Climate Change and talk of a Sixth Extinction seem to be ever-present in our newsfeeds these days, “Winter’s getting warmer, the ice-caps are melting” as musician Julian Cope once sang and it’s a message that has permeated our public conscience through recent decades. However, with talk of impending environmental disasters, we have failed to look at our past and see how the human species has dominated the eradication of countless species over the centuries. and it is here in Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures that Michael Blencowe has created a homage to some of the amazing lifeforms we’ve destroyed in our pursuit of greed, ignorance and vanity.
In Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures, Michael Blencowe invites us on his decade’s old odyssey to seek out the lives of some of the species we’ve lost in recent centuries. I’m sure most have heard of the Dodo and the Great Auk, however, those not so well known are the Huia, Steller’s Sea Cow and Schomburgk’s Deer, to name a few. Blencowe here not only tells of his search but also the pointless and sad accounts of their demise.
Embarking on a voyage around the world Gone takes us to the homes of these once abundant species, from the Xerces Blue butterfly in San Francisco to the Huia in New Zealand in New Zealand, tracing the steps of Darwin in the Galapagos, up through the Bering Sea to lying on an inflatable Crocodile at Widewater Lagoon, a short distance from Brighton in search of Ivell’s Sea Anemone Gone is not a mere armchair adventure, but a genuine search to discover these extinct species, if only in a glass case or box.
Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures uncovers eleven of these extinct species, written with Blencowe’s unique love and wit this is a book that will appeal to all ages, without pretension and illustrated with 35 colour linocuts by artist Jade They, bringing each species back to life, other than in a display case. The result is a highly enjoyable and easy to read book.
Blencowe’s intelligence, passion and wit shine through the pages of Gone, but underlying the narrative lies a simple message, in our overconsumption of the planet we are placing not just other species’ existence in danger, but also our own, so the question remains “What part will you play?”
- Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures by Michael Blencowe is published by Leaping Hare Press (£18.99). To order a copy go to www.quartoknows.com
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently undertaking a research degree at Bangor University and working on a book on Folklore and early Welsh Christianity. Tom’s other work on music, poetry, health along other writings and images can be found at tomasstanger.com