Evenings at Whitney February 10 - Cynthia Barnett
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Evenings at Whitney Lecture Series hosted by the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience continues Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 7 p.m. with author Cynthia Barnett’s latest program, “The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans.”
Barnett will present this free lecture in person at the UF Whitney Laboratory Lohman Auditorium, 9505 Ocean Shore Boulevard, in St. Augustine. Those interested also have the option of registering to watch via Zoom live the night of the lecture.
Register to watch online: https://ufl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sdY555H-Sv2Cv4LjDQTJNg
About the talk: The human fascination with seashells is primal. Archeological evidence suggests that Neanderthals collected cockle shells on the coast of what is modern Spain, perhaps giving preference to those they found beautiful. Native Floridians built “great cities of shell” along the coasts, later carted off for road fill. In the 1950s, the nation burned with shell-collecting fever only a Florida vacation could cure. In a special program for the Whitney Lab, award-winning environmental author and UF professor Cynthia Barnett will introduce the long, rich and surprisingly profound relationship between humans and seashells. Traveling from Florida to the Bahamas to the Maldives, West Africa, and beyond, Barnett explores the ancient history of shells as global currency, their use as religious and luxury objects, and the remarkable marine mollusks that make them. For eons, shells and their makers have reflected humanity’s shifting attitudes toward and precarious place in the natural world. While shells reveal how humans have altered the climate and the sea—down to its very chemistry—they are also sentinels of hope for alternative energy and other solutions that lie beneath the waves. With her engaging account of an aspect of nature and culture long hidden in plain sight, Barnett illuminates the beauty and wonder of seashells as well as the human ingenuity and scientific solutions they represent for our warming world.
Followed by a book sale and signing. Proceeds from the sale of books and seashell cards will benefit the Whitney Laboratory K-12 Education Endowment Fund.
About the author: Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water and climate worldwide. Her writing has appeared in National Geographic, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She is the author of four books including Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, which was longlisted for the National Book Award. The Sound of the Sea, her newest book, was recently named one of the best science books of 2021 by NPR’s Science Friday, and one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, Bloomberg News, Library Journal and The Tampa Bay Times. Ms. Barnett also serves as Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.
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