Constant Chaos

The Daily Battle to Protect the Environment

Softcover, 456 pages, 1st printing, 2022

by Ron Holcomb

''Constant Chaos'' explodes the myth of the pencil-pushing government worker. Spill responders are on call for all of us 24/7, mitigating environmental emergencies and natural disasters. Sometimes at great risk to themselves, they muster know-how and resources when:

  • ships and tankers spill fuel,
  • trains crash,
  • catastrophic floods and other natural disasters occur,
  • unexplained strange blobs fall from the sky, and
  • meth labs and toxic chemicals threaten neighborhoods and people.

Ron Holcomb’s collection of true stories of triumph and human tragedy during his decades with the Washington State Department of Ecology surprise and amaze. They’re shot through with the human emotions and concerns we all share as citizens of planet Earth. The many riveting stories give readers an antidote to societal divisions. They highlight an array of colorful characters and showcase the caring, dedication, cooperation, and determination of career public servants. Ron Holcomb, like spill responders who work around the clock handling emergencies in every state and many nations, gives us something to cheer about amid ''Constant Chaos.''



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Reviews of Constant Chaos

Constant Chaos is a detailed and fascinating account of the daily battle waged by professionals like Ron Holcomb to protect the environment from oil and hazardous materials spills. Readers will get an up-close view as Holcomb and other Washington State Department of Ecology spill team members step up to do whatever it takes in the face of difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances to safeguard our state during environmental disasters.

Christine Gregoire, former Washington Governor, Attorney General and Department of Ecology Director

Constant Chaos is such a perfect description of the life of a spill responder in Washington. These dedicated public servants are working on an oil spill in Puget Sound one day, a meth lab the next day and an overturned oil train the next. Their job is dangerous and essential to the health of our citizens and ecosystems. Ron Holcomb lived this life for over two decades and provides here a lively and compelling description of a little understood or appreciated first responder. A great read!

Jay Manning, Environmental lawyer, Chair Puget Sound Partnership, former Chief of Staff to Governor Christine Gregoire, former Department of Ecology Director, and past President of the Washington Environmental Council

If you've ever wondered who gets the call in the middle of the night when bad things happen in the environmental world, Ron Holcomb can tell you. And take you along for the ride. Terrestrial and marine oil spills, tanker truck and train wrecks, meth labs and derelict vessels, Holcomb and his Department of Ecology co-workers have seen, and cleaned them all. Constant Chaos puts you right there and gives readers an inside look at what happens on callout after callout.

Doug Zimmer, former Media, Congressional & Tribal Liaison and Emergency Response Coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Washington, and former Information and Education Specialist for the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife

Constant Chaos is a powerful, important book. It reveals the big and lasting impacts of environmental catastrophes—to our lands and waters, to wildlife and sea life, to people and communities and families. Author Ron Holcomb, a veteran oil spill responder, reveals the costs to all of us resulting from careless and negligent—and sometimes willful—actions. The stories behind the headlines bring home how indebted we are to the protectors who drop everything to clean up our messes and to keep the damage from spreading.

David Workman, author of We Are Puget Sound, Letter from Alabama: The Inspiring True Story of Strangers Who Saved a Child and Changed a Family Forever, and An Author Tells All: Surprises and Revelations from Publishing My Story

This book offers an insider’s view of the efforts required to manage environmental disasters that endanger humans and wildlife and threaten to pollute our land, water and air. Author Ron Holcomb has spent a lifetime doing this work and educating the public about these threats. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as Holcomb and his co-workers deal with large oil spills, clandestine meth labs, derelict vessels filled with oil, train wrecks, chemical dump sites and natural disasters. As long as we have oil and dangerous chemicals in our world there is a need for professionals like Holcomb who are willing to be available 24/7 in the midst of chaotic situations to protect the environment.

Marjorie Turner Hollman, author of the Easy Walks book series, encouraging those with disabilities and other life challenges to get outdoors

Those of us who enjoy living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest owe a debt of gratitude to professionals like Ron Holcomb who protect our water, soil and air. This book shows why he and his co-workers epitomize a ‘tip of the spear’ attitude when it comes to guarding the environmental future of our state. I, my family and my grandchildren owe them a deep appreciation for the long hours and personal sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf.

Dave Kummerlowe, Owner and President of CADRE, Inc., Technical & Training Consultant for Emergency Response, and former NOAA HazMat Responder

Emergency environmental response is characterized by two distinct traits: unique incidents and unique characters. Constant Chaos is an informative and entertaining book that gives readers insight into both. Former Department of Ecology Spill Responder Ron Holcomb also details the challenges that first responders and the emergency response industry face in the race to minimize damage to the environment from oil and chemical spills. I found it fascinating to relive many of the most significant environmental disasters that occurred in Washington during the past 30 years that I worked on with Holcomb and his state and federal colleagues.

Devon Grennan, past President and CEO, Global Diving & Salvage, and past President Spill Control Association of America

Product Details

Softcover: 456 pages

Publisher: Ron Holcomb (2022-08-25)

Language: English

ISBN: 979-8-9865493-0-9

Product Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00 inches

Shipping Weight: 26.00 ounces

Ron Holcomb photoAbout the Author

Ron Holcomb worked as a spill responder for the Washington State Department of Ecology before retiring in 2020 after a 40-year public service career dedicated to protecting the environment. He was the Spill Team Lead for Ecology’s Southwest Region and personally handled more than 6,000 oil and hazardous material spill incidents. Prior to being a spill responder, he was a public information officer for Ecology and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He received a Master of Science in Environmental Communications from the University of Wisconsin after graduating with a degree in Journalism, Biology and Natural Resources from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. He developed his love of the outdoors and concern for the environment during childhood experiences in national parks and forests, and as a member of The Mountaineers. In retirement he still enjoys climbing peaks in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.

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