My work is to witness and share how humanity is changing the natural world and what those changes mean for wildlife and for people. My emphasis tends to be on the ocean, but I’ve written about birds, elephants, wolves and many others. I am interested not just in what we’re losing (the numbers) but who we’re losing; how other animals think and feel, how they try to stay alive and keep their babies alive and what life means to them.
I live on Long Island with my wife Patricia, the two best beach-running dogs in the world, some chickens, a couple of parrots, and of course Frankie the kingsnake. Below is all the obligatory career stuff that I must include for purposes of completeness of a section called “About.”
My not-for-profit organization is The Safina Center, based at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. I hold an endowed chair in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences of Stony Brook University, where I am also co-chair of the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
My earlier work focused on seabirds, then on fishing policy. In the 1990s I helped lead campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, re-write U. S. federal fisheries law, work toward international conservation of tunas, sharks, and other fishes, and achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty.
My PhD in ecology is from Rutgers University. I’ve published six books and many scientific and popular articles on ecology and oceans, including featured work in National Geographic and The New York Times, and a new Foreword to Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us.
Bragging rights: My first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction selection, and a Library Journal Best Science Book selection; it won me the Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction.
My second book, Eye of the Albatross, won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing and was chosen by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine as the year’s best book for communicating science. I also wrote, Voyage of the Turtle (a New York Times Editors’ Choice), Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue (a children’s chapter book), The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World (also a New York Times Editors’ Choice and winner of the Orion Book Award), and A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout. I also hosted the 10-part PBS television series Saving the Ocean.
I’ve been profiled on Nightline and twice in the New York Times; named by Audubon Magazine among “100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century,” and featured on the Bill Moyers PBS special “Earth on Edge.”
I’ve got honorary doctorates from Drexel and Long Island Universities and the State University of New York.
I am a recipient of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo’s Rabb Medal, and a James Beard Medal, and have had fellowships from the Pew, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations.