Synopses & Reviews
Anyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeckandrsquo;s Cannery Row,and is now one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world.
It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revivalandmdash;told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with lifeandmdash;raucous sea birds, abundant sea otters, barking sea lions, halibut the size of wagon wheels,waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned,the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today,both Montereyandrsquo;s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen?
The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasnandrsquo;t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the seaandrsquo;s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passionandmdash;passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.
"In this buoyant history of Monterey Bay, it's the humans, not the ocean life, that take center stage because, as marine biologists Palumbi and Sotka write, 'no act of environmentalism is conceived or acted on by fish. It is the people who are inspired to act and whose acts inspire.' The bay was long a magnet for the adventurous, quirky, and brilliant: the 18th-century New England sea captains who decimated the bay's otter population and kelp forest ecosystem; the bohemian trio of John Steinbeck, Joseph Campbell, and ecologist Ed Ricketts, who philosophized and partied together in Pacific Grove; Hewlett-Packard tycoon David Packard, funder of the Monterey Aquarium; and Julia Platt, a brilliant zoologist, 'rabble rouser,' and founder of the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge. But the otters are the ultimate heroes, returning to the bay in the 1960s after the collapse of the sardine fisheries and reviving the kelp forest and its inhabitants. The narration may not be the most elegant, but the happy ending, so rare in nature literature nowadays, is refreshing. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
andquot;Palumbi and Sotka bring to life a rich cast of characters from five centuries to tell the story of Monterey Bayand#39;s discovery, destruction, and redemption. A marvellous tale, beautifully told.andquot;
andquot;In a world of too many problems and too few solutions, Monterey Bay, California bucks the trend. Itand#39;s better now than a century ago, and the vision of what can happen when stubborn people set their minds to something makes this a story not just of a great place, but of inspiration that can work in many places.andquot;
“Just as the Monterey Bay Aquarium now ex Carl Safina - author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point
andquot;In this buoyant history of Monterey Bay, itand#39;s the humans, not the ocean life, that take center stageandhellip; the happy ending, so rare in nature literature nowadays, is refreshing.andquot;
andquot;[Explains] the incredible comeback of one of the most important locales for marine biodiversity [and details the] entertaining lessons on species interdependence and the quirky characters who helped the recovery happen.andquot;
andquot;[A] colorful history of times long gone, of environments degraded, of an intricate web of life threatenedandmdash;and how it has finally begun to recover through the hopeful work of communities and their leadersandhellip;[A] fascinating book, filled with anecdote and history, they explore the complex environment of the region, its fabulous sea life, and its colorful cast of humans.andquot;
andquot;Palumbi and Sotka have taken the legacy Monterey Bay and created a model for successful ocean conservation: understand the ecology of the area, commit to marine protected areas, educate the public, be patient and persevere. Individual contributions might only be apparent in hindsight, but that does not make the many less significant. The story of Monterey Bay is not only a story of exploitation and collapse, but also one of resilience and hope.andquot;
andquot;Just as the Monterey Bay Aquarium now exhibits the wonders of marine life in the unique environment of Monterey Bay, Palumbi and Sotka turn back the pages of time to illuminate the fall and rise of the sea otter population; the lives of the local squid and abalones; the men and women who lived and worked there; the whales that came (and still come) to visit; the collapse of the sardine canneries; and how the dilapidated Hovden cannery was transformed into the best aquarium in America.andquot;
andquot;The death and life of Monterey Bay: a story of revival should be the top candidate as a narrative for the next seminar you teach on socio-ecological systems.andquot;
The Death and Life of Monterey Bay
is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasnand#8217;t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the seaand#8217;s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passionand#8212;passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.
About the Author
Stephen R. Palumbi is the Director of the Hopkins Marine Station and the Jane and Marshall Steele Jr. Professor of Marine Science at Stanford University. Carolyn Sotka manages science and policy outreach activities for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationandrsquo;s Oceans and Human Health Initiative.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Julia's Window
PART I. The Ruin
Chapter 2. The First California Gold Rush: Otters
Chapter 3. Whale Bones in Treasure Bay
Chapter 4. Abalone Shells and China Point
PART II. The Bottom
Chapter 5. Dr. Mayor Julia Platt
Chapter 6. The Power of One: Julia Fights the Canneries
Chapter 7. Ed Ricketts, Ecology, and the Philosophy of Tide Pools
Chapter 8. Dust Bowl of the Sea: The Canneries Collapse
PART III. The Recovery
Chapter 9. The Otter Returns
Chapter 10. Kelp, Seals, and Seabirds Rise Again
Chapter 11. The Aquarium
Chapter 12. The Century to Come
About the Authors