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About Carl Safina
His writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, Audubon, Yale e360, and National Geographic, and online at Huffington Post, CNN.com, Medium, and elsewhere. His books include the classic, "Song for the Blue Ocean," and "Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel." Beyond Words has been adapted into a 2-volume young-reader's edition. Carl also has an illustrated children's book, "Nina Delmar and The Great Whale Rescue." His 2020 book is, "Becoming Wild; How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace."
Safina is now the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University and is founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean, which can be viewed free at PBS.org.
Carl lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends.
More at CarlSafina.org and SafinaCenter.org
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2020
"In this superbly articulate cri de coeur, Safina gives us a new way of looking at the natural world that is radically different."—The Washington Post
New York Times bestselling author Carl Safina brings readers close to three non-human cultures—what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them.
A New York Times Notable Books of 2020
Some people insist that culture is strictly a human accomplishment. What are those people afraid of? This book looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too experience your life with the understanding that you are an individual within a particular community. You too are not who you are by genes alone; your culture is a second form of inheritance, received from thousands of individuals as pools of knowledge passing through generations like an eternal torch. You too may raise young, know beauty, or struggle to negotiate a peace. And your culture, too, changes and evolves. As situations shift, so does your community’s capacity for learning, especially social learning, which allows behaviors to adjust much faster than genes alone could adapt.
Becoming Wild brings readers close to the lives of non-human animals to show how other creatures teach and learn. With reporting from deep in nature, alongside portraits of various animals in their free-living communities, Safina offers a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity. Readers are taken behind the curtain of life on Earth and asked to reckon with the most urgent of questions: Who are we here with?
I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.
Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author's exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea's abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world's changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.
Eye-opening, wise, and filled with triumphant and heartbreaking stories about the wolf population at Yellowstone (as well as some personal anecdotes about dogs), Carl Safina's Beyond Words: What Wolves and Dogs Think and Feel accessibly explores the mysteries of animal thought and behavior for young readers.
Weaving decades of field research with exciting new discoveries about the brain, and complete with astonishing photos, Beyond Words offers an extraordinary look at what makes these animals different from us, but more importantly, what makes them similar, namely, their feelings of joy, grief, anger, and love.
These similarities between human and nonhuman consciousness and empathy allow the reader to reexamine how we interact with animals as well as how we see our own place in the world.
The story of an ancient sea turtle and what its survival says about our future, from the award-winning writer and naturalist
Though nature is indifferent to the struggles of her creatures, the human effect on them is often premeditated. The distressing decline of sea turtles in Pacific waters and their surprising recovery in the Atlantic illuminate what can go both wrong and right from our interventions, and teach us the lessons that can be applied to restore health to the world's oceans and its creatures. As Voyage of the Turtle, Carl Safina's compelling natural history adventure makes clear, the fate of the astonishing leatherback turtle, whose ancestry can be traced back 125 million years, is in our hands.
Writing with verve and color, Safina describes how he and his colleagues track giant pelagic turtles across the world's oceans and onto remote beaches of every continent. As scientists apply lessons learned in the Atlantic and Caribbean to other endangered seas, Safina follows leatherback migrations, including a thrilling journey from Monterey, California, to nesting grounds on the most remote beaches of Papua, New Guinea. The only surviving species of its genus, family, and suborder, the leatherback is an evolutionary marvel: a "reptile" that behaves like a warm-blooded dinosaur, an ocean animal able to withstand colder water than most fishes and dive deeper than any whale.
In his peerless prose, Safina captures the delicate interaction between these gentle giants and the humans who are finally playing a significant role in their survival.
"Magnificent . . . A joyful, hopeful book. Safina gives us ample reasons to be enthralled by this astonishing ancient animal—and ample reasons to care." -- The Los Angeles Times
"One of the most delightful natural history studies in decades." —The Boston Globe
Eye of the Albatross takes us soaring to locales where whales, sea turtles, penguins, and shearwaters flourish in their own quotidian rhythms. Carl Safina's guide and inspiration is an albatross he calls Amelia, whose life and far-flung flights he describes in fascinating detail. Interwoven with recollections of whalers and famous explorers, Eye of the Albatross probes the unmistakable environmental impact of the encounters between man and marine life. Safina's perceptive and authoritative portrait results in a transforming ride to the ends of the Earth for the reader, as well as an eye-opening look at the health of our oceans.
An exhilarating journey of natural renewal through a year with MacArthur fellow Carl Safina
Beginning in his kayak in his home waters of eastern Long Island, Carl Safina's The View from Lazy Point takes us through the four seasons to the four points of the compass, from the high Arctic south to Antarctica, across the warm belly of the tropics from the Caribbean to the west Pacific, then home again. We meet Eskimos whose way of life is melting away, explore a secret global seed vault hidden above the Arctic Circle, investigate dilemmas facing foraging bears and breeding penguins, and sail to formerly devastated reefs that are resurrecting as fish graze the corals algae-free.
"Each time science tightens a coil in the slack of our understanding," Safina writes, "it elaborates its fundamental discovery: connection."
He shows how problems of the environment drive very real matters of human justice, well-being, and our prospects for peace.
In Safina's hands, nature's continuous renewal points toward our future. His lively stories grant new insights into how our world is changing, and what our response ought to be.
Safina takes us deep inside the faulty thinking that caused the lethal explosion. We join him on aerial surveys across an oil-coated sea. We confront pelicans and other wildlife whose blue universe fades to black. Safina skewers the excuses and the silly jargon—like “junk shot” and “top kill”—that made the tragedy feel like a comedy of horrors—and highlighted Big Oil’s appalling lack of preparedness for an event that was inevitable.
Based on extensive research and interviews with fishermen, coastal residents, biologists, and government officials, A Sea In Flames has some surprising answers on whether it was “Obama’s Katrina,” whether the Coast Guard was as inept in its response as BP was misleading, and whether this worst unintended release of oil in history was really America’s worst ecological disaster.
Impassioned, moving, and even sharply funny, A Sea in Flames is ultimately an indictment of America’s main addiction. Safina writes: “In the end, this is a chronicle of a summer of pain—and hope. Hope that the full potential of this catastrophe would not materialize, hope that the harm done would heal faster than feared, and hope that even if we didn’t suffer the absolutely worst—we’d still learn the big lesson here. We may have gotten two out of three. That’s not good enough. Because: there’ll be a next time.”