I’ve always considered myself to be an environmentalist in the broadest sense of the term. Reduce, reuse, and recycle were drummed into me at a young age. I also attended a Canadian university with a very liberal and ‘hippy’ community where this view was nurtured. Respecting and caring for the environment is something I’d say most Canadians value.
Yet Canada like many western countries is one of the top consumers of the world’s resources. Our carbon footprint is large and in charge. What was our past like though and what was man’s impact like on long gone species?
Currently the Natural History Museum is running ‘Extinction: Not the End of the World?’ with the hopes to go beyond the dodos and the dinosaurs to explore the crucial role extinction can play in the evolution of life. While extinction is the main theme, modern conservation efforts go hand in hand and feature heavily throughout the exhibit.
Traditional thoughts on extinction are challenged and the viewer is shown that extinction isn’t always a negative occurrence. I also found it fascinating to learn that extinction of a parent species where daughter species or subspecies are still alive is called pseudoextinction, so still classed as extinct.
The work of conservationists is peppered throughout the exhibition but I found of particular interest the work which centred around efforts to increase the numbers of tigers. This paired with questions of which animals to help conserve and why? Should we only assist those that have some use to humans or are exotic looking? I must admit I much prefer this tiger to the giant picture of a worm that was on display but does this mean the tiger is more worthy?
I throughly enjoyed this exhibit, it was well presented and thought-provoking. It definitely achieves its aim and moved past the traditional poster child of the dinosaurs to look at all the other species that suffered the same fate and also showed the animals that are currently at risk. If you live in London or are visiting you should go.
I highly recommend that you venture over to Mandy’s blog Emm in London to read her post of the exhibition. Thanks to Mandy who invited me to attend as I didn’t even know this was running.