights provided by Picou's really gave shape to the voices of the wives, mothers, children and fishermen of the gulf coast that I have heard as I've explored this area in the aftermath of an environmental disaster.
Picou, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern Alabama, studied the community of Cordova, Alaska for twenty years after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. Today, this truly insightful world expert on