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Rosanna Xia: California Against the Sea

October 24, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm  |  Bookshop Santa Cruz


Bookshop Santa Cruz welcomes environmental journalist Rosanna Xia, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, for a conversation with UCSC professor Gary Griggs about her new book California Against the Sea: Visions for Our Vanishing Coastline. This event is cosponsored by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz.

“Just as the coast defines the liminal world between land and sea, so too does Rosanna Xia’s remarkable book exist in the overlap between development and erosion, between geological forces and human desire, between our ambitious past and our tenuous future. It’s viscerally urgent, thoroughly reported, and compellingly written—a must-read for our uncertain times.” —Ed Yong, author of An Immense World


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Rosanna Xia investigates the impacts of engineered landscapes, the market pressures of development, and the ecological activism and political scrimmages that have carved our contemporary coastline—and foretell even greater changes to our shores. From the beaches of the Mexican border up to the sheer-cliffed North Coast, the voices of Indigenous leaders, community activists, small-town mayors, urban engineers, and tenacious environmental scientists commingle. Together, they chronicle the challenges and urgency of forging a climate-wise future. Xia’s investigation takes us to Imperial Beach, Los Angeles, Pacifica, Marin City, San Francisco, and beyond, weighing the rivaling arguments, agreements, compromises, and visions governing the State of California’s commitment to a coast for all. Through graceful reportage, she charts how the decisions we make today will determine where we go tomorrow: headlong into natural disaster, or toward an equitable refashioning of coastal stewardship.

Rosanna Xia is an environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she specializes in stories about the coast and ocean. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020 for explanatory reporting, and her work has been anthologized in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series.

Gary Griggs is a Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. He is the author of 13 books, including most recently, The Ominous Ocean (2022). The California Coastal Commission and Sunset named him one of California’s Coastal Heroes in 2009, and in 2010 he was elected to the California Academy of Sciences. Gary is also a member of the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and 2023 Sea-Level Rise Task Force.


October 24, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Bookshop Santa Cruz
1520 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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