We meet Eskimos whose way of life is melting away, explore a secret global seed vault hidden above the Arctic Circle, investigate dilemmas facing foraging bears and breeding penguins, and sail to formerly devastated reefs that are resurrecting as fish graze the corals algae-free. He shows how problems of the environment drive very real matters of human justice, well-being, and our prospects for peace.
In Safina's hands, nature's continuous renewal points toward our future. His lively stories grant new insights into how our world is changing, and what our response ought to be. Heart-wrenching, eye-opening and exquisitely written. Safina has been compared to many of the giants in the natural history world, but he's a better writer than the lot of 'em. The ocean seems to enlarge. You tie knots by muscle memory, and you operate your reel mostly by feel.
Your boat drifts, your thoughts drift. You sense the sweep of tide and water, and the boat gets rocked in turbulence just past each undersea ridgeline and boulder field. You, too, are looking up, searching constellations, dreaming. And you slip your leash to explore the vast vault of sky and great interior spaces.
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Theirs is no simple north-south. Three generations only go north; one generation goes from Mexico to the southern U. Only the fourth generation goes south, but it goes all the way from Canada to mass wintering sites in central Mexico. Northbound migrants live only about two months. Those making the southbound trip survive about nine months. It is a world lush with the living, a world that-despite the problems- still has what it takes to really produce. These are the animals expectant parents pain on nursery room walls.
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There are much bigger, more compassionate pro-life fish to fry. Passing along a world that can allow real children to flourish and the cavalcade of generations to unfold, and the least to live in modest dignity would be the biggest pro-life enterprise we could undertake. Eddies break off the Gulf Stream and come whirling over the shelf and occasionally hit the beaches and inlets with startlingly blue, clear water. In the water ride the eggs and larvae of reef fishes from a thousand miles south. Right now, that seems as improbable as seeing all these falcons.
Hope is the ability to see how things could be better. The world of human affairs has long been a shadowy place, but always backlit by the light of hope. Each person can add hope to the world. A resigned person subtracts hope. The more people strive, the more change becomes likely.
Revolutionary in making a break with e drift and downdraft of outdated, maladaptive modes of thought. Sep 12, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: I learned of this book when my librarian spouse was engaged in a year-long project of reading "year of" books -- an entire genre of books whose authors dedicated a year to a particular topic or practice. This meta project involved reading two such books each month, and we shared a few of them.
Since I am an environmental geographer, she read this one to me. Around the same time, I was realizing that the textbook in my introductory environmental geography class was becoming a bit out-of-date, and I learned of this book when my librarian spouse was engaged in a year-long project of reading "year of" books -- an entire genre of books whose authors dedicated a year to a particular topic or practice. Around the same time, I was realizing that the textbook in my introductory environmental geography class was becoming a bit out-of-date, and in particular that it was not adequately addressing climate change.
I decided to try assigning this book as the main text in that survey course, and I am very glad I did. This is all the more impressive because students really do struggle with this book. It is a beautifully written account of some very unpleasant -- one could say inconvenient -- truths about a rapidly changing world. Some students are offended that Safina does not do more to soften the blow, but most eventually come to appreciate his approach.
Like Rachel Carson before him, Safina is both a talented writer and a consummate scientist. He also reveals a deep love for his chosen home on Long Island sound and the many other places around the world that his work has taken him. I should emphasize that although I use this as a textbook, it is not written that way. In the process of telling his stories and making his case, this biologist happens to cover many of the topics I feel I need to include in my geography course.
He does it so beautifully that I am happy to provide a few supplements to cover those areas, so that my students and I can immerse ourselves in this important and beautiful work. My environmental geography blog includes a number of items about Safina and this book: Jul 29, Simon Alford rated it liked it.
‘The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World’ by Carl Safina
I picked this book up off the library shelf hoping a nature-y book like it would turn me into an eco-friendly person who appreciated the planet's miraculousness more. I'd always felt indebted towards the environment, but never had full motivation to do anything serious about it. This book was exactly the book I needed, and while it didn't make me suddenly passionate about nature, that's more my high expectations' fault than the book's.
To start, having each chapter one month out of the whole year I picked this book up off the library shelf hoping a nature-y book like it would turn me into an eco-friendly person who appreciated the planet's miraculousness more. To start, having each chapter one month out of the whole year was brilliant. It gave a little structure and almost a sort of plot line to what could have otherwise been an unorganized collection of ramblings.
Safina's writing is relaxing, contemplative, persuasive, and unassuming. Before reading, I expected the book to be less informational and preachy and more just a description of an amazing, nature-filled year, but now I'm glad Safina included his save-the-earth preachings, because I really enjoyed them.
