Submitted by Aurore Maren
What information would an octopus, a daffodil, a jellyfish or an orca like humans to know?
This year was the ninth annual Procession of the Species parade on Lopez, with the event often occurring on or near Earth Day. For nine years, I have either watched or taken part in the parade and always felt sorry that the participants didn’t have the opportunity to give voice to the species that they chose to represent. So this year I gave participants that opportunity.
Under a tent, on a table, I taped down paper and provided drawing pastels and crayons and pens. Then when humans, adults and children, began showing up with their costumes, I went over to them and asked if they would like to write or draw on paper what their represented species would like the human species to know. Slowly and with much excitement, octopus, salamanders, dragons, daffodils, seals, whales, tigers, orca, diatoms, starfish, jellyfish, elephants, cattle, monkeys, butterflies, dolphins, bees, trees, chickens and lions came by to voice their messages in drawings and words.
These are simple expressions and move me to tears as they represent a common plea for recognition. The day was rainy and windy ,and many of the pieces got wet and became true watercolors.
You can view the participants’ artworks at the Lopez post office May 1–31.
As environmental groups across the globe, and those within our island landscape, seek to further articulate their voice and find a coherent and inclusive language for the expression of their messages, the ability of the human species to consider and reflect upon what other species need is of utmost and timely importance. This consideration is the heart of Earth-centered indigenous cultures around the world, where the natural environment calls forth the human response. We belong to the Earth, the Earth does not belong to us.
The 46 individual expressions will be on display for the month of May at the Lopez Island post office. Please respect the voices and do not copy or otherwise use the material for any other purpose than your own enjoyment and reflection.
So I invite you to come and visit this exhibit and take time to muse on this question with your imagination: What species would you choose, and what would your species wish the human species to know?