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Chris Stewart

Collective Architecture's Chris Stewart discusses his overlapping roles as architect and member of the Scottish Ecological Design Association in promoting green design to a wider audience.

Obituary - One Million Species

October 5th, 2020

It is with deep regret that I have to inform everyone of the passing of our good friend One Million Species. She, him and it have been our close companion throughout, what seems like an entire lifetime. Together we have shared the ups and downs of the last four million millennia however all things have to end somewhere.

Although not painless it brings some relief that dear old One Million was oblivious to their demise. The hard hearted blame shrinking habitat, over exploitation of natural resources, pollution and even the myth of climate change. Rather than reflect on a planet ravaged by an ever-growing human population, we prefer to remember One Million Species in the glow of youth, scratching and scuttling around in the dirt and puddles.

It is relatively well known that One Million Species came from a very diverse background. She him and it made up almost a half of our amphibian creatures and a third of all marine mammals. Old One million included another third of all those colourful coral reefs and even a tenth of those itchy insects. On the more edgy side, she, he and it bit into a third of the entire shark family.

What is not so well known and not even included in old One Million’s basic arithmetic is all those microbes, they probably add up to billions. A bit more tricky to calculate and a bit less in your face than a wolf or a rhino, they are though still pretty important and something old One Million should take more credit for. It is all those lesser well known achievements which should be acknowledged, it takes a lot of effort keeping nature clean, breaking down all those dead plants and bits of animal into usable organic matter. One Million Species understood that we were all connected and knew that if a soil microbe disappeared, then perhaps a tree may fall, fruit may be lost, birds and monkeys go hungry and can no longer be eaten by large predators such as ourselves. 

It is a blessing that One Million Species left behind no relatives or immediate dependants. This is not to say she, he and it were not prolific fornicators, the exact opposite in fact. Old One Million produced one bloody large brood who all unfortunately passed away just before One Million, it is one of life’s tragedies when a parent outlives their children. Another unwelcome anomaly is that Old Million appears to keep growing. This is more than some hammer house set of long finger nails or straggling hair, this is a fresh set of numbers capable of outdoing the achievements of One Million themselves. It could include vast areas of oceans, a third of all our land and the Bengal Tiger. Who says there is not life in the old dog even when she, he and it are dead.

One Million Species has made the request not to send flowers to the funeral and would prefer that contributions are made to resolving the situation. She, he and it believe it is not too late to make a difference. Please start at every level from local to global, let us all build up to an overhaul of our economic systems, that is how I think they would like to be remembered.

Unfortunately due to pandemic restrictions only 20 close family can attend the funeral, to be held at Eden Garden Crematorium. Fortunately everyone else can witness the event as it will be broadcast live on all major channels and I am sure will touch us all.


It is the intention that the above obituary will form part of a developing SEDA publication 'A Guide to Being Unsustainable' which builds on previous SEDA magazines.  The publication will take a satirical look at life to help generate constructive criticism and draw attention to the serious issues which affect us all.


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