Paul Bolster in conversation with Megan Desrosiers - Saving the Georgia Coast

Paul Bolster in conversation with Megan Desrosiers - Saving the Georgia Coast

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2024 7:00 PM

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

In the frontispiece of this book is a shocking map. It shows the environmentally protected land on the Georgia Coast. Viewed in its entirety, the extent of coastal wildland is incredible, as well as heartwarming and inspiring. This surprising book is an insider look at how Georgia's crown jewel came to be–a lesson from the past and an important template for the future. Paul Bolster has written a carefully researched, character-driven, and comprehensive environmental history of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act. It is an eye-opening labor of love.
—Janisse Ray, author of "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood" and "Drifting into Darien"

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome author, historian, and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives Paul Bolster to discuss his book, "Saving the Georgia Coast: A Political History of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act." The author will appear in conversation with Megan Desrosiers, President and CEO of One Hundred Miles.

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue. Masks are optional.

About the Book

Fifty years ago, Georgia chose how it would use the natural environment of its coast. The General Assembly passed the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act in 1970, and, surprisingly, Lester Maddox, a governor who had built a conservative reputation by defending segregation, signed it into law. With this book, Paul Bolster narrates the politics of the times and brings to life the political leaders and the coalition of advocates who led Georgia to pass the most comprehensive protection of marshlands along the Atlantic seaboard.

"Saving the Georgia Coast" brings to light the intriguing and colorful characters who formed that coalition: wealthy island owners, hunters and fishermen, people who made their home on the coast, courageous political leaders, garden club members, clean-water protectors, and journalists. It explores how that political coalition came together behind governmental leaders and traces the origins of environmental organizations that continue to impact policy today. "Saving the Georgia Coast" enhances the reader's understanding of the many steps it takes for a bill to become a law.

Bolster's account reviews state policy toward the coast today, giving the reader an opportunity to compare yesterday to the present. Current demands on the coastal environment are different—including spaceports and sea rise from climate change—but the political pressures to generate new wealth and new jobs, or to perch a home on the edge of the sea, are no different than fifty years ago. "Saving the Georgia Coast" spotlights the past and present decisions needed to balance human desires with the limits of what nature has to offer.

About the Author

Paul Bolster, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1975–1987), is a historian, freelance writer, and speaker.

About the Conversation Partner

Megan Desrosiers is the founding President/CEO of One Hundred Miles, Georgia’s coastal advocacy organization. In an effort to elevate the Georgia coast as a recognized place of historical, cultural, and biological significance, Megan spends her time working in local communities, on regional collaboration projects, and lobbying in Atlanta. Over the past 10 years, Megan and her staff have restored the 25 foot salt marsh buffer, stopped offshore drilling in Georgia, protected sea turtles from harmful summer dredging, and accomplished the first-ever repeal referendum in the state to stop Spaceport Camden. All the while she and her team have grown One Hundred Miles into a million plus dollar organization with a staff of 13 and a program portfolio that spans 11 counties.

Before becoming coming to Georgia’s coast, Megan spent 10 years at the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) in South Carolina. She was instrumental in efforts to conserve land in the Ashley River Historic Corridor and on Johns Island. She also worked to establish the organization’s first climate and energy and agriculture program agendas.

Megan has worked through the years to help start up organizations form and become sustainable coastal advocacy partners in Georgia and South Carolina. In addition to forming One Hundred Miles, she worked with a team to start GrowFood Carolina, South Carolina’s first local food hub, and collaborated with a group of diverse leaders to initiate Charleston County’s Greenbelt Program. Megan has also served on the founding boards of the South Carolina Outdoor Education Program (SCOEP) and Charleston Moves, a bicycle/pedestrian advocacy organization.