Dominik Eulberg rose to fame as a DJ, but he is now also a renowned science communicator, biodiversity ambassador and author. He recognizes and appreciates the beauty of nature: it is his personal source of strength, relaxation and inspiration. He uses it to create unique and artistic music that passes this positive energy on to other people. In order to help as many people as possible understand the beauty of nature, the biologist uses his reach as a DJ for environmental education, for more nature conservation and for species protection.
It is already the afternoon, but Dominik Eulberg is only just out of bed. “Good morning,” he says. At 3 p.m., hair still slightly disheveled. For Eulberg, this is totally normal. He is nocturnal; 3 p.m. is the morning to him. He tells us that even as a child, he struggled to go to bed early - especially to get up early. He also claims to have only attended very few morning lectures back when he was a student. “It’s innate in me,” he says: “My metabolism has always been tuned to night mode.” Now in his mid-forties, he can simply set his own rhythm.
How fitting, then, that he became a famous DJ – and the night is his life. He bought his first synthesizer in 1993 and has been achieving global success with his music for more than two decades: in 2004, Germany’s Groove magazine for electronic music and club culture named him Newcomer of the Year. Twelve months on, he won their Best Producer award. His seventh album was released in early 2022. It is titled Avichrom, a neologism meaning “bird colors”. And that is what is so special about it: each track is named after a colorful bird – Rotmilan (Red Kite), Purpurreiher (Purple Heron), Grünfink (Greenfinch).
Nature as an entertainment system
The album contains the soundtrack of his life. After all, alongside music, Eulberg has another passion: nature. And it has been a lifelong one. “As a child, we didn’t have any media at home,” he explains: “Recognizing birdcalls, identifying butterflies: That was my entertainment system.” Eulberg studied ecology and worked as a crane-watcher at the Müritz National Park. He went on to share his expertise with visitor groups as a mudflat guide on the island of Wangerooge in the North Sea. He says this opened his eyes: “These people already knew a lot about what I would tell them,” he says. To effect change, he would need to reach the people who had not yet recognized the beauty of nature.
Music inspired by the most beautiful artist of all
Immerse yourself in nature with Dominik Eulberg and ZEISS
Music is nature, nature is music. For me, nature is the greatest artist of all.
Thankfully there was music, which has been a lifelong passion of his. He says as a child he would sit in front of the radio, record parts of the beat from songs like “Radio Gaga” by Queen and splice them together. He called it the “DE Techno Mix”, DE meaning Dominik Eulberg. “Techno music has something instinctive, which can also be found in nature,” explains Eulberg. “A music beat is like a heartbeat. We perceive it when we are still in the womb – we are prenatally conditioned to it.” He brings the two worlds together at the DJ decks. For his album “Flora & Fauna”, for example, he recorded birdcalls and translated them into digital beats. He reckons people asked him what kind of specialized synthesizer he used. His answer: a fire-bellied toad. “Music is nature, nature is music,” says Eulberg. “For me, nature is the greatest artist of all.”
As a DJ, Eulberg can offer this artist the stage she deserves. So he uses the huge reach he has today to get people interested in nature conservation and species protection. He believes the challenge ultimately lies in the fact that everyone knows about the threat to the environment also affecting our survival, but at the same time, too little is done to conserve nature and protect the environment. So his aim is to convince people himself. He takes the view that scientific insights need to be explained in a different way. “There is a lot of research out there. The climate crisis and the extinction of species, whose causes and solutions are known. We also know where this is leading, but we struggle to convey the facts to the wider world – so we need to attempt an emotional approach, through being amazed because amazement is at the start of any recognition,” he says. In his opinion, music is the perfect springboard for this: “People gravitate much more toward music than they do to technical jargon in studies. It can be a sensual and accessible vector.”
Instead of succumbing to dystopian alarmism, Eulberg aims to create a sense of optimism. For example, by taking his concertgoers on bat excursions and ornithological tours after his gigs. He presents biodiversity shows, organizes guided nature tours, is asked to give lectures and supports wildlife conservation associations. His book Mikroorgasmen Überall received the Knowledge Book of the Year award in 2021. He is also a guest scientist at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. And he continues to DJ live. Nature is music. And nature needs heroes, he says. Because it doesn’t have its own lobby.
Just seeing the color green increases well-being.