However, the book wasn't the perfect one for me. Many times the slow-moving writing would fail to hold my attention. I was unable to get through pages in this book if I was in a distracting environment. Some sections of the book didn't interest me as much as others, and I found myself reading just to get to the next chapter for something new to begin.
As a whole, the book was too long for me; too much slow environmental musings in one book. By September I was just waiting to finish the book. Surely, along the way, digging through the pages to get to the end, I would find gold bits of commentary or a lovely description of nature that I'm glad I got to hear about, but as a whole it was a drag to get through. So I want to say everybody should at least start this book, because this sort of valuable environmental scoldings can be beneficial to everyone.
However, finishing the book if you don't like it midway through wouldn't make you miss anything crazy.
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Mar 19, Amy rated it really liked it Shelves: There was a bit too much infinite detail on fish and fishing and sea creatures and types of ducks for me, but in between, what an amazing and articulate look at how we are and are not affecting the natural world around us. This guy can write. May 12, Lois rated it it was amazing. Starting with the viewpoint provided from his renovated beach cottage overlooking the bay at Lazy Point on the Montauk Peninsula, the well-known ecologist Carl Safina takes us on a tour of the marine environment from a coastal perspective.
No matter whether he is discussing the role played by single-celled algae, or that played by the relatively giant Polar Bear, Safina shows that he is as sensitive to the environment as were Thoreau and Whitman in their day. He is clearly familiar with the work Starting with the viewpoint provided from his renovated beach cottage overlooking the bay at Lazy Point on the Montauk Peninsula, the well-known ecologist Carl Safina takes us on a tour of the marine environment from a coastal perspective.
He is clearly familiar with the work of these two great philosophers and recorders of the human spirit, with it no doubt having formed the spawning ground for many of his own insightful musings. One breathes his writing in as one does a welcoming balm, allowing his every word to soothe and ease the soul. His writing, which has the effect of enabling us to transcend our daily anguish, transports us to a world where the real matters and the trivial is, thankfully, obscured.
On a daily basis, I wonder at how very few people strive to appreciate the wonders of nature that surround us.
Those who desire a warm and comforting companion on a dark and blustery night need go no farther than The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World. Oct 02, Veronica rated it really liked it. This book is amazing. It speaks to you on a intellectual and an emotional level. Beautifully written, it comprises a mix of summarized scientific research and the authors own work in the field.
It follows the author through a year or travel and experience as he reflects on the happenings in the natural world from death to rebirth and reconstruction. It makes you really think about what humans are doing to the environment. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in environmental science This book is amazing. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in environmental science or just someone who wants a a different philosophical take on the world. Feb 15, Rick rated it really liked it Shelves: This was always fascinating and entertaining, particularly for someone who enjoys visiting that neck of the woods from time to time.
The advocacy parts worked often, particularly if you share the sense that time is running out on our wasteful management or lack thereof of our own lifespan-limited time on this planet. Safina handles the documentation part of the crisis well, matter of factly illustrating his case with evidence from around his Lazy Point home or, from the several excursions he takes to the further reaches of civilization the Arctic, Antarctica, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Alaska, and the Svalbard islands.
None of these pre-industrial belief systems has altered its various assumptions or ethical understandings to account for our unhealthy, even suicidal approach to the planet and its resources.
Safina is a calm, appreciating lover of life and the natural world. He does his best to sound a warning without sounding like a doomsayer. The View from Lazy Point describes a world too beautiful and essential to lose but at risk. Mar 19, soraya rated it really liked it. Jun 29, Marnie Zorn rated it it was ok. Jul 26, Ray Wittekind rated it it was amazing. Very good, from a scientific and environmental perspective. He got a little preachy when he delved into the political issues. Aug 09, Jean V. Naggar Literary rated it it was amazing. We can ask no more from those who warn about dark days ahead than that they also awaken us to the miracle of everyday life as they try to illuminate a better path forward.
A superb work of environmental reportage and reflection.
It is Safina's meditations For, really, this is a book about philosophy It is about what it means to be human in a world where the rhythms of life have been throw askew, indeed, burst asunder Read his book and remember, or learn, what is to live in the embrace of the seasons and to see in all life oneself. An optimism suffuses this sensible and sensitive book. His is a voice worth listening to, and I hope his song hits the top of the charts.
Yes, he tells truth to power, but his writing is also full of beauty, optimism and the quiet reverie that comes from living close to nature. The writing is both powerful and poetic, the observations so keen and telling as to shed new light on so many subjects: He rails against the concept of growth-based development.
Mr Safina rubs away at the chalk circle that 19th-century thinkers drew around humanity to separate it from the natural world. This thing is a great glittering gem of a book, certainly the first immortal work of popular natural history of the 21st century. It was a thrill and an honor to read.
