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California and the Pacific: A Love Story

Aired 2/26/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST

David Helvarg, author, The Golden Shore and president of the Blue Frontier Campaign.

Transcript

How does one write a biography of a shoreline?

It's not easy, even when an accomplished writer like David Helvarg is enraptured by the history, archeology and physical beauty of a truly amazing natural phenomenon.

"California's shoreline is where U.S. westward expansion ended , but the promise never did..." says Helvarg in the introduction to his biography called "The Golden Shore."

And a biography is what Helvarg has written, exploring how our ambitions and psyches have been shaped by living next to the Pacific Ocean. How we are now and have ever been a state of risk-takers and daredevils, of renewal and rebirth, of entrepreneurship and slackerdom.

Most surprisingly, perhaps, Helvarg, who lives in coastal Northern California but who did some time as an Ocean Beach surfer, maintains that we have been good stewards of our shoreline, maintaining access and curbing the urge to develop.

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