He believes he plays the part of the hero for biodiversity and claims many are still unaware of its importance, yet the threat to it is severe: “Climate protection is making people face up to how we plan to survive. But when it comes to biodiversity, the question is: will we even survive at all?” says Eulberg. He gives a simple example to explain: 95 percent of global food supplies depend on 16 types of plant. This means: “With 1.8 million described species, we are 95-percent reliant on 16 plant species.”2 And the extinction of species has long begun: “Approximately 150-400 species worldwide disappear for eternity every day,” he says.1 Many might think the problems are far away – in African deserts or in the rainforest: “30 to 50 percent of animal and plant species in Germany are endangered,” the science communicator emphasizes.3 Extinction is a local issue.
To turn the argument on its head, this also means species conservation needs to start on our doorstep. Eulberg therefore takes interested groups on nature tours through the Westerwald Lake District, where he was born, to show people the beauty of nature. He says: “All you need to immerse yourself in nature is a good set of optical instruments and a wealth of experience.” The right equipment can also open people’s eyes to very special observations. “Every bird-watching session is unique. They are unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors – after all, the local countryside has so much to offer.”
The color green brings joy
Even Eulberg is coming to appreciate this more and more. He spends a lot of time in nature every day – and every day is different. In winter, bramblings, common goldeneyes or Bohemian waxwings can be spotted in Westerwald where he lives. There is a resting area popular with cranes nearby. He helps toads to cross the road at night and has set up various biotopes in his garden. He breeds caterpillars and still has a very clear memory of seeing his first purple emperor: “When the light refracted off its wings, they took on a bluish-purple shimmer,” he says. In moments like these, he describes nature as “the most cost-effective key to happiness”.
As such, nature also plays an important role for his mental health: “I need quiet to recharge my inner batteries,” says Eulberg. He adds that, after a walk in the fresh air, people would often tell him how good they now feel. “I find that absurd,” he says. Why? “Because we do recognize that spending too much time in front of screens is bad for us. But despite knowing this, we do it anyway.” He reckons the human body is designed to walk at least ten kilometers outside every day. It needs the oxygen, the light and the vitamin D that it produces when out in sunlight. “Just seeing the color green increases well-being,” the biologist explains. Spending three hours in the fresh forest air can cut stress hormones by up to half. He therefore likens unwinding outdoors to a muddy puddle: at first, everything is churned up from the stresses of daily life. But in time, the mud settles down and the water becomes clear again.
In focus: mental health and being close to nature
There is plenty of evidence to suggest natural spaces enhance and protect our health. Natural spaces such as meadows, forests, parks and stretches of water have great potential to reduce air-hygiene issues by filtering pollutants out of the ambient air. Nature also has a positive influence on mental health: fresh forest air has been proven to cut stress hormones by 50 percent within little more than three hours. Just seeing the color green outdoors lifts people’s mood.4
Nature has a positive influence on the regions of the brain that are involved in processing stress. This influence can be observed even after an hour’s walk. This shows how our physical living environment has an impact on the health of the brain and the mind. Even a short trip to the countryside reduces activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in the formation of emotions such as fear and anxiety.5
It does not take a lot to immerse yourself in nature. There is so much to explore, even in your local area. A good set of binoculars is an essential piece of equipment if you want to focus more on identifying birds because the details required to differentiate between individual species are difficult to spot with the naked eye. If you want a deeper dive into the world of bird-watching, a spotting scope may be useful. Especially when it comes to recognizing and identifying birds further away, for example near stretches of water.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN): IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,
Ursachen des Artensterbens: Kein Platz, keine Potenz (Causes of Extinction: No Space, No Potency): ,https://www.ardalpha.de/wissen/natur/tiere/artenschutz/rote-liste/index.html
Artenvielfalt - Das größte Massensterben seit 66 Millionen Jahren (Biodiversity: The Biggest Mass Extinction in 66 Million Years): https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/biodiversitaet-artensterben-folgen-100.html
Food and agriculture data for over 245 countries and territories: FAOSTAT,
Artenvielfalt - Die Ernährung der Welt - Wissen (Biodiversity - Feeding the World - Science) - SZ.de (sueddeutsche.de),
BLE - Nationales Fachprogramm Pflanzen (German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food - National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products)
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN): IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.wwf.de/themen-projekte/artenschutz/rote-liste-gefaehrdeter-arten
The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan - PubMed (nih.gov),
The influence of urban green environments on stress relief measures: A field experiment - ScienceDirect,
Der positive Einfluss der Natur auf die Gesundheit und das Wohlbefinden | SpringerLink