And The Memo Is To Spend £20million On A Non-problem
It started as a stonemason's visionary idea – to commemorate all the species that have ever existed and are now extinct. Now it's a £20m project supported by The Royal Society and taking shape in an extraordinary new building on Dorset's Jurassic coast.
... What we are witnessing is "the sixth Mass Extinction Event" an event being caused by us.
Sir Crispin Tickell, chairman emeritus of the Climate Institute in Washington and a patron of the project, believes that the current rate of extinction makes our geological epoch, the Holocene, comparable to the Cretaceous and its great dinosaur holocaust. ...the 10ft-diameter bell that will be tolled in the Memo belltower to signal the demise of yet another species. At the rate we are going, it's going to be as regular as Big Ben. ..
The project has now been greenlighted to go ahead on land owned by the Albion Stone and Crown Estate. The cost: £20m. The timetable: 18 months' fundraising (starting now), another 18 months to complete. Yet it already has a soul. And I can't help wondering: what manner of creature will remain to toll the bell when the species that has already destroyed so much is finally itself destroyed? When the final homo sapiens go the way of the dodo? For this, surely, is what that old lady and I realised when we looked into one another's eyes and listened to the tones of that beautiful bell: send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
The Memo bell will toll in Portland on Wednesday to mark the Earth Summit in Brazil (see memoproject.org)...
MEMO is an educational charity dedicated to building a beautiful monument to species going extinct worldwide, together with a biodiversity education centre. Conceived as a continuous spiral of stone, it will be lined with the carved images of all 850 species to have perished since the dodo in the 17th century.
It might be uncharitable to say it but a piled up "continuous spiral" of soft brown stone does look remarkably like what my dog does first thing when he is let out.
But more importantly "How many extinctions are actually happening?"
We are due an update any day but last year the answer was that in the previous twelve months the answer was -1. That bell isn't going to get much use at this rate.