Life Changing by Helen Pilcher
Life Changing Read On Your Computer, MAC, Smartphone, Kindle Reader, iPad, or Tablet. ‘Pilcher is both very funny and very, very clever.’ Gillian Burke
‘Richly entertaining throughout.’ Sunday Times
For the last three billion years or so, life on Earth was shaped by natural forces. Evolution tended to happen slowly, with species crafted across millennia. Then, a few hundred thousand years ago, along came a bolshie, big-brained, bipedal primate we now call Homo sapiens, and with that, the Earth’s natural history came to an abrupt end. We are now living through the post-natural phase, where humans have become the leading force shaping evolution.
This thought-provoking book considers the many ways that we’ve altered the DNA of living things and changed the fate of life on earth. We have carved chihuahuas from wolves and fancy chickens from jungle fowl. We’ve added spider genes to goats and coral genes to tropical fish. It’s possible to buy genetically-modified pets, eat genetically-modified fish and watch cloned ponies thunder up and down the polo field.
Now, as our global dominance grows, our influence extends far beyond these species. As we warm our world and radically reshape the biosphere, we affect the evolution of all living things, near and far, from the emergence of novel hybrids such as the pizzly bear, to the entirely new strains of animals and plants that are evolving at breakneck speed to cope with their altered environment.
In Life Changing, Helen introduces us to these post-natural creations and talks to the scientists who create, study and tend to them. At a time when the future of so many species is uncertain, we meet some of the conservationists seeking to steer evolution onto firmer footings with novel methods like the ‘spermcopter’, coral IVF and plans to release wild elephants into Denmark. Helen explores the changing relationship between humans and the natural world, and reveals how, with evidence-based thinking, humans can help life change for the better.
About the Author Life Changing
Helen Pilcher is a professional science writer with a Ph.D. in stem cell biology and years of stand-up comedy under her belt. Her previous book for Bloomsbury Sigma, Bring Back the King, was Radio 2 “Fact not Fiction” book of the week. It received widespread, positive reviews from outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Sunday Times and Science magazine, and was described by comedian Sara Pascoe as “science at its funniest.” Helen has worked as a freelance science writer and communicator for the last 12 years. She has written for many different places including the Guardian, New Scientist, BBC online, Nature magazine and BBC Wildlife magazine. Prior to her freelance career, she worked as a reporter for Nature.
Helen worked as a stand-up comedian for over ten years, before the birth of her children put a stop to staying awake beyond 9pm. During this time, she performed at the Edinburgh comedy festival, at London’s Comedy Store, and at various smoky pubs and clubs across Britain. She has been a finalist for Jongleurs’s New Act of the Year, the BBC’s New Stand Up Competition and Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny.