The Council is scheduled to hold a Board meeting on Thursday and Friday, September 17 and 18, 2020. The decision was made by the Board to hold the meeting through virtual attendance only, by video/teleconference.
The meeting schedule and agenda will be released the week prior as usual. Information on how to join the teleconference will be provided at that time.
Both Council offices (Anchorage and Valdez) are temporarily closed as a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council staff are conducting business remotely. All other Council meetings are being offered via teleconference only. Information on how to join meetings can be found in individual meeting announcements or by contacting staff.
The health and safety of Council staff and volunteers are our top priority and will drive decisions as the situation evolves and more information becomes available.
We believe that the coronavirus pandemic has a lot in common with an oil spill in terms of the impact on the mental health of the community. Many of the elements that make an oil spill so challenging also apply to the current COVID-19 crisis, such as the high level of uncertainty, ambiguity, and blame.
Although the Council is not involved with response for the current crisis, we want to make relevant resources known and available.
The Council assisted in developing extensive community support resources in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. These resources were then shared, used, and updated during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill.
If we were dealing with an oil spill emergency, the Council would most likely be out front offering educational programs to help mitigate the stress and degradation of mental health in our communities. In the COVID-19 public health emergency, other organizations are better suited to help. We hope this information is useful to you.
What is peer listening?
Research shows that many of the people who are affected by disasters are reluctant to use traditional mental health services. One alternative treatment that has been found to be particularly effective is peer counseling. Through special training in listening skills, anger management, depression, and other family problems, peer listeners have a unique opportunity to assist their family and friends with ongoing concerns. Peer listeners may work with local church or community groups as a resource for persons in need. Or, they may work directly with mental health agencies as additional sources of support. Finally, they may be available informally to family and friends, as someone who will listen and may be able to offer some direction.
Coping With Technological Disasters: One finding after the Exxon Valdez spill is that technological, or man-made, disasters have a more toxic and long-lasting impact on communities than natural disasters. Different support for recovery is needed. The current pandemic shares many similarities with a technological disaster in terms of the impact on individuals and communities. Resources to help communities, including our award-winning guidebook, can be found in our Coping With Technological Disasters materials.
The Council works to educate Exxon Valdez region youth about the environmentally safe operation of the Alyeska terminal and associated tankers. Working with area youth is vital to fight complacency that can arise if new generations of citizens are not continually reminded of the need for ongoing oil spill prevention.
To support this effort, the Council is inviting proposals for facilitating learning experiences with Exxon Valdez oil spill region youth.