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Carl Safina
Carl Safina is a MacArthur Fellow, Pew Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow, a professor at Stony Brook University and founding president of The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute). His books include "Song for the Blue Ocean," "The View From Lazy Point" and "A Sea in Flames.” Safina hosts the 10-part series "Saving the Ocean," which can be seen free at

Entries by Carl Safina

Harambe the Gorilla -- Symptom Of Our Deeper Dysfunction

(6) Comments | Posted June 18, 2016 | 4:40 PM

It's ironic that the shooting death of Harambe, a western lowland gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, has sparked a debate over zoos. It's odd because: 1) Zoo shootings are so exceptionally rare that most zoos will never face any event calling for a gun, 2) Therefore, everyday conditions...

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Wild In The Streets: Pronouns On The Loose

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2016 | 11:09 AM

When a cow recently broke loose from a New York City slaughterhouse onto the streets of New York, The New York Times ran the headline, "Cow Who Escaped New York Slaughterhouse." Using "who" for a non-human is heifer heresy, and The Times struggled with inner conflict. While the headline ran...

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Why Burning Ivory Is Right

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 4:23 PM

Wild tusked mother elephant and calf, Kenya, Africa, 2013. Credit: Carl Safina

On April 30, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta lit a fire in Nairobi National Park that would ultimately consume one hundred tons of elephant tusks. In an editorial, President...

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Is Swaziland Selling Live Elephants and Rhino Horns Simply for Profit?

(3) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 12:21 PM

Wild tusked female elephant with family, Kenya, Africa, 2013. Credit: Carl Safina

Back in February when Swaziland sold 17 formerly free-living African elephants to three U.S. zoos (Dallas, Omaha and Wichita), I made a phone call to the president of one of...

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Leave Arctic Oil Under the Seafloor

(2) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 12:16 PM

A portion of the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico blowout in May 2010. Photo: Carl Safina

Six years ago we rushed to the Gulf of Mexico after Deepwater Horizon exploded and BP's well gushed oil for 87 panicked-filled days of oiled beaches,...

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What I Eat

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 4:31 PM


Because I write about the human relationship to nature and about what non-human animals think and feel, people often ask me what I eat. I am not strictly in any category. Food can be complicated but improving our relationship...

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Spirituality, Compassion, Marshmallow Peeps

(1) Comments | Posted March 28, 2016 | 10:44 AM


In a thoughtful interview with Sam Mowe, The Sixth Extinction's Pulizer-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert responds to a question about spirituality. She speaks of spirituality in a broad sense, as meaning thoughtfulness and restraint.

I have had to think about my...

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SeaWorld Ends Orca Breeding: Experts Weigh In

(2) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 2:38 PM

SeaWorld just announced that they would no longer let their orcas -- also known as killer whales -- breed. I asked several killer whale and animal behavior experts for their opinions.

Barbara J. King, whose books include How Animals Grieve, wrote:

Killer whales and...
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This Land Ain't Our Land

(33) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 12:55 PM

Caption: A view of the Steens Mountains from the Buena Vista Overlook located in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon Department of Transportation.

The standoff of armed ranchers occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is now over. They represent the deepest rift in...

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Miley Cyrus Goes Wild

(2) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 5:44 PM

2015-10-06-1444164730-5847101-MountainsBeyondMountains.JPGCaption: Mountains beyond mountains. Photo: Carl Safina

It was raining and blowing hard all morning as we sat at anchor in a bay, heavily sheltered between steep, forested shores in the maze of islands that constitute Canada's wondrous Pacific coast. The float-plane we'd been...

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What's Learned From the Killing of Blaze, the Grizzly Bear

(17) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 11:10 AM

Last month, an African lion known as Cecil was lured out of a protected area and killed by a high-paying sport-hunter, igniting unprecedented worldwide outrage over the killing of a free-living animal. Earlier this month, a grizzly bear known as Blaze (after a light-colored marking on her flank)...

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Cecil The Lion: A Big-picture Guide to Directed Outrage

(11) Comments | Posted July 31, 2015 | 4:39 PM


David Shiffman of Southern Fried Science was kind enough to send me his 11-point thought piece on the killing of Cecil. Here's my list; I only have four points.

1) Humans are by far the kindest, most compassionate, most creative, most...

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Population and Women Under-Recognized in Pope's Encyclical. Applause Anyway.

(3) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 7:01 PM

In a brilliant blend of distilled science and religious language, the pope has said what many of us have been saying for years: The whole Earth, our shared and increasingly degraded home, now cries out for our respect and reverence.

There is no taking away from the remarkable seismic...

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Illicit Ivory: A Film Worth Watching

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 5:11 PM

2015-06-01-1433189303-693112-elephantsneedtheirfamilies.JPG Elephants need their ivory, because elephants need their families. Photo: Carl Safina

Everyone, it seems, loves elephants. A new film titled Illicit Ivory premiered last week on KCET in Southern California and elsewhere. You can watch it online at The...

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Deepwater Horizon: Why We Should Not Open New Areas to Drilling

(1) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 7:59 PM

On April 20, 2010, Transocean's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and, over 87 panic-filled days, spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

I was there in the summer of 2010, while oil gushed from the hole that BP made,...

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A Recipe for Seafood Survival

(1) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 11:09 AM

Co-authored by Brett Jenks

You know that hunger and the oceans are on a collision course when your 89-year-old mother phones you -- as Safina's mom did this morning -- and says, "Did you see the article saying that we're driving seafood extinct? We'd better go get some oysters and...

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To Fight Disease, Protect the Ocean

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 5:44 PM

Co-authored by Carl Safina, Author and host, 'Saving the Ocean' on PBS


Why should we curb ocean pollution, stop overfishing, prevent invasive species and save coral reefs?

Because the next wonder drug in the battle against some of our most insidious diseases, such...

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Your Chance, Your Voice, On a Liquefied Gas Facility Off New York

(2) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 1:57 PM


The hearing is tonight, Wednesday. And there are other ways to comment.

The proposal is to create a liquefied natural gas facility 20 miles south of Jones Beach. It would be called "Port Ambrose." Ships would bring super-chilled liquefied natural gas, which would...

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Breeding Protections for Giant Bluefin Tuna

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 3:27 PM

This post was co-authored with Elizabeth Brown.

Starting January 1, fishing within two bluefin tuna breeding hotspots in the Gulf of Mexico with a particularly destructive kind of fishing gear during their peak breeding months (April-May) will be prohibited by federal rule. The technique uses fishing lines up to 40...

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Near Collapse of Gulf of Maine Cod Leads to Fishing Ban

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Co-authored by Elizabeth Brown

Last Monday, fishery managers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that they are banning nearly all fishing for Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod for at least the next 6 months, to protect the severely depleted population.

In August, scientists declared that the...

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