- July 18, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Gary Griggs is Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His speciality is the study of diverse ways in which coastal hazards affect human settlement and the development of the coastal region. His most recent book is Coasts in Crisis: A Global Challenge. The coast of California has been his home for most of his life. Almost half of the planet’s population now live in what is broadly defined as the coastal zone. People are increasingly impacting this often-fragile meeting place of land, sea, and air—one of the most dynamic and constantly changing environments on Earth.
Natural processes or hazards have in recent years brought coastal regions greater yearly losses and damage. Recent examples include Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami (2011), and Superstorm Sandy (2012). All shorelines are also experiencing a rising sea-level, which is causing coastal erosion and flooding.
With about 150 million people around the world living within three-feet of high tide, and hundreds of millions more within a few more feet, future sea-level rise may well be one of the great challenges facing human civilization. The trends are all pointing in the wrong direction.
Gary Griggs will present the entire coastal zone in global perspective as a region under threat. Specifically relevant to California, Professor Griggs will focus on the question: “Where do we go from here?” As he wrote in Coasts in Crisis, the future choices we make about our coasts and oceans are decisions about who we are, what we value, what kind of world we want to live in—the world our children and grandchildren will inherit. The stakes are very high.