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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "

Coleridge

Remembrance Day for Lost Species

November 22nd, 2013

1384223_643101575712110_1343503109_nWe have a Remembrance Day for humans who have died in war, but what about the lost species – often made extinct because of human action?

I’ve just received this message from Vanessa Vine:

Remembrance for Lost Species: lest we forget. Three species are lost to eternity every hour.

Extinction is studied by scientists. Culturally, however, we risk forgetting the beauty and distinct life of extinct species and our historic relationship with past life forms.

This is a chance to learn and tell the stories of those lost in the sixth mass extinction, and to renew commitments to those remaining. Extinctions are invariably linked to the loss of cultures and places too.

In 2011 and 2012, people held species memorial events around the UK and internationally. This November 30th, hold your own extinction memorial event – or just light a candle. Let us know what you are planning and we will add it to the online map of Remembrance events. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/1413677838849816/

The anthropogenic (human-caused) extinction rate is off the scale.
When a species is declared extinct … when we learn that they will never again draw breath, or swim, slither, flower or set seed – and that this is down to our own unconscious, disconnected hand … no President gives a memorial speech, no Queen lays a wreath.

In Britain, we might get a 7am Radio 4 headline – and that’s it .. like in October 2011, when two sub-species of rhino were declared extinct within 3 weeks of each other … We shake our heads sadly for a moment then get on with the school run and hide our hearts from the pain, because we simply cannot emotionally comprehend the enormity of it all.

How can we do anything about this overwhelming nightmare – often of our own collective causing – if we do not begin by engaging with the grief?

2 Responses to “Remembrance Day for Lost Species”

  1. I grieve deeply every time I hear of a lost species, but I feel isolated by that: if I speak of it to others they (at best) say “Oh how sad”, but often (at worst) say that it’s sad but that a) species go extinct all the time, that it has always been that way (ignoring that we’re causing these extinctions), or b) that it’s an unfortunate cost of progress. Both rationales just make me want to scream, the second makes me sick at my stomach as well, that anyone could see all the beautiful creatures of this world in that way.

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