Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends
Environment & Science

So what's Pacific Swell about, anyway?

Phil Gibbs/Flickr

You may have noticed changes recently at KPCC, at this website, and at this blog. It's an exciting time, and so we thought it's a good time to explain what we're trying to accomplish with Pacific Swell. 

First off, the name. I'm related to poets, so I picked something from a poem by Californian Yvor Winters. The topic of The Slow Pacific Swell  is a guy contemplating the ocean rushing towards the shore; Winters' work was about people finding their way through a messy universe towards, once in a while, some order revealed by nature. I'm a sucker for imagery, so Pacific Swell was born.

Pacific Swell has a purpose, too. How does Southern California’s sprawling urban landscape impact the environment? How do global climate issues affect people who live here? This blog exists to try to answer these questions.

We’re interested in water issues: coastal water quality, marine life, recreation and access, rivers (including the L.A. River), water supplies and drinking water safety, and how people living along the coast interact with the ocean.

We’re interested in energy issues: renewable energy, energy efficiency, what Southern California Edison does, what L.A.'s Department of Water and Power does, new technologies developed here, and studies and research from regional universities.

We’re interested in climate change: sea level rise, snowpack and water levels, the general impact on ecosystems and the regional economy, and policy debates in cities and counties.

And we’re interested in what happens on land around the edges of our sprawling megalopolis, as development pushes ever farther into the wildland-urban interface, and as southern Californians impact state and federal lands and the recreation areas in and around them like the eastern Sierra, the high Desert, and the Salton Sea. 

Near the end of his poem, Yvor Winters writes, "By night a chaos of commingling power,/The whole Pacific hovers hour by hour./The slow Pacific swell stirs on the sand,/Sleeping to sink away, withdrawing land..."

I've always thought of spotting a swell before it crashes ashore as a good metaphor for what we try to do with the news: we want to get the information to you first, and tell you about issues, trends and solutions happening in your community. 

Finally, we want Pacific Swell to stimulate discussion and debate about the issues we cover. So we encourage you to comment freely, and please share it with your friends and colleagues!