RICK STEINER served as a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska from 1980-2010, stationed in the Arctic, Prince William Sound, and Anchorage. He was responsible for the University's conservation and sustainability extension effort, and was producer/host of the Alaska Resource Issues Forum, a public television program on controversial natural resource issues. He advised the emergency response to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989 and helped found the Regional Citizens Advisory Councils and the Prince William Sound Science Center. He advises the UN, governments, NGOs, and industry on oil spill prevention, response, assessment, and restoration.
Steiner learned about oil spills the hard way -- in Valdez Harbor. He learned about academic politics the same way, losing federal grant funding for outspoken criticism of the oil industry.
I like it when someone does something better than they have to, or takes stands or risks they don't have to take. RICK STEVES has a comfortable business and a comfortable place in our culture and media. He helps people learn how to make travel less stressful and more enjoyable. But in TRAVEL AS A POLITICAL ACT, he sticks his neck out. He has traveled to and written about Iran, El Salvador, Turkey, for instance, in ways that challenge what passes for conventional wisdom. Of course, conventional wisdom is often a contradiction in terms, conventional meaning parochial, provincial, small minded, with little possibility of wisdom. Not only that, STEVES serves on the board of NORML and has given keynote speeches calling for legalization of marijuana.
Though RICK STEVES received degrees at the University of Washington, his real education came in Europe - since 1973 he's spent four months a year there. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a suitcase has shaped his thinking. Today he produces Europe Through the Back Door guidebooks, a travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a syndicated weekly column.