Have you seen “Coastal Clash” yet?


Posted by on Wed, May 11, 2005

Last night, I attended the screening of the KQED documentary "Coastal Clash" at the Pt. Montara Lighthouse.  I left shaken and inspired by its depiction of the threats to California’s coast and what people are doing to save it. As we left, my wife Cheri said, "It makes me want to write something for Coastsider." I replied, "Yeah, me too."

I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know, especially about how our attempts to prevent erosion affect our beaches, and how private coastal estates are denying the public access to miles of shoreline that we own.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I can recommend spending the $25 to buy the video.

If you have seen the movie, or if you’d rather wait for KQED to broadcast it again , you should definitely visit the Coastal Clash website. There are great animations of how beaches evolve, coastal population growth, and the effect of "armoring" on beaches and bluffs. I’ll be referring back to this information as I start to look at these issues on Coastsider.

The site also contains lesson plans in for high school science and social science classroom. I don’t know how much of this is taught in our classrooms right now, but every student on the Coastside should be getting this material in school.

The biggest lesson for me was that the California Coastal Commission pays attention to citizen input. According to Commissioner Sara Wan, who is in the movie and was at the screening, the commissioners are hearing from a lot more lobbyists than citizens. But if you call them, you can often get an appointment with a commissioner to talk about a specific issue before the commission.

The Commission is meeting tomorrow at Stanford. Among other things, they will be discussing applications for two large mansions on the Coastside. They should be taking those up by around 10am tomorrow.


I was there with my wife and two friends from Pacifica (who have seen it three times!). This excellent film is an eye opener, and clearly illustrates the arrogance and ‘money above all else’ attitude of some developers and landowners along with the tireless passion and drive of the people who strive to protect the coast. It has inspired us to pay even closer attention to our local coastline to prevent the outrageous ‘homes on the beach’ set up in some places in Southern California. Coastsiders pay close attention! Five miles of private beach anyone? Cheers.

An amazing documentary.

One of the most interesting points was that beaches, owned by the public, are effectively erosion.  Homeowners building seawalls to protect their property fairly well eliminate, not just deny access to, the public space; a more insiduous form of overgrazing the common green.

On the other hand I can sympathize with a person wanting to save their home.  I’d be interested to know what kind of disclosures homebuyers are presented when they look at homes on ocean bluffs, and what, if any, kind of insurance they are required to purchase.