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Environmental Researcher or Adrenaline Junkie: Sailing Through Changing Research Directions

2008 July 9

About the author: Sandy Raimondo is a research ecologist with the Office of Research and Development in Gulf Breeze, FL. She joined EPA in 2003 and models potential effects of toxicants on organisms and populations.

Sandy and dog on boatA few months ago I joined a crew on a sailboat that competes in the local yacht club races. I’ve never been a huge water person, much more of a mountaineer than a sailor, but since I live on the Gulf coast I decided to harness the side of nature that’s in my backyard rather than dwell on what wasn’t. Since moving here I’ve given sea kayaking a whirl and tried to learn how to surf, but sailing definitely suits me better – I don’t eat sand nearly as much as I did trying to surf, and my body thanks me for it. But it’s also the invigoration that goes along with a boat keeled on its side, cutting through the water, powered by something that you can’t see. Or maybe it’s the Jimmy Buffet.

Anyway, sometimes I think environmental research is a lot like sailing. Not in the sense that it’s a breeze, or that you sit in your little vessel and let something else push you a long, although sometimes you actually do get to move downwind and head straight toward your goal. But much more often you have to tack back and forth against the wind, constantly changing directions to get to your eventual finish. But since the finish is a buoy, it’s not really concretely fastened. These days, new environmental challenges blow in before we can address the ones that popped up last year. Its one of those things that might be frustrating if all you want to do is sail downwind. But if you like the adrenaline rush of hanging off the side of the boat to keep yourself level while your direction and speed are determined by which way the wind is blowing, then environmental research is a good place to be.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. cole permalink
    July 12, 2008

    Hey, this is the only place I found I could leave a comment,
    (if anyone reads it or not!) this greenhouse gas/Bush thing is
    just sad, makes me embarassed to be an American. I would
    leave, except they’re tightening up regs. in Canada and heard
    they don’t even accept immigants in New Zealand, two primo
    places. Guess I’ll just send tampons to all @ EPA, since they
    change their research, minds, and results whenever the fuhrer
    throws a hissy fit. (A lame-duck fuhrer at that, been lame since
    the begining.)

  2. Harry Duff permalink
    March 24, 2012

    Nice blog.We must be compassionate for the others in every aspect of life.And we should not always look upon the dark side of the picture. We must be optimistic and try to figure out the reasons if something annoys us or make unhappy.Thanks for sharing the ideas.

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