Why don’t we grieve for extinct species?

GR:  The book, “Lost Animals” by Errol Fuller brings out a tear or two.  The sixth Remembrance Day for Lost Species is November 30th.

“In early 2010, artist, activist and mother, Persephone Pearl, headed to the Bristol Museum. Like many concerned about the fate of the planet, she was in despair over the failed climate talks in Copenhagen that winter. She sat on a bench and looked at a stuffed animal behind glass: a thylacine. Before then, she’d never heard of the marsupial carnivore that went extinct in 1936.

“Here was this beautiful mysterious lost creature locked in a glass case,” she said. “It struck me suddenly as unbearably undignified. And I had this sudden vision of smashing the glass, lifting the body out, carrying the thylacine out into the fields, stroking its body, speaking to it, washing it with my tears, and burying it by a river so that it could return to the earth.”

Pearl felt grief, deep grief, over the loss of a creature she’d never once seen in life, a species that had been shot to extinction because European settlers had deemed it vermin. Yet, how do we grieve for extinct species when there are no set rituals, no extinction funerals, no catharsis for the pain caused by a loss that in many ways is simply beyond human comprehension? We have been obliterating species for over ten thousand years – beginning with the megafauna of the Pleistocene like woolly rhinos, short-faced bears and giant sloths – yet we have no way of mourning them.

Photo:  Martha flies again. Martha was the world’s last passenger pigeon, who perished on September 1, 1914. Once the most populous bird on the planet, passenger pigeons vanished remarkably quickly due to overhunting and habitat destruction. In 2014, mourners carried this model up Mount Caburn and burned it in a pyre.

“Still, Pearl didn’t push the grief under or ignore it. Instead, she sought to share it. In 2011 Pearl, who is the co-director of the arts group, ONCA, and the theatre group Feral in Brighton, helped organise the first ever Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Held every November 30th, it’s since become a day for activists, artists and mourners to find creative ways to share their grief for extinct species – and reinvigorate their love for the natural world.” –Jeremy Hance (continue reading:  Why don’t we grieve for extinct species? | Environment | The Guardian)

4 thoughts on “Why don’t we grieve for extinct species?

  1. I’d not heard about this before. Thanks so much for sharing it. I hope this movement grows. Sadly, there is a disconnect between so many people and nature. Every day is a day to grieve lost species, and other animals too needlessly killed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Remembrance Day for Lost Species – Animalista Untamed


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.