Remembering Rafe Sagarin

Rafe Sagarin passed away on May 28th, 2015 while riding his bicycle to work and being hit by a drunk driver. He left behind his beloved wife and two beautiful daughters as well as a loving family and myriads of friends and colleagues. He will be deeply missed.

I will use this site to maintain his legacy for ecology, science and conservation.

First post after Rafe is gone…

Here is Rafe, Rebecca, Ella and Rosa, along with me, my wife Paula and my son Benjamín. This photo was taken in February, 2011 in Tucson, while we were writing the book.

rafe-sagarin-family

A tribute and a last letter to Rafe Sagarin

Rafe and I met by email in July 2007. He had written a letter arguing against setting only experimental priorities for ecology (a paper published that year in Fronties in Ecol and Evol.). I also was upset by that paper and I wanted to do something, so Rafe’s letter was like a great discovery. I wrote to him congratulating him on such letter and he quickly replied saying that we should do more. This rather random reading of his letter was the beginning of an incredible collaboration and friendship. As Rafe said, we were both good at writing “angry letters”, stating out opinion about issues in science, ecology and conservation. Needless to say, we wrote a paper (not knowing each other in person), a book and many small blogs and talks, besides the hundreds of emails we wrote discussing from the most intricate philosophical issue, up to how to come up with the perfect cover for our book. It is amazing to think that, coming from such different background, cultures and countries, we were practically soul-mates in how we view the role of ecology as a tool to understand and protect nature. Of course, you Rafe, were the outspoken, extremely fluent, and inspirational in our team. I have to admit I felt shy in front of such a vast display of communicational skills, but soon I learn that there was an important role for me to be played. You joke about me about being the moderator of all your revolutionary ideas, even toning down, and I quote “the revolution to an evolution”. Yes, that was true, I found that our message was so strong that I didn’t wanted it to get lost in an unnecessary confrontational tone. I think we both learn tons out of those discussions and the long emails, and you always were extremely patient with my slow writing and my always “busy” agenda. Thanks so much. I can’t express how much I will miss our partnership, Rafe. But I have to say we did our best! I promise to keep fighting to promote our “little green manifesto” on observation and ecology, and all the other ideas that will emerge from there. I am sure there will be lots of people fighting for your legacy including your projects at Biosphere. I will also, with the help of Paula, check on Rebecca and your girls, Rosa and Ella, so they know you are always with us and how great you were as a scientist and a friend. Rafe, I hope to see you somewhere, sometime, maybe we will write another “angry letter” or another “re-evolutionary manifesto”. Farewell, Rafe, you can be sure your legacy will remain and expand!

Your friend, Aníbal

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