From Publishers Weekly
The environment's glass is half-full for lyrical conservationist Safina (Song for the Blue Ocean)--even though coral reefs are suffocating under seaweed as parrotfish, which normally consume it, are netted to near extinction; penguins are finding less food to forage for as the Antarctic Ocean's winter sea ice melts earlier and freezes later, reducing the krill they can feed on; and migrating shorebirds are starving because horseshoe crabs have been overhunted and there aren't enough eggs to fuel the birds' annual 20,000-mile roundtrip. These are a few of many cause-and-effect calamities addressed in Safina's compassionate account of both a year of four seasons around his eastern Long Island beachfront home, and his travels that same year to the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Caribbean, and the islands of the Pacific. He leavens the gloom, however, with this perception: œI'm continually struck by how much beauty and vitality the world still holds--an optimism that suffuses this sensible and sensitive book. Safina reserves his real anger for capitalists, whose predatory practices, he writes at some length, œcontinually privatize profits and socialize costs, brazenly fouling the environment. (Jan.) (c)
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*Starred Review* Lazy Point is a “flat peninsula of scrubby pines between the Sound and the bay,” a “place of real power” on a wild swath of Long Island, where ecologist and ocean advocate Safina lives, avidly observing terns, sea ducks, and other shorebirds, as well as bluefish and horseshoe crabs. From his home base, this celebrated scientist and activist travels to places where the impact of climate change and environmental abuse is starkly evident. With the spiral of a year as his structure and with what Einstein termed the “circle of compassion” as his moral compass, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellow Safina illuminates the wondrous intricacy and interconnectedness of life in a book of beautifully modulated patterns and gracefully stated imperatives. Safina’s exacting descriptions of coral reefs and polar bears, the acidification of the oceans and melting glaciers are matched by bold observations regarding the consequences of our failure to incorporate knowledge of how nature, the original network, actually works into our now dangerously inadequate economic systems and social institutions. Emphasizing the fact that where nature is most abused, so, too, are human rights, Safina argues that we must renew the social contract, free ourselves from the politics of greed, and embrace the facts about the still thriving yet endangered, immeasurably precious living world. --Donna Seaman