Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Seeing GreenThe Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Finis Dunaway

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169903

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169934.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 31 July 2021

The Sudden Violence of the Exxon Valdez

The Sudden Violence of the Exxon Valdez

Chapter:
(p.223) Fourteen The Sudden Violence of the Exxon Valdez
Source:
Seeing Green
Author(s):

Finis Dunaway

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226169934.003.0014

This chapter examines media imagery of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The pathos-inducing pictures of oil-soaked creatures contrasted with the image of Exxon as ruthless despoiler of the Alaskan wilderness. Still, the visual media reduced the complex dynamics of energy policy and environmentalism to easily understood tropes of blackened beaches and doomed wildlife. While Exxon complained that the coverage preyed on spectator feelings to malign the corporation, environmentalists such as Murray Bookchin and Bill McKibben believed that the emotional power of oil spill imagery also worked to obscure other environmental crises in the making. Even as scientific theories of global warming gained increasing acceptance, the long-term risks of fossil-fuel dependency, including the slow, systemic violence of climate change, seemed far removed from the wreckage of Exxon Valdez. While some environmentalists warned of these long-term, accretive dangers, dominant views of the spill underwrote the green consumerist strategy of boycotting Exxon, an effort to punish this clearly identifiable agent for its environmental sins. As with the Alar crisis, this campaign presented the market as a promising realm for environmental politics, a way for green consumers to protest the sudden violence of the oil spill.

Keywords:   Exxon Valdez, oil spill, Alaska, sudden violence, slow violence, Murray Bookchin, Bill McKibben, boycott, emotions

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.