What I saw
I can never tell.
A fleeting glimpse,
an instant.
A flash of a shadow
and it’s gone.
Did you see?

~ Matthew B. Peters
“a poem I call Extinction Witness”

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness

a collaborative art project
celebrating the spirit and supporting the soul
with attention to species and cultural regeneration efforts.

With a primary focus on personal and global peacemaking, 
ex·tinc·tion wit·ness honors chronic disenfranchised grief
felt in response to ongoing extreme loss, and celebrates
healing collaborations inspired by devastating loss.

read the project statement

ex·tinc·tion /ikˈstiNG(k)SHən/
    PHYSICS reduction in the intensity of light.

wit·ness /ˈwitnis/
    to see.

bare /be(ə)r/    com·pas·sion /kəmˈpaSHən/
    expose something. ‘with’· ‘desire’; ‘with’ · ‘love’.

Species extinction, as with all death, is elemental to life.
In recent centuries, human population has surged
and cultural genocide has peaked
so right now the rate of species extinction
exceeds that of past mass extinction events.
Relative to one human lifetime, Earth entered
the present mass extinction a while ago.
Fortunately, with a change in worldview
lending to radical change in human behavior,
this mass extinction can be allayed.

Still, in the moment, there is ongoing accelerating loss.
There is no point wrapping the mind around this.
One must drop into the heart, wherein the change waits.

Invitation to Pause

Many are exploited and exterminated to maintain modern civilization’s status quo. It is not enough to support conservation groups with funding. Individuals must make their own regeneration efforts. Those who are privileged with modern material comforts must stay in touch with the catastrophic circumstances others endure while understanding that absolute misery is not the absence of amenities, but the absence of community. This intimacy with the suffering is an honest compass for personal and communal transformation required to make living a lot less painful for everyone.

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is:

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is an expression of sorrow. This is because an estimated 75 to 200 species pass each day, and more so because many individuals endure inhumane circumstances and suffer intolerably violent deaths.

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is a creative online grief ritual. ex·tinc·tion wit·ness produces short poetic films and monthly witness posts honoring the disenfranchised who experience the edge of extinction. The monthly witness is offered with a sense of urgency. The Pacific is screaming.

Read thoughts on the distinction between sorrow and lamentation.

Read thoughts on a necessary change of attitude.

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is not:

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is not a source for detailed information on the present mass extinction event, names and numbers, statuses etc. This information is provided elsewhere on websites, and in films, and books.

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is not a place for learning about physical actions that are taking place to allay the present mass extinction event. However, this information is pointed to through monthly witness posts and is provided elsewhere on websites of those individuals, businesses, and community groups engaged in physical acts of ecological and cultural regeneration.

ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is not an expression of a despairing belief that nothing can be done to allay the present mass extinction.

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images ©2013 Jack Gescheidt

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