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Vashon church bells will toll for the world’s lost species

Vashon church bells will peal for something both ancient and new — our planet’s vanishing biodiversity — at 12:30 p.m. today. The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, and to call attention to the occasion, churches all over the world will be ringing their bells.

As the UN states, “Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel, and the vital services our lives depend on. Human activity is causing the diversity of life on Earth to be lost. These losses are irreversible and impoverish us all, but we can prevent them. Now is the time to act.”

While the bells are ringing, heads of state will be gathering in New York and Nairobi at the first ever UN General Assembly meeting to discuss the biodiversity crisis and what they will do to address it.

Species are now going extinct at a rate about 1,000 times faster than normal. The bells of Vashon United Methodist Church, Vashon Presbyterian Church and Vashon’s Church of the Holy Spirit will therefore be ringing for three reasons: as a memorial to those species — all sacred parts of Creation — that have already been lost, as a celebration of the remaining wondrous variety of plants and animals with whom we still share the earth and as a call to action for our leaders and all of us to take immediate and definitive steps to preserve them.

— Marcy Summers

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