There are so many people to thank for their commitment, encouragement, and patience along the way. First, the editorial team at Macmillan Reference
Boats approaching the oil-covered beach of Green Island, Alaska, following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. See Disasters: Chemical Accidents and Spills; Disasters: Oil Spills; History; Industry; Mass Media; Petroleum. (©Natalie Fobes/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)
USA and the Gale Group. In particular, my thanks to Hélène Potter for her unflinching support, and to Marie-Claire Antoine, Michael J. McGandy, Shawn Corridor, Patti Brecht, and Frank Castronova. Their gracious patience, from the initial vision through searching for just the right authors to the endless tweaking of content, has been a much-appreciated constant. No one, of course, has been more patient than my wife, Andrea, and son, Matthew, who forgave me so many nights at the computer.
I trace my appreciation for the environment to growing up on a small New England dairy farm. To work the land is to connect with it; the intimate relationship between air, water, land, and life is seen every aspect of life. I have left the land behind now, both figuratively—I work in the city—and literally—for relaxation, we sail. It is the sailing that now seeds me with the environment, and it is a bittersweet connection. We sail by the grace of nature, propelled by balancing the forces of wind and water. But we sail in a nature disgraced by humans. To depart the harbor, we must first breach the
trash line, a floating windrow of plastic bottles, styrofoam cups, paper trash, old tires and worse. And the return means putting the clear ocean sky behind us to head instead for the orange-brown smudge that heralds yet another urban ozone-alert day.
My son, Matthew, is thirteen as I write this. He and his generation are making their own connections with the environment. My hope is that the information presented here will in some small way help them to be better stewards than their parents were.
Richard M. Stapleton
Petroleum storage tanks, New Haven, Connecticut. See Industry; Petroleum. (©David Zimmerman/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)
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