Q&A with Joe Bull

Dr Joe Bull from the University of Kent

What did you study?

Physics, natural resource management, conservation science

If you were a plant, what species would you be and why?

A nuclear fusion power plant. Because then I would solve a lot of our problems related to energy and climate change.

Why do you work on environmental problems?

Because I love natural spaces and want more of them in the world. Also, because environmental problems are just such a fascinating set of problems to try and solve.

How did you come to contemplate decision analysis and why?

As soon as I began to realise that the answers to environmental problems are not black and white but in shades of grey – and being a big fan of good process – it was natural to then stumble into decision analysis.

What did your career pathway to where you are now look like?

Conservation volunteer, Physicist, Ecologist, private sector environmentalist, conservation science researcher, conservation business, conservation science faculty.

What is the hardest career decision you have made, would you change it if you could?

To choose to go back into science (and start a PhD) or to stay in private sector environmentalism. I wouldn’t change a thing, definitely the right decision (and now I get to do both).

What is your best piece of advice for an early career researcher in the environmental sphere?

Make sure you spend at least some time out in the field, somewhere, doing something. You will probably learn a lot, almost certainly have a great time, and you may well not get the chance later on.

If you had one wish, what environmental issue would you solve and why?

I would obliterate the common perception that humans are somehow distinct from all other species. I think that would go a long way towards promoting effective action on biodiversity loss.