Just Below the Surface was developed in partnership with members of Portland to Gulf Coast, a group of concerned Oregonians who traveled to the Gulf Coast shortly after the pipe was sealed. The group went with the goal of building meaningful relationships and bringing home informed stories of lives and systems impacted by the disaster. They continue to meet and work together to create tools, such as this one, to inspire more sustainable choices everywhere. You can learn more about their work at www.PDX2GulfCoast.com.


Mapping Activity

Mock Trial Instructions
Mock Trial Lesson Plan
What You Can Do


Discussion Questions

“7 Days in a Catastrophe” by Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated, July 10, 2010

  1. What new information or insights have you gained from this reading?
  2. Gary Smith wonders about the use of language in describing the Deepwater Horizon Story –for instance, calling cleanup boats “Vessels of Opportunity.”   How do you think language affected the public’s understanding and response to the event?
  3. Gary Smith asks repeatedly “What does this have to do with sports?”  Do you agree with his conclusion? Explain.
  4.  The author meets a monk who says “Now is not the time for blame… that is wasted time.  Involve yourself. Do what you can.”’   How are you going to involve yourself?


“The Gulf Between Us” by Terry Tempest Williams, Published in the November/December 2010 issue of Orion magazine

  1. What struck you most in the stories Terry Tempest Williams shares?
  2. What  information about the extent or impact of the spill and cleanup was significant to you?
  3. Terry Tempest Williams writes, “The blowout from the Maconda Well has created a terminal condition: denial.”  Do you agree?  Why or why not?
  4. The author holds us all accountable for the spill and the changes that are necessary to save our planet.  What do you think is the most significant change you can take in response to this event?