Friday, 26 February 2016

Jules Howard - Four Way Interview

Jules Howard is a zoologist, writer, blogger and broadcaster. He writes on a host of topics relating to zoology and wildlife conservation, writing regularly for BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Guardian, and on radio and TV including BBC Breakfast, Sunday Brunch and BBC 5 Live. Jules also runs a social enterprise that has brought 100,000 young people closer to the natural world. His second book, Death on Earth followed the successful Sex on Earth (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Why Science? 

What better way is there to solve nature's mysteries? For me personally, I'm particularly drawn to science because I really like pressing, however slightly, on the boundary between what is unknown and known. It's a real privilege to ask questions that no one in the universe, maybe, has ever before questioned. It's a greater privilege still to try and answer them. Having fun along the way (which I try to do) is an additional bonus.

Why this book? 

What can I say? I like challenging taboos. And, when it comes to death, it's about time someone did! All life on Earth today owes death. Without death, evolution and natural selection stalls. Without death, Earth's nutrients and ecosystems would falter and fade. Without death... could we even be human? It's time for a celebration of death. This is it. This is a true story of a zoologist who studied death and improved his life unimaginably in the process.

What's next?

My first book was about sex. My second book covers death. Next, I'll be shining light onto the fortunes of our own ape lineage. Was it inevitable that our ancestors would move from the trees and into the grasslands and become human? How lucky are we to be alive? Could we ever have been here without the death of the dinosaurs?  How much of our own history do we owe to mass extinctions? I have an interesting (and top secret!) way to un-weave the story. More soon...

What's exciting you at the moment?

I'm excited about death! Honestly, really and truly - I'm genuinely excited to be releasing a book about death! The most life-affirming thing in the world is to spend years working on a project about the science of zoological death; it puts this bit (the ALIVE bit) into perspective. It's a wonderful privilege to be alive, and concious of that fact, unlike perhaps every other animal on Earth. Enjoy your days everyone. They're numbered.

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