Saving the Coast: California's Legacy in a Changing Climate
A Conversation with Charles Lester
California has been an international leader in coastal protection for more than four decades, but climate change poses an existential threat to California’s coastal resources and economy. On the evening of Tuesday, April 25th, 2017, former Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, Charles Lester, discussed the past, present, and future of the California coast in conversation with Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy.
Event was held on: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Morse Building, Room B104, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
426 Van Buren, Monterey, CA 93940
6:00pm to 7:30pm
Video of Discussion:
About the Topic:
California has been an international leader in coastal protection for more than four decades. The state has expanded public access to the shoreline, protected countless sensitive habitats, and maintained scenic, rural and agricultural coastal landscapes. The California coast and ocean economy generates more than $40 billion a year. Climate change, though, poses an existential threat to California’s coastal resources and economy. This is particularly true for global sea level rise, which threatens to literally erode our coastal communities and many of the public access gains of the last forty years. A renewed commitment to and investment in the fundamental objectives of the Coastal Act will be needed to continue California’s leading legacy of coastal management success. Join former Executive Director of the Coastal Commission Charles Lester as he discusses the past, present, and future of the California coast in conversation with Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy.
About the Speaker
Former Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission
Dr. Charles Lester has been working in the field of ocean and coastal management for more than 25 years. He is currently at the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, researching and writing about sea level rise, coastal resilience, and other aspects of California coastal law and policy. Charles previously worked for the California Coastal Commission, including serving as the fourth executive director of the agency from 2011 to 2016. He also served as the Commission’s senior deputy director, a district director and manager in the agency’s Santa Cruz office, a coastal program analyst, and a student intern during graduate school.
Before moving to Santa Cruz, Charles was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he taught environmental law and policy, with a focus on public lands governance and coastal zone management. He also worked with NOAA’s General Counsel for Ocean Services.
Charles received his J.D. and his Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley. His doctoral thesis examined the politics, policy and law of offshore oil development in the United States. He earned his B.A. in Geochemistry in 1984 from Columbia University in New York City, and worked his college summers at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory.
Charles lives in Soquel with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a remarkably resilient betta fish.
About the Moderator
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy
Jason Scorse is the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) and Chair of the International Environmental Policy (IEP) program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, was promoted to Chair in 2009, and launched the CBE in 2011. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. Professor Scorse consults for major environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.
We thank our Sponsors:
We thank the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation and the Loker-Hicks Foundation for co-sponsoring this event.