Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina

By January 24, 2013 Interviews


Dr. Carl Safina is at it again, revolutionizing marine conservation with his new show on PBS, Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina.  This show is a conservationists dream! Instead of focusing on the devastation found everywhere, Carl travels around the globe to highlight the people and projects that are getting things done for our oceans!  It illustrates that you don’t have to be a trained scientist to make a big impact in ocean conservation, and with enough passion anyone can do anything.
Whales-and-the-Pachico-The-Man-They-First-Approached.-Photo-by-Eddie-KisfaludyOne of my favorites was a story out of Mexicos Laguna San Ignacio and a man named Pachico Mayoral (left), previously terrified of the gray whale and its reputation as “devil fish” from the local whalers.  After meeting one of these “monsters” face to face, actually reaching out and petting it, he realized they were just curious gentle giants.  41 years later, there is a thriving eco-tourism whale watching co-op developed by the local fishermen that brings people from all over the world to experience these whales in their yearly calving grounds! You can watch the full episode from last years season here!
We had the privilege of interviewing Carl Safina about his new show, current ocean issues and what you can do to help!  You can read the interview below!

SUFB: Can you give our readers an overview of your newest adventure, the new PBS series Saving the Ocean?

Carl Safina: We travel the world for stories on how people are solving ocean-related problems.

SUFB: What was the inspiration for this series?

Carl Safina: There’s so much depressing gloom-and-doom environmental news. But there’s good news and inspiring news that people don’t get to hear. The problems are real, but we think it’s time for a little inspiration for a change.

SUFB: After watching the already released episodes I am envious of your experiences.  What has been your favorite so far and Why?

Carl Safina: Leatherback turtles.

Why? Incredible gentle giants and so ancient. You can sit with them as they lay eggs. It’s very intimate. Love ‘em.

SUFB: With all the ocean related doomsday prophecies it is great to see the successful conservation efforts from so many different backgrounds.  What do you feel to be the number one issue effecting our oceans today that is not being addressed or that needs more attention? Why? What can be done to combat it?

Carl Safina: Ocean acidification. The same carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels that is warming the atmosphere also dissolves into the ocean, where it forms carbonic acid. This is already killing oyster larvae in commercial hatcheries, and causing corals to grow slower and thinner. It will increasingly become a problem for any ocean creature with a shell because the reaction uses up calcium carbonate needed by shelled animals, and anything with gills and blood because energy will be required to continually buffer and rebalance blood pH. Nothing can be done in the short term. Long-term, we have to stop using fossil fuels and switch to clean renewables like wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, algae, maybe even nuclear though that entails a different suite of risks.

SUFB: What is your best piece of advice for budding ocean conservationists trying to get into the field?

Carl Safina: Read, think, experience, volunteer, plan a career path but stay flexible, and get as much education as you can.

SUFB: For those that are ocean minded but have chosen a different career path, what can they do to help save the oceans?

Carl Safina: Read, think, experience, volunteer, support groups doing the work that you like to see.

*Saving the Ocean’s 10 half-hour episodes are now airing on PBS stations nationwide. Dates and times vary, so please check your local listings.

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