Senator Alan Lowenthal named a California Coastal Hero

share this:

alan-lowenthalIt’s 1,110 miles long and 80% of Californians live within an hour’s drive of it. It’s been celebrated in books, music, and movies. It’s gorgeous, it’s joyous, it’s economically and ecologically vital and it’s irreplaceable. It’s the California coast.

On September 17, 2009, Sunset magazine, the premier guide to life in the West, and the California Coastal Commission will present their first Coastal Heroes Awards. The awards honor nine individuals — including Long Beach Senator Alan Lowenthal — whose dedication and hard work are protecting the California coast for future generations to love. The Awards will be given at a ceremony to be held at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. They are also being highlighted in Sunset’s special September 2009 Coastal Issue.

“Sunset magazine has a long history of passionate concern for the California environment and the California coast,” said Katie Tamony, Sunset’s editor-in-chief. “Today, Sunset’s environmental interests range from Western rivers to wise use of water and energy in home and garden, so we are always looking for ways to honor the people and organizations that are committed to championing these important causes.”

Established in 1972, the Coastal Commission has as its mission the protection and enhancement of the California coast. The Coastal Heroes Awards is timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Commission’s extraordinarily successful Coastal Cleanup Day, which runs this year on Saturday, September 19. To participate in this year’s Coastal Cleanup, go to

The 2009 Sunset magazine/California Coastal Commission Coastal Heroes are:

Pierce and Keely Brosnan, actor and journalist They may be best known for their work in movies and television. But the Brosnans have also made names for themselves with their environmental activism and volunteerism–notably fighting for marine mammal and wetland protection. Their work has been recognized by the Environmental Media Association and Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Serge Dedina, Wildcoast As the founder and executive director of Wildcoast (, an international conservation organization, Dedina has sought to protect coastal ecosystems and wildlife in California and Baja California, Mexico. Along with his work as an environmental activist, he authored Saving the Gray Whale, about Baja’s gray-whale lagoons.

Gary Griggs, University of California, Santa Cruz Director of UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences, Griggs has helped turn the university’s Long Marine Laboratory and its Seymour Marine Discovery Center ( into a major marine research and education facility. (For details on Long Marine Laboratory, see page 15.) Griggs has also published numerous articles and books, among them the classic Living with the Changing California Coast.

John Hanke, Google Earth Hanke, vice president of product management for Google Maps & Earth, launched Google Earth 5.0 earlier this year. The immensely popular application now includes revolutionary ocean-viewing content. Produced with research from the National Geographic Society, the BBC, and marine scientists, it brings the ocean to laptops and desktops around the world (for more info, see page 16).

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress and activist Accomplished actress Louis-Dreyfus was introduced to environmental issues after becoming a mother and realizing that the Pacific is in many places too polluted for swimming and surfing. Today she is an effective and eloquent advocate for ocean issues, serving on the board of Heal the Bay and working with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

California State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) Over the course of his political career, Senator Lowenthal has distinguished himself as a thoughtful, substantive legislator who commands the respect of his colleagues–especially when it comes to protecting the California coast. Lowenthal has helped pass numerous coastal-protection acts and received a perfect 100 percent voting score from the California League of Conservation Voters in 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2008.

Julie Packard, Monterey Bay Aquarium From the day it opened in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium ( has been the standard by which all other aquariums are measured. Much of its success is due to Packard, who as director has steered the organization since the beginning. Packard received the 1998 Audubon Medal for conservation and the 2004 Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award, and was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.

Linda Sheehan, California Coastkeeper Alliance Sheehan, the alliance’s executive director, works to make the Pacific clean. With 12 regional Waterkeeper organizations up and down the California coast, the Coastkeeper Alliance ( fights pollution of the Pacific and the streams and rivers that flow into it. The alliance also helps restore coastal ecosystems.

Comments are closed.