Remembrance of things past?

Carolina parakeets by Darren rees taken on my mobile camera - the real thing looks better!

If you get the chance to go to the Ghosts of gone birds exhibition then do!  I had a look yesterday afternoon and I hope to get back for another look before it finishes on 23 November.

Ceri Levy the curator and co-creator of the exhibition told me he was very pleased with how busy they had been – and certainly everyone I know who has visited the exhibition has come back talking about it.

What I liked doesn’t really matter as that is a very personal thing but I would be surprised if you came away unmoved by reading the words and looking at the images.

Thinking about the ‘gone’ is a good thing to do but we also need to think about the ‘going, going’ too.  If anything we give just a little too much attention to extinction and a little too little to loss of abundance.

With the Carolina parakeet (as in this lovely painting by Darren Rees) was it the last one that died that mattered the most, or the first on the road to extinction?

For me, it is the loss of the formerly common species that tells us more about how we are wrecking the planet’s ecology than anything else – the passenger pigeon, the carolina parakeet, the house sparrow, the corn bunting, the bison, the great whales etc and some of those have gone extinct but others are just vastly depleted.

Others have liked this exhibition too (Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, BBC and Independent again).

Here is how to find the exhibition – it’s worth the effort.

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5 Replies to “Remembrance of things past?”

  1. For us poor folk up north London is a million miles away. Why don't these exhibitions go on tour? RSPB/WWT reserves could be a good starting point with their vast areas of shopping space and tea rooms. What a great way to give normal people the chance to see such events.

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    1. John - simple answer is that it did - the North got its chance in Liverpool before the exhibition came to London. Cost and logistics would be the answer to the general question though.

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  2. Completely agree, Mark. When people ask me why I care about birds, if I'm feeling suitably eloquent, I explain to them how they're among the best indicators of how terribly (I wish it was otherwise) we're treating our home.

    Healthy bird populations represent healthy ecosystems, which is why we should be striving to get a nearer to right balance in nature instead of deluding ourselves en masse it's the preserve of the conservationists to get all upset at 'progress'.

    Would love to see the exhibition, be nice if they'd tour it around the country to give more folks a chance to see it.

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  3. Liverpool was low key with no advertising so no one went. The project hopes to go around the world but not the rest of Britain.

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