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Ecologist Carl Safina to speak on campus

Fisheries, coral reefs, forests, climate change, poverty and peace. These seemingly disparate issues will collide in a talk by Carl Safina on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Ernst Common Room of Blaustein Humanities Center. The talk is free and open to the public.

Safina is the founder and president of the Blue Ocean Institute, which strives to educate people on the importance of marine conservation through science, art and literature. In his talk, "Caught in the Same Net: The Ocean and Us," he will draw on his travels from Long Island to the high Arctic, Antarctica and across the coastal tropics to explain how the changes he's witnessed challenge not just nature but all of humankind.

The lecture will cover how religion, ethics and science are converging toward a common cause on environmental matters, and how moral responses can add momentum toward increasingly crucial solutions. Despite alarming trends, Safina believes there is a path forward.

Prior to founding the Blue Ocean Institute, Safina served as the Audubon Society's vice president for ocean conservation. He has been selected as a MacArthur Fellow and a Pew Fellow, and was named among the most important conservationists of the 20th century by Audubon Magazine. His ability to communicate scientific data in prose has earned him comparisons to Rachel Carson, the ecologist who almost singlehandedly exposed the American public to threats to the environment in 1962 with her book "Silent Spring."

Safina is the author of six books, including two published this year that were both named as Editors' Choice selections by The New York Times Book Review. "The View from Lazy Point" is a meditative series of ecological reports and observations from marine sites around the world, and "A Sea in Flames" is a report on the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His other books have received numerous awards and he's written both for National Geographic and The New York Times.

Beyond his writings, Safina has also been involved in policy and activism. In the 1990s he helped lead campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, rewrite U. S. federal fisheries law, work toward international conservation of tuna, sharks and other fishes, and achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty.

"Caught in the Same Net: The Ocean and Us" is co-sponsored by Friends of the Connecticut College Library and the Sound Lab Foundation.

"The Sound Lab Foundation lecture, now in its 14th year, brings prominent national speakers to campus to address contemporary issues," explained Benjamin Panciera, the Ruth Rusch Sheppe '40 Director of Special Collections in the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives. "We are thrilled to have such a distinguished expert speaking on such an urgent problem this year."

November 14, 2011