Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region’s ecological complexities.
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with naturalist and educator David B. Williams about his book Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound, sharing from conversations he conducted with archeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities. He traces how generations of humans have interacted with species like geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He also presents an unflinching look at how the Sound’s ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. With wit, grace, and a depth of information, Williams introduces newcomers to the astonishing life that inhabits the Sound and offers lifetime residents new insight into and appreciation of the waters they call home. With the 51st annual Earth Day in sight, join Williams and Scher as they offer a poignant reminder that, as life returns to “normal,” business cannot go back to normal when it comes to restoring our planet.
David B. Williams is a naturalist, author, and educator. His many books include the award-winning Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography and Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City.
Steve Scher is a podcaster, interviewer, and teacher. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years. He has taught at the University of Washington since 2009. He is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.