Carl Safina: A Pandemic Owl
Not long before the Covid 19 epidemic locked our nation down, ecologist and author Carl Safina and his wife Patricia were handed a tiny, raggedy ball of fluff by a wildlife rescuer. It turned out to be a baby owl on the brink of death the rescuer had found lying on the ground.
Carl and Patricia raised the chick they named Alfie. Through the process, Safina learned more than he ever imagined, not only about Alfie the Owl but also about how the world actually works and how people have become so blind to that — at our peril and at the peril of all creation.
Animals Are People (And People Are Animals)
We’ve talked with Safina about his recent books Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel and Becoming Wild, which is about animal cultures, that show the intelligence and conscious agency that are everywhere in the animal kingdom.
His new book, Alfie and Me, goes further by exploring the friendship between a wild owl and Safina. That relationship leads him to ask why and how we humans adopted the bizarre belief that we are unconnected to the rest of life on the planet. From its origins in Plato’s philosophy, to the French Enlightenment to modern science, it’s a belief that will doom us, sooner or later, to extinction.
About The Author
Carl Safina is the founding president of the Safina Center and is inaugural holder of the Carl Safina Endowed Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University.
Charlotte Dennett, Bringing Context to the Israel/Palestine Conflict
What The Western Media Is Missing
Ever since the horrific October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israeli residents, most of Western media has focussed on backing the Israelis’ right to defend themselves from attacks while downplaying the historical context within which those attacks took place: the 75 year-long dispossession of the Palestinians, the predations of Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory and the sealing off of Gaza as the world’s largest open-air prison, as well as a host of violations of the human rights and dignities of the Palestinian people.
Of course, nothing excuses killing civilians, whether they be Israeli or Palestinian. It does seem like the tide of mainstream opinion may be turning, as Israel’s savage siege and bombardment of Gaza and the resultant deaths of many thousands, including children, wake up even the corporate media to the larger issues surrounding the war.
The Hidden Role of The Fight to Control Oil
But one big factor in the conflict has remained largely hidden: the role oil — and specifically oil off the Gaza coast — plays.
Charlotte Dennett’s 2022 book Follow The Pipelines, is about how the Great Powers’ Game Over Oil underlies so much of the conflict in the Middle East.
It looks beyond ethnic hatreds and divisions — most notably Arabs versus Jews — to those who have set peoples against each other in their divide and rule quest to control and profit from the oil that lies under the sand and waters of that region.
We called Dennett up on short notice to ask her about the role the oil is playing in the Israel-Palestinian war.
About The Author
Charlotte Dennett is an attorney, author and investigative journalist.