Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Gulf journals: Designers get their hands dirty

 

Four friends and designers were looking for away to give back over their summer break. With a simple goal of volunteering their time, the Pennsylvania and Maryland 20-somethings decided to pack their bags for a month and head south to the Mississippi Gulf to get their hands dirty and educate others on oil relief efforts.

 

The team of four, Brian Mezzi, Charles Beal, Erin Surrock and Dan Malihom, calls itself Designers Giving Back, or DGB, and that’s exactly what they do. DBG teamed up with United Way of South Mississippi and has been exploring the Gulf Coast for the past month volunteering with oil relief projects and using their design skills to document the oil disaster. They’ve been sharing their photos and stories through their blog and Twitter account in hopes of educating people on the situation in the Gulf. They believe that design can help solve the problem in the Gulf.

 

“Design itself solves problems. You have a problem and you come up with a design solution,” Surrock said.

 

Mezzi went to the Gulf last March on an alternative spring break program with United Way to help residents still affected by Katrina. It was Mezzi’s idea to return to the Gulf for a month to help with oil relief efforts. Mezzi recruited Beal, Surrock and Malihom to join him.

 

“We’d rather be doing something productive than just doing something, and I think that is what ties us all together,” Surrock said. “We find this work very rewarding. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a month.”

 

After a 22-hour drive, three of the designers arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi, on June 19 and Malihom arrived a week later by plane. As soon as they arrived, DGB started setting up volunteer response centers to help connect people with volunteer opportunities such as CostalWatch, where volunteers walk the beach and report oil to response units. During their time at the response centers, DGB sent the first iReport reporting on initial signs of oil in the Biloxi area. Just 24-hours later, the team returned to that same spot to find the beach was covered with oil and tar

 

“This is the first time we’ve seen oil and probably won’t be the last. It was a very weird feeling to be holding these objects and feel how sticky and thick the substance was. We can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an animal covered from head to toe in oil. Completely helpless,” Surrock wrote on the team’s blog.

 

Eventually DGB helped United Way hand over the response centers to AmeriCorps and the team went to work with the Audubon Society in Pascagoula, Mississippi, documenting the disaster in a short video they will produce for the society.

 

On countless drives from Ocean Springs to Long Beach to Waveland – all in Mississippi – the team documented what they saw on their blog, on Twitter and on iReport.

 

Today, the team prepared for the 22-hour drive back home. The were packing their bags and posting goodbyes on Twitter.

 

All four expressed hope that the Gulf will recover, but said they know it will take a lot of effort. DGB wants to create awareness of the disaster through their work so people will not forget about what is happening in the Gulf once the next big news event happens.

 

Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.

31 Comments
July 14, 2010
Click to view MDilshad's profile

Where is their design?

July 14, 2010
Click to view ryanp23's profile

yeah, I thought this would be something about this team coming up with a revolutionary/inventive method to clean up the oil.  Instead, it's just about 4 people volunteering to clean up the oil.  I'm not sure if CNN knows this, but there are thousands of people on the Gulf Coast already doing what these people did.

July 14, 2010
Click to view Brianpd's profile

It's the new generation's way of "making a difference" Blog, tweet, and post.  This is along the lines of when I wonder why there are so many photos taken of emergency response to natural disasters.  Put down your darn camera and give a helping hand!!

July 14, 2010
Click to view MDWilliams03's profile

@Brianpd....Coming from someone sitting on there a** reading about it.  Oh and Ryan...4 more people helping is definitely worth the story.  The more the better.

July 14, 2010
Click to view madstork891's profile

photos are needed. without photographers taking photos, people across the country wouldn't ever realize the magnitude of the disaster.  maybe since you dont have a camera you should go help brianpd.

July 14, 2010
Click to view mightymike27's profile

I agree with the first few comments.  I do not downplay the group's efforts, but the story is terrible.  Coverage with no content.  I still am unsure what their design is and how they 'got their hands dirty' other than setting coordinating volunteer sites through twitter.  Details CNN...your news is getting watered down.

July 14, 2010
Click to view 915PaulC's profile

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I think it's important to say that the situation in the Gulf is an ENGINEERING problem and requires an ENGINEERED DESIGN solution.  By no means do I approve of the way this disaster has been handled by 'the experts' nor am I attempting to trivialize the concern / contributions of others.  Since I happen to work in an engineering capacity, I felt compelled to point out that the notion of 'design' in this iReport seems slightly out of place.

