Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Price Per Barrel: The Human Cost of Extraction — Book Event

March 24 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Author Event with Robin Behl, Physician Assistant
Reading and book signing session

Books available for purchase with cash, credit card, or Venmo.
Paperback $20. Hardcover $25.

The event is free with donations encouraged to support The Other Side.


About the book “Price Per Barrel”

There are human stories that come out of the repeated cycle of boom and bust that has shaped our movement across the North American continent for the last four hundred years.  Whether it’s the gold for our banks, the copper for our cell phones, the oil that powers our lives, our quest for the Moon, or our human need for entertainment, we come together to dig for it, drill for it, and race for it.

In each community impacted by the extractive industries, there are men and women in blue shirts & steel-toed boots, in white coats & stethoscopes, in booney hats & badges, who sacrifice themselves to care for their neighbors. Price Per Barrel: The Human Cost of Extraction looks at what a sudden population boom can do to a town and the people who care for it.

This book is broad in theme, reflecting the breadth of work that first responders and healthcare workers do for their communities.  It touches on controversial topics like fracking, mining, and radioactive waste. It visits the drivers of the Indy 500 and the astronauts of the new space race. It covers housing crises and social protests. And it explores sexual harassment in the pre-&-post  #MeToo era.

What emerges is evidence that first responders, once called to duty, refuse to abandon their posts, even when their towns change around them.  They rise far and above their job descriptions, putting aside their own PTSD until the boom is over.  But the trauma they endure at the hands of the newcomers and outsiders is real, persistent, and contagious.  For that reason, it is incumbent upon us to examine our own lives; how much we use, how much we waste, and how we vote.

Price Per Barrel is part travelogue, part mental health journey. Robin spent years on the road, including six months living in her truck, talking to the people on the front lines and having new adventures of her own. By telling their story, perhaps we can more fully understand the price of extracting each barrel of oil or each shovel of ore and be better equipped when the next boom train stops in our town.


Author Bio

Robin grew up in southeastern New Mexico, where she got her first taste of emergency response as a volunteer firefighter, just after she graduated from High School. That early passion for helping people was solidified during her undergraduate tenure at New Mexico State University, where she continued her service and training as a firefighter and EMT.  She would go on to spend thirteen years in emergency services with a variety of agencies around the country, becoming a paramedic and a dispatcher.  She earned a master’s degree in medicine at the University of New England, in Maine and worked as a Physician Assistant in cardiovascular medicine for seven years, including in Utica.


In that time, she had the opportunity to train and work in the Arctic, both in Alaska and in Greenland.   Her love for remote northern climates, and her insatiable wanderlust, inspired “Price Per Barrel: The Human Cost of Extraction,” her first non-fiction book.  Robin was previously published in academic journals related to her medical practice including, “The Hidden Field of View:  Challenges in Sustaining a Robotic Open-Heart Program” for the Indian Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and “Robotic surgery: Would Any Other (more accurate) Name Smell as Sweet?” for the Journal of Robotic Surgery.


In her travels, Robin has visited every state in the union, every province in Canada and more than three dozen countries.  She has left the practice of medicine and now works in documentary filmmaking, which allows her to tell stories in a whole new way.  She is a dancer and a choreographer who feels most at home when she’s on a stage.


She is currently working on her next book, “Insensible Loss:  Why Doctors Quit.”  It’s a critical look at medicine in the United States and what drives providers like her out of the field and into work they find more rewarding.




March 24
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


The Other Side
2011 Genesee St
Utica, New York 13501
+ Google Map
(315) 735-4825
View Venue Website
Scroll to Top