CarlSafinaDr. Carl Safina, an award-winning author who is working on his seventh book, met with Marine Conservation and Policy students in October to give career advice to up and coming students, and to share his story about how he got to where he is now.

Safina, whose books include Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point, as well as a children’s book called Nina Delmar:  The Great Whale Rescue, is an ecologist whose career evolved into one centered on writing and environmental advocacy. His work focuses on bringing attention to the changes that are taking place in the natural world and what those changes mean, and he has written on a wide range of issues in marine conservation, from fishery practices to sea turtle conservation.  Safina provides a strong and well-respected voice for marine conservation issues, and his work frequently appears in newspapers and blogs such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, National Geographic, Newswatch and CNN.

When Safina was young, he experienced something that most young college students often do:  he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Then, throughout his 20’s, Safina “muddled” into a series of chance opportunities that led him to his career path. His advice to students: “when people tell you ‘no,’ just ignore them.” Create your own opportunities and always be persistent. Even when others try to discourage you, don’t give up on what you believe in.

When asked which field is the most effective at bringing about change, Carl’s response was that no particular field is more effective than others. Instead, an individual’s interests and talents lead him or her into the field in which he or she, as an individual, will be most effective at making change. Early in his career, Safina discovered his strength as a writer and used his writing as his tool for making change.

What was the take away message from the discussion with Carl Safina? Always do what you are passionate about, take every opportunity you can to get involved in whatever interests and excites you and, most importantly, never give up.