July 14, 2010
Click to view Curryleaf's profile

“Design itself solves problems. You have a problem and you come up with a design solution,”.................

These are nice people, no doubt. But I have to point out a minor flaw with your reporting - what "design" are you all talking about?

Where is the "design"?

 

July 14, 2010
Click to view kecuarche's profile

ENGINEERING design is definitely what's needed.  I'm not quite understanding why they are so special compared to all the others helping out...

July 14, 2010
Click to view kecuarche's profile

By they, I mean the four people in the story, of course.  Not design engineers.

July 14, 2010
Click to view Kaleena's profile

I visited their website.  Personally, I think any help should be praised, and they definitely aren't taking all the credit.  If the new generation is deciding to step up and help in anyway at all, I think they should be praised for it.  Awareness is step number 1.  Keep up the good work, everyone.

July 14, 2010
Click to view SpinThis's profile

Well, at least they are successful in getting their 15 mins of fame.

July 14, 2010
Click to view medesigner's profile

Yes, please.

Someone tell us what the hell it is they design.

Is anyone reviewing these ireports before posting?

July 14, 2010
Click to view Egbok's profile

It's a fluff story - thats why there is so little substance to it.  

 

The reason it is a fluff story is because the media is working very hard to not talk about what is happening in the gulf.

 

This country is on the verge of a huge catastrophy.

July 14, 2010
Click to view hDamage's profile

As Designers they obviously felt the need to help solve "the problem" down in the gulf by lending a hand and raising awareness with social media. She was relating the crisis to the similar mentality of a Designer, and in this case the only solution was to organize relief and raise awareness. It caught cnn's attention, so great for them.

 

Hope this clears it up for you.

July 14, 2010
Click to view JamesBaud's profile

A great design is you help clean up the oil.Then you die young from all the chemicals that BP put in the oil.Help out all you want.

July 14, 2010
Click to view ccostello3's profile

Hello commenters,

I can clearly see that there is a misunderstanding about this blog post, and I would like to help make things clearer. What I understand from your comments is that you all are looking for a drawn out, direct solution to the disaster in the Gulf. Correct me if I'm wrong. Yes, these iReporters are designers, but they are using different design skill to help with the disaster. They are using their skills to produce photos and video of what is happening in the Gulf. Not all designing has to have a blueprint and a model. Their hope is that their photos and videos, which they display on their blog, Twitter and iReport will help educate people on what is going on, and that the people who see their work will want to help with the crisis in the Gulf, which would be the solution. I hope that this clears things up!

July 14, 2010
Click to view FreezeSukka's profile

@JamesBaud- Do you think BP is at the bottom of the damn ocean, inserting chemicals into the crude oil? This is about as pure an oil as you'll ever see. I swear... Numbnuts these days...

July 14, 2010
Click to view FreezeSukka's profile

@ccostello3- Designers can mean anything from "Fashion Designers" to "Industrial Engineering Designers" and everything in between. And since these four "designers" only walked the beaches, took a few pictures and then blogged about it, I take it they're of the more fruity, "fashion" designer types. This was a poorly written iReport in my opinion.

July 15, 2010
Click to view GreatScott1's profile

“Design itself solves problems. You have a problem and you come up with a design solution,” Sounds nice and idealistic, but extremely vague.  What "design" are they using to solve the world's problems and what does that really even mean?

July 15, 2010
Click to view GreatScott1's profile

After reading the comments I really don't think "design/designer" is the appropriate word.  A designer implies a specialized worker associated with production.

July 15, 2010
Click to view znad's profile

I never knew sharing photos and stories through the blog and Twitter was cosidered as design.

July 15, 2010
Click to view mootsiet's profile

you guys are all idiots. There are several fields of design. I happen to know that 2 of the guys are in fact industrial designers. You people need to get off your high horse and stop belittling people for trying to help in the best way they know how. They volunteered in the Gulf for a month! Did any of you do that? Did any of you take time out of your busy lives to go down there and help? I doubt it. So get a life and get over yourselves. these college students should be praised for offering the only thing that they have to offer - time and efforts. Not everyone can just wright a check to help themselves sleep at night.

July 15, 2010
Click to view trumpsahead's profile

Get a life! Okay, you got your 2 minutes in the spotlight . . . next please! Oh, Obama, you again? Hey Mikey, it's that Bama guy again, pain in the ass. Give him some beach oil to take home with him for show and tell.

