ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is one in a growing coalition of artists, educators, museum curators, scientists and writers forwarding International Remembrance Day for Lost Species (Lost Species Day).
This year, ex·tinc·tion wit·ness joins Your Yoga in Bozeman, Montana for Joy Giving. Lost Species Day Joy Giving practice is focused on grieving discovery and the total cost of a doctrine that has long made legitimate by law the exploitation, removal, and murder of men, women, and children, all non-human organisms, and whole communities.
Lost Species Day offerings have been highlighted throughout November at the Lost Species Day blog. Jeremy Hance wove a lovely chorus of Lost Species Day voices in “Why don’t we grieve lost species?” (The Guardian, 11.19.2016.) Gatherings have begun. November 27th, folks wearing stripes climbed trees in urban Glasgow to honor disappearing lemurs. Others, not necessarily wearing stripes, joined parade for lost and nearly lost species in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. For Joy Giving details, visit the REMEMBRANCE page and be sure to explore the breadth of Lost Species Day offerings.
Standing Rock may be the global epicentre where mass battle or mass peace will be decided. It feels important to note that the violence inflicted on human beings who stand to protect Missouri river water is not surprising given how this continent came to be occupied by white-skinned folk, who arrived running from and with our own long-inherited trauma. And how murder is a standard practice for securing prospects in today’s global market.
Much of today’s overwhelming grief is anticipatory. There is fear that what has been established in protective laws and protected areas will be lost to the final breath of a dying era that’s damaged everyone and cost so many.
Among decisions that will determine the health of water and, thus, whole communities is Scotland’s call, anticipated 2017, on whether or not to allow dangerous hydraulic fracturing – ‘the forcing open of fissures in subterranean rocks by introducing liquid at high pressure, especially to extract oil or gas’.
Then there’s “Canada’s Standing Rock” – the B.C. tar sands pipeline conflict. Hydraulic fracturing, gold and uranium mining that threaten U.S. national forests and parks. 3,700 dams proposed globally while the recommendation from scientists and economists is dam removal. And more…
If the desire is a present and future free of fear-invoking violence, we must stop fearing the present and future. The collective consciousness must be cleared of anticipatory grief. And this is done by clearing individuals of anticipatory grief.
I invite you to let your imagination go to a world without flowers. Without the child’s laughter. Go all the way there and sit awhile. Grieve that darkness, which exists today for some members of Earth’s global community. Then, be present where you are. Then, see the flower and hear the child laugh as if for the first time. Be so grateful for their existence that you fall to the ground asking only what you may do to help someone other than yourself.
The Lost Species Day Joy Giving practice is designed to move practitioners through 108 feelings associated with experience, resolving the person to joy for the very prospect of being alive and a generally peaceful mind. Many – more or less structured – practices, including breathwork, chanting, and dance, have been designed to accomplish emotional purification.
This is old information. Yet, human awareness of mass species extinction is quite fresh. And, so, the effort of Lost Species Day to create and establish rituals fitting for this fresh consciousness.
Most warn that livings will become more challenging before improvement, so please be gentle with yourself and others. Just as I complete the final edit on this post, I’m reading a tweet from Bill McKibben, “This is a graph of total global sea ice. The red line is this year. Something is very very wrong.”
Truth is, it’s morbid out there. My most recent poem Y?, is written in response to 250 puffins washed dead upon Saint Paul Island during what’s been an unseasonably warm autumn from Montana North to the Bering Sea. And dire drought yields wildfires and unbearable air consuming Southeast communities. My arms reach out for everyone.
As the mother of a six, nearly seven, year old boy, my heart would like to sink in the uncertainty. I’m clueless to the looming challenges. Then I remember the wonder and creative genius of biomimicry’s sweet blossom – natural wisdom that wants to break through each and every person just as chemically-laced water at high pressure will split rock. Just as the election has split losers, now fighting one another, in the Dream that eventually nobody wins given the associated nightmare is reality for most.
I want my son to shine in a culture that serves biomimicry to pre-schoolers. That’s 100% possible if mineral extraction stops, large dams get removed, people and lots of perennials thrive. The beauty is that all this, already begun, is catalysed by the split in this union that’s forced the light of human kindness, understanding, and reverence through the cracks.
Autumn is an ideal season for grieving and within the overarching Season, there’s an alchemical masterpiece brewing. What falls does rise. To know sorrow is to know joy and to experience the fullness of life. Please unite with others, near and far, in this fullness November 30th.
Lost Species Day ritual need not be elaborate. Sincere, if brief, words of gratitude form the most potent prayer. And, as is noted in Jeremy Hance’s post in The Guardian, grief has many faces, humour and gratitude among them.