From 1980–2010, Rick Steiner was as a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska, stationed in the Arctic (Kotzebue 1980-1982), Prince William Sound (Cordova 1983-1997), and Anchorage (1997-2010). He conducted the university’s conservation extension effort in Alaska and globally, working to find solutions in energy and climate change, marine conservation, offshore oil and environment, habitat protection, endangered species protection, and sustainable development.
As the University of Alaska's marine advisor for the Prince William Sound region of Alaska from 1983-1997, he provided leadership in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, proposed and helped establish the Regional Citizens Advisory Councils, the Prince William Sound Science Center, and the billion dollar legal settlement between Exxon and the government with which much of the coastline of the oil spill region was protected. And he worked on oil issues in Pakistan, China, Russia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Shetland, central Asia, and the Gulf of Mexico. He resigned his faculty position in early 2010, after the university terminated his federal funding due to his public criticisms and concerns about the oil industry, in particular the risks of offshore drilling.
Today, he conducts the Oasis Earth project (www.oasis-earth.com) –- a global consultancy working with NGOs, governments, industry, and civil society to speed the transition to an environmentally sustainable society. Oasis Earth conducts Rapid Assessments for NGOs in developing nations on critical conservation challenges, reviews environmental assessments, and conducts fully developed studies. Steiner presents Oasis Earth: Planet in Peril to audiences around the world, a presentation on the global environmental crisis and urgently needed solutions, using over 500 images from the UNEP International Photographic Competition for the Environment and NASA images of Earth from space. He continues to work on oil and environment issues, including oil spill prevention, response preparedness, damage assessment, and restoration. His primary focus is now on ecological habitat and biodiversity conservation; establishing Citizens Advisory Councils to advise industry and government; conservation finance; and extractive industry and environment issues, particularly oil, gas, and mining, in the Arctic and globally. Oasis Earth seeks to persuade government, industry, and civil society of the urgency of the global environment crisis, and the necessary regional solutions, particularly in government policy to incentivize sustainability.
Oasis Earth and Professor Steiner are available to assist NGOs, governments, industry, and civil society in speeding their transition to sustainability.
He lives in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife, environmental writer Marybeth Holleman.