Gary Griggs

Opinion August 23, 2017

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I first met UCSC professor Gary Griggs a couple of years ago, while we were both waiting around on Four Mile Beach during the shooting of a film about Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting. There is probably no better circumstances under which to meet Griggs—on a beach, where he is completely in his element, with lots of time to fill in between setups. In fact, he had actually brought photos of Santa Cruz beaches; I’m not sure they were even for the film, it’s possible he just carries these things around with him. Within minutes, he was showing me photos of local rock arches from different decades to illustrate how they had crumbled over time, and then literally reaching out to put his hand on the mudstone of one of the cliffs next to us and explaining why they are so vulnerable to erosion.

Since then, when I’m at the beach, I still sometimes find myself explaining to whoever I’m with how wave energy works on mudstone. I’m serious, that’s how it is with Griggs—he has a way of explaining things in such a clear way, opening your eyes to how the world is working around you.

That’s why I’m heartened to see him releasing a new book on climate change, and from his interview with Maria Grusauskas in this week’s issue, I can see he’s lost none of his power both as a scientist and a storyteller. I guarantee you will learn a lot from her article about the dangers threatening our coasts—and you might just find yourself telling someone else about it next time you’re on the beach.

One more thing: it’s getting to be time for Santa Cruz Gives, the most important thing we do all year. Last year, our holiday-giving program raised $181,000 for local nonprofits, and in 2017 we plan to do even better. We are now accepting proposals from nonprofits who want to participate; check out our website for guidelines. The deadline is Sept. 4. For the last two years, we have been blown away by the innovation and creativity we’ve seen from local nonprofits in the ways they seek to improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz County, and I have a feeling they’ll top themselves again this year.


Letters to the Editor

Direct Action on Homelessness

I was happy to read the article in the Good Times about the 180/2020 Program. The folks at the Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center deserve (as do many other social service providers in our community) a great thank you from the community of Santa Cruz for taking direct action that addresses the significant problem of homelessness in Santa Cruz. They have housed nearly 600 people—moving chronically homeless and veterans off the street and into permanent supportive housing—through the 180/2020 Program that began in 2012.

At the recent 180/2020 event that celebrated this milestone, their speaker Josh Bamberger, MD, from the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health, had this message of hope: we are often overwhelmed by the substance abuse, mental illness and chronic medical problems we find on our streets, but there is a prescription to treat this epidemic. The treatment is called Housing First. Currently, activists in Los Angeles and Portland are tapping into health care funding to build and/or renovate housing. Santa Cruz needs to fully explore this option as a way to address this public health problem. We, as a community need to be smart; we must avail ourselves of the most current, proven, methods to keep our city citizens healthy and safe. There is a way.

To search for solutions, and actively work to resolve for this public health problem is simply the right thing to do; but remember this also: “It costs less to house homeless people than to leave them on the street and in shelters.” – Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 3/05/2012.

Patrice Boyle | Soif Restaurant  & Wine Merchants / La Posta Restaurant

Producer Responds

Victoria’s letter (8/16) criticizing the ground-breaking new movie What The Health is based on incorrect but typical reactions from folks who want to justify their unhealthy diets. She complains the doctors in the film were not trained in nutrition, but that’s way off the mark. The 13 health professionals in the film are recognized as some of the best educated, most progressive and well-known experts in the field of nutrition and medicine. They have conducted numerous studies, treated thousands of patients with diet-related diseases, written and spoken extensively on diet and are heads of physician’s organizations.

Victoria’s complaint that the movie doesn’t show “the other side of the argument” is absolutely incorrect. In fact, the movie is all about showing the arguments the other side puts forth. The “other side” being industrialized food producers, huge corporate powers who run the massive meat and dairy industries, and pharmaceutical corporations who are making billions on Americans chronically sick with food-related illnesses.

We are wasting trillions on healthcare, and yet remain sicker than ever. The film clearly shows that we can take matters into our own hands by changing our own habits. The movie is so packed with facts, medical study results and case histories, most people need to watch it several times to absorb the earth-shaking revelations brought to light.

The collusion between big business and those we entrust to advise us on diet and health is truly terrifying. What The Health is required watching (available on Netflix) for anyone who cares about their own health, the health of their family and the health of our planet.

Bill Meade | Associate Producer, What The Health | Watsonville

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