Isn’t it kind of bananas that for most of human history we’ve been completely oblivious to how utterly environmentally tumultuous the planet has historically been? Before the advent of paleontology, conventional wisdom posited that the earth has more or less looked the same for as long as its been around, but soon enough naturalists like Georges Cuvier came along and said, “well it actually turns out that most of the organisms that have ever existed are actually no longer with us,” thereby introducing the entire concept of extinction to the human race?? Do you realize how coconuts that must have sounded back then?

Not only that, but the more we delved into paleontology the more it became apparent that the Earth has spent so much of its existence (about a billion years) being completely unsuitable and even hostile to life as we know it. A significant stretch of the cosmic timeline classifies our planet as being an oxygen-poor wasteland constantly pounded by asteroids and brimming with active super volcanoes. Even after life on Earth started to stretch out its stubby little amphibious legs we’ve had like five mass extinctions events almost completely fuck it all up (including one known as the Permian extinction which killed off no less than 70% of the planet’s land-based life and 96% of its sea critters). Can you recognize how rare and unlikely it is that out of all the downright catastrophic times any of us could have existed as unfortunate little trilobites or dimetrodons we actually get to exist as humans beings who can learn about this stuff with the help of a scientific discipline that effectively allows us to peer back into the reaches of the past?? Anyway, here’s wonderwall 

Want to know the worst thing? How you felt last night - get used to it. 

Get used to loss, get used to grief, get used to last times.

Get used to your last lion in the wild, and the last time you heard a bumblebee going about her business. Get used to the last frog, the last butterfly, the last robin singing from an old apple tree. Get used to your last cup of real coffee, your last banana, your last piece of chocolate. Get used to that last time you went skiing, to the last time you saw your city before you gave up and bought a ticket out of there (too hot, too rainy, too dry to live there one more day). 

We are that generation sci-fi books and movies never talk about. 

(Not the ones after, but the ones during.) 

We will see and welcome and spit on the desperate masses flooding our cities (we will be part of those masses ourselves). We will drink our fake coffees and munch on our fake chocolate bars with the bitter memory that once (five, ten, twenty years ago) there was a natural ingredient in there, a green, vibrant thing that thrived in what new primary school textbooks call ‘tropical forest’ and describe to kids who’ll never see one. We will watch beloved historical monuments around the world succomb to civil war, to pollution, to storms, to lack of funding and to forced or deliberate neglect. 

(We will watch entire civilisations and traditions and languages do the same.) 

We are the ones who will lose everything. The ones who’ll have the blessing and the curse to care about it, and remember how it was before. Our parents will be dead, and our children will never to be able to imagine how different (how much better) everything was when the ocean was alive and joyful and wine-dark - when it was drunk with the dance of stingrays and chattering with corals and dolphins and whales, but we will know and we will remember (we are the ones who will grieve for it all).

These are the final days, this is the darkness, this is the flood.

BBNP peyote is now extirpated (i.e. made locally extinct) - Cactus Conservation Institute

“You may recall this beautiful specimen of Lophophora williamsii that had been planted in weathered volcanic tuff in what is now Big Bend National Park. This was part of a tiny population growing near an archaeological site showing evidence of long-term historical use.

A small peyote garden had been established by an unknown indigenous person long ago and despite the difficulties of growing in the highly alkaline mineral soil the plants were healthy but very slow growing. Similarly the same conditions made seedling recruitment difficult yet a small number managed to establish themselves. It was the only such site ever discovered in such a soil and has been known for well over half a century.

This and all of its companions in that old Native American garden site were recently discovered to have been taken by a poacher.The lack of evidence of cut stems suggests that they may have been removed by a cactus collector rather than harvested. The poacher took every single plant so this unique site is now extirpated.This was the last remaining example of the three known deliberate plantings of peyote by Native Americans prior to modern times so more than just the plants were lost."

On this day - September 1st, 1914 - the last passenger pigeon in the world died. Her name was "Martha". 🕊

In my calendar I've marked the extinction dates of a few species and Martha/passenger pigeon, is always the first to come up. It is in fact storming where I am and so even the weather feels appropriate 🌧😔.

If any of you have a species (plant or animal, etc) you would like to suggest for my extinction calendar I will try my best to paint a digital awareness tribute...Next is Toughie the last Rabb's fringe limbed tree frog (Sept. 26. 2016).