"The Sound of the Sea" Presented by Cynthia Barnett

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Leesburg Public Library
Meeting Room A

Event Details

Live via Zoom or attend live watch party in Meeting Room A.

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 Americans built “great cities of shell” along the coasts, later carted off for road fill. Another generation burned with “shell fever” in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s time. In her program The Sound of the Sea, environmental author 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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental author and journalist who has reported on water and climate change around the world. Her latest book, The Sound of the Sea, was 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 and others. Cynthia is also author of the water books MirageBlue Revolution; and Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. She has written for National Geographic, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Salon, Politico and many other publications. Cynthia is the Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville, Florida, where she lives with her family.

 Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

Event Type(s): History, Lifelong Learning, Live Virtual
Age Group(s): Adults

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