London’s famous Natural History Museum is currently running a major temporary exhibition on the subject of extinction. Extinction – Not the End of the World opened in February, and aims to explore issues around biotic extinctions; the scope of the exhibition includes the five previous mass extinction events which have punctuated the evolution of life on Earth, and the current sixth mass extinction, precipitated by human influence.
I was discouraged by the irony of UK environment minister, climate sceptic and general anti-environmentalist Owen Paterson (who has just approved the controversial UK badger cull) speaking at the exhibition launch. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to visiting the exhibition. It’s good to see high-profile debate and information about extinction issues, and I’m interested to see how this important subject is presented by the museum.
I’ll be writing more about the exhibition once I’ve actually seen it. Meanwhile, I recommend the short animation, Early Birds by Suki Best, which reflects on the beauty of birdsong and the decline in bird populations, and which features in the exhibition. It can be watched here.