Book Reviews

Our Ocean Backyard – Collected Essays – Volume 2; By Gary Griggs

Our Ocean Backyard- Collected Essays – Volume 2;

A book by Gary Griggs

Published by Monterey Bay Press For the three billion people on Earth who live in coastal regions, the ocean is figuratively, if not literally, “our backyard.” Many of us have sought out ocean areas in which to live, work, or vacation. The oceans enrich our lives in countless ways, but our interactions with them have not always been positive. Santa Cruz sits smack on the ocean. California is in many ways defined by its coast, so it isn’t surprising that so many people are drawn towards our ocean edge. Whether it is our weather and climate, or any number of recreational pursuits: fishing, surfing, sailing, jogging or walking, or just observing and exploring, the ocean provides something for all of us. In turn, engaging in each of these different pursuits generates a healthy curiosity – historical, geological, biological – as does simply living, day-to-day, in a community facing the sea. In April 2008, Gary Griggs, a coastal geologist and oceanographer, who has studied the oceans for over fifty years and is a much sought after speaker on issues of climate change, sea-level rise and coastal erosion because he makes science enjoyable, and accessible to non-scientists, was asked to write a bi-weekly column, “Our Ocean Backyard” for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. In 2014, 171 of these columns were published in the book Our Ocean Backyard, Collected Essays 1. Five years later, a subsequent group of 106 columns has been collected for this second volume. Like the first volume of essays, this second volume explores curious ocean questions. Should we worry about tsunamis here on the central coast? How did Yellow Bank Beach, Davenport Landing, Greyhound Rock, Castle Beach and Black Point get their names? Gary explains why the sea behaves as it does while bringing our coastal history and landscape into perspective. Our climate is changing, and the ocean is responding. Many of us are eager to learn more about our oceans and coast, particularly the science behind it all, but we don’t often understand that science very well. And to make matters worse, many scientists who write about their particular specialized area, don’t do so in a way that is understandable or relevant to the non-scientist. Gary’s stories, which draw upon our rich history of ocean exploration and discovery, are written for anyone with an interest in the oceans – not just in Monterey Bay or the central coast – and shed much-needed light on what we can expect in the years and decades to come.

About the Author:

Gary Griggs is a distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences, and the director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. Honored as a Coastal Hero by the Coastal Commission and Sunset Magazine in 2009, he has been studying the oceans for over forty-six years. He is the author or co-author of nine books, including Living with the Changing California Coast, Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coast, and California Coast From The Air: Images of a Changing Landscape. Book available now on: See also: Our Ocean Backyard – Collected Essays – Volume 1; A Book by Gary Griggs (©-2014)