Friday, March 03, 2017


What Do You Call the Last of a Species?
For a time I attempted to keep up two blogs, Lion Lamb, which you're reading now, and Groundling, which was devoted to environmental and eco-faith themes. I simply didn't have the time or energy to sustain both, so the faith and ecology postings went back to my Lion Lamb blog.

I called the other blog Groundling because it is Professor William Brown's translation of the Hebrew description of Adam, the earth person of Genesis. I like the notion that we are all groundlings. As we affirmed yesterday on Ash Wednesday, from dust we have come, and to dust or earth we shall return. It's when we forget our earthiness and groundedness that we get into trouble. We act as though we are gods and rather than living with a humus-like humility we engage in hubris, an arrogant pride.

If we are prolific, weed-like groundlings, what do we call creatures that are the last of their species? There are a number of words, including "relict," but a term offered a number of years ago is gaining momentum and it is "endling." It has a rather forlorn sound to it, don't you think? I read about the origins of the word endling in a  recent New Yorker article What Do You Call the Last of a Species? which included the colourful yet unsettling image seen above.

Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger. Extinct

Endling, In a world of remarkable complexity and diversity the number of species on this ark which is planet Earth is diminishing, and the disappearance is picking up momentum. We humans can't seem to grasp that our success will ultimately require the survival and flourishing of other species, We are such rapacious consumers of everything that habitats are degraded or disappear, and so do the creatures in them. Our short-term thriving as a species could be our downfall.

I don't want humans to become extinct, "dead as a Dodo," but Dodo's probably weren't thrilled with going the way of the Dodo either. In our instance we would be the authors of our demise. We would commit endlicide.

I know, cheerful stuff, but sometimes the truth hurts. 


Passenger Pigeon. Extinct.

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