Carl Safina


Carl Safina is a writer and educator. His work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards. He is the Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, where he formerly cochaired the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. In addition, he runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. Safina’s books include The View from Lazy Point and Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, among others, and his writing appears in the New York Times, Audubon, and National Geographic News. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife. 

It took thirty years for me to realize how much philosophy there is in watching terns, to understand that in all of philosophy there is only one important question: How ought we live? These creatures provide answers that have withstood the test of deep time.

You don’t sense the answers during ceaseless travels; you see them by coming home, and letting a few decades coil up in the same spot, giving your mind the room to consider what the world beyond our human borders all means, having the courage to ask whether it means anything at all, and having the humility to realize that it means everything.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard