Howl was carved with an acknowledgement of human frailty in the face of death, loss and change. Young sought to create a monument to all those who have graced the earth unmarked and un-mourned, and for those in the future who will, in Young's eyes, bear the repercussions of the profligacy and cruelty of our time. Young has deliberately chosen an ancient material to carve in order to create Howl:
"In the age of this piece of stone, in the hundreds of millions of years shown in the physical, material presence of it, and its variegated beauty, lies the story of its formation through deep geological time. Geology and physics can capture in stone the creation of the planet, allowing us to imagine the cosmological time scale, the billions of years it took for our solar system and galaxy to form. We can start to get a hint of a sense of the pace and power of the creation of our planet and our universe - a notion of where, and what, in fact we are." (Young, 2010)
Philosophically, Young suggests that Howl is a representation of the howl that we all have inside us, born of love and loss.