Few have done more for the world's oceans than Carl Safina. After publishing the classic Song for the Blue Ocean in 1998, the ecologist went on to write two more books (about albatrosses and turtles), lead the successful fight to ban drift nets on the high seas, create the Blue Ocean Institute, and win a MacArthur "genius" award. Now he's back with what might be his best book yet, The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World (Holt, $32). From a cottage on the tip of Long Island, Safina follows the changing seasons—March brings spring peepers; April, sparrows; and so forth. No mere naturalist's journal, The View from Lazy Point uses wildlife encounters to build a passionate case against market-driven measurements of success. There is a better way, Safina says: Let's establish an economic index measuring everything from human happiness to the costs of pollution control. "We can't take infinitely more from ... a finite planet," he writes. "We can't run civilization on energy that diminishes the world while living in a world endowed with self-renewing energy. If we can get these simple things under control, I think we could be okay."