What I saw
I can never tell.
A fleeting glimpse,
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 is a collaborative personal and planetary peacemaking project engaged in creative witness to unnecessary loss, pain, and suffering, with resolve to forward the wake-up and a universally compassionate marketplace.
Extinction in ex·tinc·tion wit·ness refers to the death of species, as well as the reduction of light (physics).
Death happens. Extinction happens. Darkness happens.
Sometimes, like now, extinction gets really big – the world gets really dark. Right now the rate of species extinction exceeds that of past mass extinction events. The present mass extinction is considered Earth’s 6th really big death. Or one might say, near death experience, since biodiversity has in the past regenerated over the course of years in the millions.
Numbers to grapple with include those in World Wildlife Fund’s Living Blue Plane Report 2015, which suggests that Earth has lost half its non-human population in the last 40 years. Human population increased by 55% in same time period.
At this rate, ecologists forecast 95% terrestrial species loss (Win-Win Ecology: How Earth’s Species can Survive In the Midst of Human Enterprise – Michael L. Rosenzweig, 2003).
But wait! Someone is awake. Someone else is waking up. There’s agency now, right?
Birth happens. Revival happens. Light happens.
And with a death so grand as mass species extinction, an equivalent birth – resurrection of light or dawning.
Human hands are responsible for this mass death. And, so, human hands are responsible for this mass birth. What dies is necessarily grieved when known. What is yet unborn is necessarily celebrated when imagined.
Let those living be seen and adored! Let those passing be known and grieved! Let those arriving be imagined and celebrated!
biodiversity is social diversity
Earth’s society is biodiverse. When Earth’s society is dominated by one species thinking only of one species, and members of that species thinking only of themselves, the whole bit fails very fast.
Another word for environment and habitat and ecosystem is community. Everyone depends on community and community includes everyone.
Rousing heaven from a living hell
Like any exchange currency, industry and technology themselves are not inherently devastating. Devastation occurs when tools are developed and used for the benefit of a few at the expense of most.
The present mass extinction is the wake-up to reality call catalyzing mass transformation of individuals, whole human institutions and operating systems equivalent to the transformation of individuals and Earth’s society since the human industrial and technological revolutions began.
The wake-up to reality is to be reminded that humans are not alone. Humans are connected with and dependent upon one another and other organisms determined by water. Thus, human consumption and use of fuels and materials is being adjusted to accommodate everyone’s needs and safeguard everyone’s health.
Emergent is the dawn of something careful. Emergent is a compassionate market place that encourages local trades in a circular economy and prioritizes common vitality. Emergent is a slower rate of species extinction, revived biodiversity and associated cultural diversity.
…When that emergent is imagined. Remember, death happens. There are no guarantees. There are choices. There is agency. There are human hands capable of much. Someone who is waking up can be distracted.
To know one is to adore one is to, eventually, grieve one. Sometimes ahead of time. Grieving anticipated loss changes the mind by opening the heart.
To know – intimately - disenfranchised community members, the vast majority of whom are not human, ignites genuine personal and social transformation required to make living a lot less painful for everyone even in the darkest hour.
Grieving lost ones – past, present, and anticipated - is a healthy, healing, transformative first response to awareness of mass species extinction and ongoing genocide. Grieving clarifies what is needed. Grieving inspires truly helpful action.
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