Black tides of spilled oil pollute the world's coasts with depressing regularity, giving scientists ample opportunity to observe their environmental impacts and learn how to clean up and restore the affected shorelines. Miles O. Hayes has been a leader in this work for over twenty years. In this highly readable autobiography, he describes his evolution as a scientist, his work in coastal oil spill contingency planning and clean up, and his personal philosophy of one's relationship with nature.
A skilled raconteur, Hayes tells engrossing stories of responding to most of the recent, headline-grabbing oil spills, including the Gulf War spills, the Exxon Valdez, the Amoco Cadiz spill in France, and the Ixtoc I blowout in Mexico. Interspersed among them are personal events and adventures, such as his survival of a plane crash while mapping a remote part of Alaska. From this life story emerges a compelling statement of the ongoing conflict between environmental preservation and the exploitation of natural resources to sustain our modern society.