www.independent.co.uk 17th June 2012
A stonemason has come up with the brilliant idea of creating a monument to commemorate all the species on the planet that have gone extinct. Sebastian Brooke’s original idea was to carve sculptures of non-existent species but the project soon spiralled to more grandiose designs. Mr Brooke has teamed up with David Adjaye, a London-based architect, to create Memo (“The Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory”). The monument will be situated on the Portland coast, the southernmost tip of Dorset and part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. A bell made from Portland stone (a practice that hasn’t been around since the Bronze Age) will be situated in the building and will toll out every time a species becomes extinct. Considering 20,000 species are currently listed as on the brink of extinction, and this number is only set to rise as human beings continue to destroy the environment, the bell should toll out fairly frequently. The Royal Society, the project has the support of Sir Crispin Tickell, chairman emeritus of the Climate Institute in Washington, the Eden Project creator Tim Smit, and Edward O Wilson, the Harvard biologist acknowledged as the father of biodiversity. Mr Adjaye is donating the design,an elegy to the ammonite, for free, so impressed was he by the idea. It will cost £20 million and take 18 months to complete, following an 18 month period for fund-raising.