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Coastal Sage: Peter Douglas and the Fight to Save California’s Shore

Friday, January 19, 2018 - 12:30pm
Please note new location:
Shriram Center, Tea Room (Basement)
443 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA

Event has reached capacity.

 Tom Osborne will present on his new book, Coastal Sage: Peter Douglas and the Fight to Save California’s Shore.

The University of California Press writes:

There are moments when we forget how fortunate we are to have the California coast. The state is home to 1,100 miles of uninterrupted coastline defined by long stretches of beach and jagged rocky cliffs. Coastal Sagechronicles the career and accomplishments of Peter Douglas, the longest-serving executive director of the California Coastal Commission. For nearly three decades, Douglas fought to keep the California coast public, prevent overdevelopment, and safeguard habitat. In doing so, Douglas emerged as a leading figure in the contemporary American environmental movement and influenced public conservation efforts across the country. He coauthored California’s foundational laws pertaining to shoreline management and conservation: Proposition 20 and the California Coastal Act. Many of the political battles to save the coast from overdevelopment and secure public access are revealed for the first time in this study of the leader who was at once a visionary, warrior, and coastal sage.



Tom Osborne received his Ph.D. in history from Claremont Graduate University.  His dissertation on opposition to Hawaiian annexation was published by Kent State University Press and nominated for the Stuart Bernath Book Award.  A specialist in California and Pacific history, Dr. Osborne has been the recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.  He has authored and co-authored four books and numerous journal, magazine, and newspaper articles.  His college-level textbook, Pacific Eldorado: A History of Greater California,was released by Wiley-Blackwell Publishers in January 2013.

Aside from academia, he has been active in public affairs. In 1988 the Kettering Foundation selected him to participate in the Dartmouth Conference on Soviet-American relations.  The following year he served on the national Board of Directors of the Beyond War Foundation, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA.  In the early 2000s, he served on the Laguna Beach Environmental Committee, and in 2008 received the city’s Environmental Award for chairing the committee that drafted the municipality’s Climate Protection Action Plan.  Currently, he writes the “Green Light" environmental column for the Laguna Beach Independent newspaper, and he has just begun work on his fifth book, a history of environmentalism in California.  He’s married to retired Santa Ana College psychology professor Dr. Ginger Osborne.  They live in Laguna Beach and have two sons who reside with their respective families in San Francisco and Albany, California.  

Todd Holmes is a Historian and Associate Academic Specialist with the Oral History Center at UC Berkeley, and an Affiliated Scholar with the Bill Lane Center. Before joining the OHC in 2016, Todd served as the lead historian and researcher on the Center’s California Coastal Commission project. A native Californian, he has written extensively on the history of California and the American West, and is the author of the forthcoming book on Ronald Reagan’s governorship, The Fruits of Fracture: The Corporate West, The United Farm Workers’ Movement, and the Rise of Reaganism in American Politics.


Lunch will be provided.

Event Sponsor: 
Bill Lane Center for the American West