june, 2022

thu02jun1:00 PM2:00 PMIn Person: The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans, with Cynthia Barnett1:00 PM - 2:00 PM The Waterworks next to Main Library

Event Details

Friends of the Main Library St. Augustine is pleased to welcome environmental author Cynthia Barnett at The Waterworks, to present The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans. The human fascination with seashells is primal. Archaeological 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. Presenting The Sound of the Sea, 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, she will explore 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.

This program is free and open to the public, and will take place at The Waterworks, 184 San Marco Blvd., which shares a parking lot with the Main Library. Seating begins at 12:30 pm, and the presentation starts promptly at 1:00 pm. No reservations are required. For more information, please email bmaycumber@sjcfl.us or call the Main Library at 904-827-6940. The presentation will be followed by a book sale and signing, with proceeds from the sale of books and seashell cards benefitting Friends of the Main Library St. Augustine.

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, the Tampa Bay Times, and others. Cynthia is also the author of the water books Mirage; Blue 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 magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Salon, Politico, Orion, and many other publications. Cynthia is a fifth-generation Floridian raising a sixth generation in Gainesville, where she also serves as Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.



(Thursday) 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


The Waterworks next to Main Library

184 San Marco Ave.