• Gordon MacLellan

Remembrance of Lost Species Day

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

Acknowledging loss:

Remembrance of Lost Species Day

30th November

Would you

  • recite a litany of lost names

  • sing the disappearing world

  • light a candle for remembered animals

  • lay a lantern trail through a wood

  • project shadow animals racing across the walls of your church

  • plant a seed for disappearing plants

How do we acknowledge loss?

There is a growing awareness in our society of the value of talking about, of sharing our grief in communities about talking about grief and loss. Across the country Grief Cafés come and go as occasional events giving people the chance to talk. This week, as I write (25 – 31st October) BBC Radio 2 is holding a week of Grief Conversations.

And of course, this season in some Christian Churches is the run in to Allhallowtide with Hallowe’en, All Saints Day (1st November) and All Souls Day (2nd November), the Mexican Day of the Dead, a chance to acknowledge and honour ancestors. Reviving even older traditions, the contemporary pagan communities celebrate Calan Gaeaf (Wales), Samhain (Scotland, Ireland and more): Summer’s End, the beginning of winter, the Celtic New Year, that again acknowledges loss and ancestors and honours the processes of life and death

And for the wider world? Started in 2013 and growing steadily, the end of November now holds Remembrance of Lost Species Day.

Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30th, is a chance each year to explore the stories of extinct and critically endangered species, cultures, lifeways, and ecological communities.

Whilst emphasising that these losses are rooted in violent and discriminatory governing practices, the day provides an opportunity for participants to make or renew commitments to all who remain, and to develop creative and practical solutions.

Remembrance Day for Lost Species honours diverse experiences and practices associated with enduring and witnessing the loss of cultural and biological diversity. Participate in any way you choose – the annual theme can provide inspiration.

(extract from RDLS website)

Here at CelebrationEarth!, we invite you join in, to create your own Lost Species event, ceremony or service – and let both RDLS and ourselves know!

How would you want to reflect on those plants and animals we have lost – or are in danger of losing? So much of conservation is about loss that it might seem that we don’t need yet another day/week/month/theme but RDLS feels like an excellent opportunity to step back and stop. Time to acknowledge loss, recognise our feelings around this and find new strength and resolution in reflection. There is also a danger of despair here but that becomes the challenge for us as coordinators to find a balance that invites reflection and determination without toppling into a sea of loss

Such events might be reflective but need not be too grim. Perhaps a lantern walk through a wood with each lantern representing a dwindling animal or plant? In Kirstenbosch Garden in South Africa there is (or was?) a Garden of Extinction as a memorial to plants that have become extinct. There might be a song (listen to the beautiful song in the film below). There might be a service of remembrance.

In our resources page there are a few suggestions (from 27 or 28 October!) and some places to find information you might like to use, but for a start you might like to drop into our Why celebrate film at the link below. There is an ideal RDLS service that begins at the 1:40 marker

Thanks to:

Lost Species Day for their wonderful idea


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