The BP Catastrophe and the Human Condition: Lessons from the Exxon Valdez” Forum at USABC

Dr. J. Steven Picou will present “Recovering from the BP Gulf Oil Disaster – Lessons Learned from the Exxon Valdez,” on August 6, as part of a continuing series of forums hosted by the University of South Alabama Baldwin County.  Picou said he will be discussing the 20 year impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on communities in Alaska.   “And, we will be drawing similarities to Gulf Coast communities in terms of the impacts of the BP catastrophe to date,” he said. 

In regards to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, Picou said he is looking at how corrosive communities form from technological disasters, and how we can foster the development of therapeutic communities.  One example of how to develop therapeutic communities is by employing peer listener training and other outreach strategies that were developed in communities in Alaska.  Picou said he will be discussing the resources and strategies available to communities along the Gulf Coast for mitigating long term economic, social and psychological impact. 

Picou is Professor of Sociology, and Past Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at the University of South Alabama.  Picou is currently directing research projects on Community Recovery from The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, funded by the National Science Foundation and Long Term Social Impacts of Hurricane Katrina, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  He is the co-editor of The Exxon Valdez Disaster:Readings On a Modern Social Problem: Kendall Hunt 1997 reprinted by IA Publishers, 2008, and The Sociology of Katrina: Perspectives On a Modern Catastrophe:2nd Edition Rowman Littlefield 2010.

Picou has published four books and over 100 articles and book chapters.   He has received over two million dollars in grant funding since his appointment at the University of South Alabama from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Center for Field Research, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and in 2008 was the recipient of the William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award.   In 2001, Dr. Picou received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.  He received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and has held academic and research appointments at Ohio State University and Texas A&M University.  Picou has research interests in environmental sociology, applied sociology and disasters.

The forum will be held on Friday, August 6, at 6 p.m. in the USABC’s Performance Center located at 111 St. James Ave., in Fairhope, AL.  The event is free, open to the public, and is first come, first served.  For more information, please visit http://www.myusabc.com, e-mail usabc@usouthal.edu, or call (251) 928-8133. 

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