This is a plug for a great exhibit currently at the National Geographic Musuem in Washington DC--"PhotoArk," a collection of photographs by Joel Sartore. He is trying to document all the world's threatened species--5,000 so far & counting. He visits zoos & rescue centers to take pictures of the animals against a stark black or white background. The point is to try to really see them as individuals--individuals not entirely different from you and me--in order to engender our compassion and action on behalf of the world's disappearing species and their habitats.
Obviously, this is a deeply theological issue, an issue I care about passionately. We are both created and called to love animals as our neighbors, as subjects, not objects--as a "thou," not an "it." Our own lives are inextricably linked with theirs--we cannot survive and thrive without them. Here are just a few quotes from the exhibit, and a few photos. If you have a chance, go see it: you won't regret it.
"Life on our planet is interconnected." "When we're able to look animals in the eye, it is easy to see they're not so different." "Half of all the planet's species could be lost by 2100."
"It is said that people will only save what they love. Examining the animals in this room offers incentive for each of us to find ways to prevent further losses. Take a moment to imagine a world without songbirds, frogs, pandas, or whatever you hold dear."