Tag Archives: Thomas Birkland

Jan 28, 1969: The Santa Barbara Oil Spill

On January 28, 1969 the Santa Barbara oil spill happened.

Within a ten-day period, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels (13,000 to 16,000 m3)of crude oil spilled into the Channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County in Southern California, fouling the coastline from Goleta to Ventura as well as the northern shores of the four northern Channel Islands.” [wikipedia]

The Cuyahoga River had caught fire (no, honestly) in 1952, and when it did again in June 1969, these two ‘focusing’ events helped amplify environmental concern in the US. Meanwhile, in Vietnam…

See also:

Focusing events/ trigger events. But on their own, they are not enough. “Disasters” won’t on their own “save” us.  They have to be turned into “scandals”…

Birkland, T. (1998) Focusing Events, Mobilization and Agenda Setting. Journal of Public Policy 18, 1, 53-74.


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