In early May Orion magazine announced that its prestigious Orion Book Award would be given this year to School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Adjunct Professor Carl Safina’s latest volume, The Vew From Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World.
Beginning with Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World’s Coasts and Beneath the Seas in 1998, Safina, renowned ocean conservationist, lecturer, author and founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute, has produced a series of volumes redolent of the sea, the beauty and intricacy of its life, and the need for humans to adopt a sea ethos, a recognition that our future and that of the sea are inextricably bound together.
All of Safina’s books have met with acclaim; several have won prizes and awards, and Lazy Point continues this trend. The Point is a geographic feature, a sandspit at the eastern entrance to Napeague Harbor on far eastern Long Island, and the small community of beachside cottages nearby whose residents, including Safina, live cheek-by-jowl with the seasonal rhythm of the sea. That rhythm unfolds itself in Lazy Point, from seaducks rafting on Gardiner’s Bay in the dead of winter through the mass spawning of antedeluvian horseshoe crabs on the beaches of late May to bluefish savaging late-season menhaden in November as the air cools and the pace of all life at Lazy Point begins to slow.
Safina intersperses tales of Lazy Point with tales of places even more far-flung: Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, southeast Alaska where the coastal brown bears roam, and the island nation of Palau in the South Pacific, once edenic and whose spectacular coral reefs are now recovering from a severe “bleaching” episode caused by elevated water temperatures throughout much of the central and southern Pacific Ocean. Throughout, Safina’s message of connectedness, the connections between the life forms in the sea and between them and us, shines through.
The Orion Book Award is given annually to a book that addresses the human relationship with the natural world in a fresh, thought-provoking and engaging manner. Submitted books are judged against several criteria:
• That it deepens our connection to the natural world
• That it presents new ideas about our relationship with nature
• That it achieves excellence in writing.
The panel of judges is comprised of distinguished writers, editors and others from the nature/environmental writing community.
Consult the Blue Ocean Institute website for further information about Lazy Point, Safina’s other books and the Institute’s other conservation-inspired activities and programs.