Honoring the Creatures Who Are No More

Camilla Schofield placing sticks in the North Sea in memory of angel sharks killed by trawl fishing, Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Photo courtesy of Camilla Schonfield.

This year, Radical Joy for Hard Times is honored to partner with nine pioneering organizations whose work inspires and complements our own. Each month we profile one of these organizations in Radical Joy Revealed. Today, we introduce Remembrance Day for Lost Species, an annual project of our partners  ONCA in Brighton, England and  Extinction Witness in Montana, USA.
We’ve all heard the statistics:
  • There are now 41,415 species on the 54-year-old IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Of those, 16,306 are endangered and facing extinction.
  • The number of wild animals has decreased by half in the past four decades.
  • It is estimated that more than 90% of the world’s coral reefs will die by 2050.
The numbers alone are heartbreaking. How can we possibly cope with the reality?
One way is to join others on November 30 to remember and honor those vanished creatures of land, water, and air. Remembrance Day for Lost Species began in 2011 as a way to rally people on one day each year to pay tribute to extinct beings through art, processions, ceremony, tree planting, and other creative expressions.
The actions people contribute are personal and heartfelt. In Norfolk, England, for example, artist and historian Camilla Schofield placed sticks in the sandy shoreline of the North Sea in memory of the angel shark, decimated by trawl fishing. In Ghent, Belgium Rachel Porter led a group of pre-school children in a story and simple ritual in remembrance of the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger. And in New York City, Bibi Calderaro and his band played music in the Union Square subway station to bring attention to lost species and violence against women and girls.
Check the Remembrance Day for Lost Species website to find out how to join an event near you or create one of your own, then share what you did.
By supporting us humans in expressing our grief over the beautiful lives that have been lost, Remembrance Day for Lost Species enables us to be more mindful, protective, and in awe of those that remain.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

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