And when I finished I felt young again and full of lightning. This is among the best works of nonfiction I've ever read. The author is a biologist whose narrative history of one year encompasses three things: Safina is not only a knowledgeable scientist, he is a gifted writer, and the combination makes The View From This is among the best works of nonfiction I've ever read. Safina is not only a knowledgeable scientist, he is a gifted writer, and the combination makes The View From Lazy Point a true work of literary nonfiction.
During the winter of , I was busily shoveling out from snow storm number The snow was so deep that it appeared blue to me as I shoveled it; the sun was going down and the first stars were coming out. All was quiet and peaceful; cold and still. I was struck, at that moment, by how utterly beautiful the world is, and I wished I could somehow capture what I was seeing in feeling, but the words elude me still. Right about then, a podcast I has been listening to went into an interview with the author, and as he read a few sample pages from his work, I knew that there was some synchronicity at play.
It was one of those moments when things seem to line up just right. Carl Safina, in his book, manages to capture the startling, sometimes savage, sometimes sublime soul of our world. He sees it in the birds and fish that he so loves, in the seasons and the landscapes of places so many people would describe as barren or deserted. He writes about the world as he sees it with love and reverence, and while the author describes himself as being secular, one can't help but sense a feeling of transcendence in his words that borders on the sacred.
This book describes holiness. There's no other way to put it. Along with his riveting accounts of the often times struggling existence of animals, fish, and plants in our changing world, Mr.
Review: The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World
Safina's ruminations on man's place on our planet were most insightful. Have you ever read a book that puts into words things you've struggled to articulate in your own mind? Inchoate ideas, whispers of discernment, shadows of understanding, glimpses of truths that elude you?
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In this book, I found a voice for many of the things that have troubled my thoughts over these past few years with regard to our planet and the changes it is undergoing. I am not claiming half of the mind or ideas of the author as my own; the man is brilliant. I am saying that Mr. Safina's observations about humanity and our environment made clear things I had only glimpsed before.
It was a powerful experience for me. The term 'enlightening' comes to mind, in the truest sense that I feel enlightened. Wrote all over it. I'm going to suggest this to friends who I know will both enjoy it and benefit from it. A life changer, a mind expander, a soul enricher. Sep 19, Susan Clark-cook rated it really liked it. This book is written beautifully and the descriptions of the natural world are breathtaking. It is written by an ecologist very concerned with the state of our world right now, and what we are doing to basically, ruin it.
He sounds a warning bell that is clearly articulated and gives examples from real life that makes it ring even truer, but , although he states that without our immediate action the world is going to suffer, and suffer badly-not just the flora and fauna, but the people who live This book is written beautifully and the descriptions of the natural world are breathtaking. He sounds a warning bell that is clearly articulated and gives examples from real life that makes it ring even truer, but , although he states that without our immediate action the world is going to suffer, and suffer badly-not just the flora and fauna, but the people who live here now and in the future.
He wants us to think about the kind of world we are creating and leaving for the unborn generations, or even those who now will inherit the damage we are wreaking, ie our children, and grandchildren and begs us to consider them, and as some native american tribes do "unto the 7th generation". If we do not, it will be on our heads and it will be our legacy to be known as the ones who lead to earth's downfall - and even, perhaps our extinction.
Despite all this he does sound a hopeful note through out declaring that it is not too late, and indeed, we can change the environment and recover from the disasters we are seeing and have seen He believes in regeneration and recovery but only if effort and awareness are put into the mix.
I myself, am not as hopeful that we supposedly most intelligent creatures on earth, will do the needed actions and make the needed sacrifices. The one jarring note for me while reading this book, and I have to admit it distracted me all the way through, was the cognitive dissonance he created, for me at least, between his beautiful descriptions and lyrical prose, and almost magical way of looking at the natural world, by the glee and delight he also takes in killing some of these beautiful wonders, most notably his descriptions of fishing, killing fish and sharks and so on. He does this after talking about "looking into their eyes" and seeing, well something akin to souls for lack of better word, and goes on to describe how he reels them in, etc To me this just doesn't jib with loving them.
Maybe that is just me. However, I do have to say it disturbed me a great deal. His is a voice worth listening to, and I hope his song hits the top of the charts. Carl Safina is a contemporary prophet who merits your attention. Yes, he tells truth to power, but his writing is also full of beauty, optimism and the quiet reverie that comes from living close to nature. I was flat-out blown away. This thing is a great glittering gem of a book, certainly the first immortal work of popular natural history of the 21st century.
It was a thrill and an honor to read.