Carl Safina works to show that nature and human dignity require each other. His recent works probe the ways in which our relationship with the natural world affects human relations, and how the scientific facts imply the need for moral and ethical responses.
His early research focused on seabird ecology. In the 1990s he brought fisheries issues into the environmental mainstream. He led campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, to re-write U.S. federal fisheries law, to work toward international conservation of tunas, sharks, and other fishes, and to achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty.
Safina, who has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University, is the author of more than a hundred scientific and popular publications. His work has been featured in National Geographic (magazine) and in The New York Times. He has also contributed a new Foreword to Rachel Carson’s seminal work, The Sea Around Us.
Safina is the author of numerous books. His first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, was chosen 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 the Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction.
His second book, Eye of the Albatross, won the John Burroughs Medal and the National Academies’ communications award for the year’s best book. Safina’s Voyage of the Turtle was a N.Y. Times Editors’ Choice. He published his first children’s book, Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue in 2010.
The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World was released in January, 2011. Lazy Point drew starred reviews and wide critical acclaim, was named a New York Times Editors' Choice and was National Geographic Traveler’s book of the month, and won the 2012 Orion Book Award. Safina’s chronicle of the Gulf blowout, A Sea in Flames, was released on April 19, 2011—the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. A Sea in Flames is also a New York Times Editors' Choice.
He is also author of "Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel."
Safina has been profiled on Nightline and in The New York Times; named among “100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century” by Audubon magazine; and featured on the Bill Moyers PBS special “Earth on Edge.” His new TV series, Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina, premiered on PBS in April 2011.
He has honorary doctorates from the State University of New York and Long Island University. Safina is founding president of The Carl Safina Center and is adjunct professor at Stony Brook University.
Safina is a MacArthur Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Pew Fellow in Marine conservation, an Utne Reader visionary, and a recipient of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo’s Rabb Medal, among other honors.
DegreesPh.D. in Ecology, Rutgers University
M.S. in Ecology, Rutgers University
B.A. in Environmental Studies, State University of New York at Purchase
Honorary DegreesHonorary Doctorate, Drexel University (2013)
Honorary Doctorate, State University of New York (2005)
Honorary Doctorate, Long Island University (2003)
Literary AwardsOrion Book Award for The View from Lazy Point (2012).
National Academies Communication Award "Year's Best Book for Communicating Science," for Eye of the Albatross (2003)
John Burroughs Writer’s Medal. (2003)
Herman Melville Writer's Award. New York State Marine Educators' Association. (2001)
Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. (2000)
New York Times Notable Book for "Song for the Blue Ocean" (1998).
Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction Selection Award for "Song for the Blue Ocean" (1998).
Library Journal Best Science Book Selection Award for "Song for the Blue Ocean" (1998).
Other Honors and DistinctionsUtne Reader visionary. (2011)
Bianimale Fellowship. (2006)
George B. Rabb Medal. Chicago Zoological Society. (2006)
Senior Fellow Appointment. World Wildlife Fund. (2003–2006)
George H. Cook Distinguished Alumnus Award. Rutgers University’s Ecology and Evolution Program. (2003)
Conservation Award. International Game Fish Association. (2001)
"Genius" Fellowship. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (2001)
Carl R. Sullivan Conservation Award. American Fisheries Society. (1999)
Distinguished Alumnus Award. American Association of State Colleges and Universities. (1999)
Named among the 100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century. Audubon Magazine. (1998)
Elected a Resident Fellow of The Explorer's Club. (1998)
Conservation Award. South Fork Naturalists Society. (1998)
Conservationist of the Year. SoundWatch. (1998)
Alumni Honor Roll. State University of New York. (1996)
Pew Scholars Award in Conservation and the Environment. Pew Charitable Trusts. (1991)
Elected Member, American Ornithologists Union. (1991)
BoardsAlan Alda Center for Communicating Science
The Safina Center
SEA; Sea Education Association
Duke University's Center for Marine Conservation Steering Committee
Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment Advisory Board
South Fork Natural History Society Board
World Wildlife Fund's Marine Leadership Committee
Safina has been awarded Pew and Guggenheim Fellowships; he has also been a Senior Fellow with the World Wildlife Fund and is a MacArthur Fellow.
He has been a visiting fellow at Yale University and is an adjunct full professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University.