• Listen to Michael Sandler's interview with Carl Safina on "Beyond Words" and what animals think & feel.

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INSPIRE #317: What Animals Think & Feel and What We Can Learn from Them!

Carl Safina PhD Shares What Animals Think & Feel & What it Means for Us!

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If you ever thought there was more to animals than meets the eyes, or that there’s more going on with your kitty or poochie, then their meow-meow’s and woofs, then do we have the eye-opening, beyond words show for you!

Today we’ll be talking with Dr. Carl Safina, PhD, award winning author and ecology researcher, and the author of the one book I’d take with me on a trip if I traveled, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel…one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching and important books I’ve ever read.

Today we’ll talk about animals, what they think, what they feel, and about WHO they are…yes, we’ll ask the big question today, not what are you, but WHO are you…of the wolf, the elephant, and even the killer whale.

That plus we’ll talk about the octopus and consciousness, ottoline and Oprah, dolphins, bubbles and vortexes, elephants acting silly, killer whales and sex parties. and what we can all learn from Jude and Chula.

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Carl Safina’s writing about the living world has won a MacArthur “genius” prize, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals.

His seabird studies earned a PhD in ecology from Rutgers; he then spent a decade working to ban high-seas drift nets and to overhaul U.S. fishing policy. Safina is now the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean. His writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, Audubon, and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and elsewhere. He is author of the classic book, Song for the Blue Ocean. Carl’s seventh book is Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends.


Carl Safina, PhD Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Safina Center: http://www.safinacenter.org

Catch Dr. Carl Safina on PBS:  http://carlsafina.org/saving-the-ocean-with-carl-safina/

Key Topics:

  • What we can learn from Brooklyn Homing Pigeons
  • What Carl learned from a recent trip to the arctic with GreenPeace
  • What’s happening with fishing in the arctic at present
  • What is happening to the fish in the arctic
  • What’s happening with Polar Bears into the Arctic
  • Why is “are animals like us” the wrong question?
  • Who is Cynthia Moss and what can we learn from elephants?
  • What’s the role of elephant males
  • What’s the importance of the matriarch in an elephant family
  • Why gentles are so giant
  • What does it mean for an elephant to be silly
  • What is floppy (elephant) walking?
  • What’s the complexity of emotions of elephants
  • What can we learn from elephants and grief
  • How do elephants communicate?
  • What’s a Let’s Go stance?
  • What can we learn from elephants?
  • What happened to elephants beginning in 2009?
  • What can we learn about wolves?
  • Why dogs are simply wolves with arrested development?
  • What we can learn from wolf #21, the ‘superwolf’
  • What’s an alpha male?
  • What’s the difference between an alpha male wolf and a career or business alpha male?
  • What are male killer whales like?
  • What’s a killer whale family like?
  • How do whales and porpoises teach?
  • What behavior from killer whales is truly mysterious?
  • What happened with the sand piper and the peregrine falcon
  • What the Sioux Indian Black Elk said “everything is holy”
  • org, or carlsafina.org or national geographic website, or cnn.com, or huffingtopost, but all migrates over time to carlsafina.org, and for the book beyond-words.net
  • Also check out the Ted Talk on what animals think and feel


Related Podcasts:

INSPIRE #254: How Animals Inspire, Heal & Transform Our Lives! (Dr.Bernie Siegel – Love, Animals & Miracles)

INSPIRE #289 Happiness Lessons From A Donkey! (Rachel Anne RIdge,”Flash”


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One Comment

  1. Karin Holloway July 31, 2016 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Thank you, Michael, for asking for the positives – and for sharing them, Carl. The lives of animals are so beautiful – – and somehow just perfect. But knowing the horrors of the 6th Extinction happening to our world, due to us invasive greedy monsters, has changed my life for the worse. Every time I feel awe for nature I then crash from knowing that they’re dying out. I can’t see our World, Earth, from ‘outside’ without feeling pain. And crying. At first, when I found out, I had trouble taking a deep breath for months.

    For 2 years I’ve been inspired to create endangered animal/ ecosystem coloring books that are beautiful and educational – ‘have fun and learn!’. For all ages. But I don’t know how to reach enough people to make any difference. Still, I keep on and I get other artists to work with me without any profits for any of us yet. It’s all I Can Do. And yet my heart is still so heavy that I can’t watch nature shows – and even listening to this interview has hurt.

    So, when even Greenpeace is timid in asking for too much to be saved from ruin – what can We do???

    I wish I were an elephant. Even a complex animal like the elephant doesn’t know it’s going extinct or that anything else wonderful is, too. Humans aren’t wonderful to me anymore.

    I used to smile all of the time. Now I feel too much grief – I think I’m in shock. Sometimes I can forget in the world of humans – comedies and game shows and listening to music and laughing with friends. But then I remember.

    PLEASE, make me feel better while knowing we’re saying goodbye.

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