 

July 15, 2010
Click to view medesigner's profile

@ccostello3 - I too am a designer.  A designer of buildings.

 

Loved the intent of the article but my comment was specific - WHAT DO THEY DESIGN?

July 15, 2010
Click to view 915PaulC's profile

@ccostello3,

 

After reading the profile for the group of volunteers in the report (Designers Giving Back), I think the confusion is over the word 'design' because it isn't immediately obvious that they are actually creative professionals (e.g. graphic artists) 

 

"Design" is clearly a very broad term that includes creative professionals as well as engineers and experienced tradespeople.  All humans design; it's in our DNA and it's who we are. 

 

As these are creative professionals who design media, visual or otherwise, I understand how the title of the report is appropriate; it's just very confusing.  Again, the problem in the gulf is an engineering problem; by saying 'design' it immediately implies that the story would be about an engineered design solution.

July 21, 2010
Click to view LoriTroy's profile

                                                               North Bay ‘News on the Hour’

                                                                Story by Jeff Prue

 

     Troy Hurtubise is a Natural Resources Technologist and an inventor, having graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College.  In his second year of study in 1989, he and all in the environmental college witnessed the Exxon spill her oil in Alaskan waters. Mr. Hurtubise started then with a Professor on an innovation that would hold the proper keys to cleaning up future disasters.

     Twenty-one years later, the eccentric inventor, as seen in Paramount Pictures summer comedy, “Dinner for Shmucks”, finally achieved the daunting task, through the innovation known as the ORS (Oil Recovery System) or, Oil Shark, for short.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ Oil Shark can recover 126 thousand barrels of surface oil off of the water, as well as return the recycled water back into the ocean at a 98% purification rate. All this, every twenty-four hours, at which time, the Oil Shark is shut down for three hours to have its ‘blanket system’ changed. 

     Mr. Hurtubise’ problem is getting those that can make a difference to take a closer look at his Oil Shark, which might one day find itself being mandated to every off-shore oil rig, in case a disaster like BP occurs again.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ innovation has recently been covered in detail by Canada’s CBC Radio host, Bernie MacKnimay. Mr. Hurtubise believes that through his extensive research and ‘test trials’, in the end, the Oil Shark will clean up the Gulf disaster in under 2 years time: instead of the full generation most experts are predicting using today’s outdated technology.

    

 

    

 

 

July 21, 2010
Click to view LoriTroy's profile

             North Bay ‘News on the Hour Story by Jeff Prue

 

     Troy Hurtubise is a Natural Resources Technologist and an inventor, having graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College.  In his second year of study in 1989, he and all in the environmental college witnessed the Exxon spill her oil in Alaskan waters. Mr. Hurtubise started then with a Professor on an innovation that would hold the proper keys to cleaning up future disasters.

     Twenty-one years later, the eccentric inventor, as seen in Paramount Pictures summer comedy, “Dinner for Shmucks”, finally achieved the daunting task, through the innovation known as the ORS (Oil Recovery System) or, Oil Shark, for short.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ Oil Shark can recover 126 thousand barrels of surface oil off of the water, as well as return the recycled water back into the ocean at a 98% purification rate. All this, every twenty-four hours, at which time, the Oil Shark is shut down for three hours to have its ‘blanket system’ changed. 

     Mr. Hurtubise’ problem is getting those that can make a difference to take a closer look at his Oil Shark, which might one day find itself being mandated to every off-shore oil rig, in case a disaster like BP occurs again.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ innovation has recently been covered in detail by Canada’s CBC Radio host, Bernie MacKnimay. Mr. Hurtubise believes that through his extensive research and ‘test trials’, in the end, the Oil Shark will clean up the Gulf disaster in under 2 years time: instead of the full generation most experts are predicting using today’s outdated technology.  For further info, please email at oilshark1936@hotmail.com

    

 

July 22, 2010
Click to view fiwedding's profile

it is one kind of funda although anyway while using it we should take serious so thanks for valuable information

August 20, 2010
Click to view skoestl903's profile

who would dump oil in the gulf and why

January 26, 2011
Click to view aladdinne's profile

something strange and very dangeros will happen if world leaders do nothing about global warming is killing the sea

we can save it before its too late.we can save many lifes

 

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