5x15 presents: How to Speak Whale

5x15 presents: How to Speak Whale

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Join 5x15 to explore how science could change our relationship with animals forever

About this event

Join 5x15 for a thrilling investigation into whale science and animal communication with Tom Mustill, author of the ground-breaking new book How to Speak Whale and Lucy Jones author of Losing Eden. How could breakthroughs in science change our relationship with animals forever?

In 2015, wildlife filmmaker Tom Mustill was whale watching when a humpback breached onto his kayak and nearly killed him. After a VIDEO CLIP of the event went viral, Tom found himself inundated with theories about what happened. He became obsessed with trying to find out what the whale had been thinking and sometimes wished he could just ask it. In the process of making a film about his experience, he discovered that might not be such a crazy idea.

In this special event, Tom tell's the story of the pioneers in a new age of discovery, whose cutting-edge developments in natural science and technology are taking us to the brink of decoding animal communication – and whales, with their giant mammalian brains and sophisticated vocalisations, offer one of the most realistic opportunities for us to do so. Using ‘underwater ears,’ robotic fish, big data and machine intelligence, leading scientists and tech-entrepreneurs across the world are working to turn the fantasy of Dr Dolittle into a reality, upending much of what we know about these mysterious creatures.

But what would it mean if we were to make contact? And with climate change threatening ever more species with extinction, would doing so alter our approach to the natural world?

Enormously original and hugely entertaining, How to Speak Whale is an unforgettable look at how close we truly are to communicating with another species – and how doing so might change our world beyond recognition.

Tom Mustill is a biologist turned filmmaker and writer, specializing in stories where people and nature meet. His film collaborations, many with Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, have received numerous international awards, including two Webbys, a BAFTA, and an Emmy nomination. They have been played at the UN and COP 26, and been shared by heads of state, the World Health Organization, and Guns N’ Roses. He lives in London with his wife Annie, daughter Stella and the inhabitants of his small but surprisingly deep pond.

Lucy Jones is a writer and journalist based in Hampshire, England. She previously worked at NME and the Daily Telegraph, and her writing on culture, science and nature has been published in BBC Earth, BBC Wildlife, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and the New Statesman. Her first book, Foxes Unearthed, was celebrated for its 'brave, bold and honest' (Chris Packham) account of our relationship with the fox. Losing Eden took Jones from forest schools in East London to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault via primeval woodlands, Californian laboratories and ecotherapists' couches.

Praise for How To Speak Whale

‘We rarely pause to consider what animals think or feel, or question whether their inner lives resemble our own. Tom Mustill’s fascinating and deeply humane book shows us why we must do so – and what we, and the planet, could stand to gain by it’ Greta Thunberg

‘A rich, fascinating, brilliant book that opens our eyes and ears to worlds we can scarcely imagine’ George Monbiot, Sunday Times bestselling author of Regenesis

'Scary, important and brilliant' Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan

'Extraordinary' Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and co-author of The Future We Choose

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