From ‘day of the species’ to ‘protecting species every day’

In April, I attended an art exhibition that helps people visualize the biodiversity crisis in Australia. ‘Day of the Species’ is a community art project with contributions from 200+ artists. As a contributing artist, you get to learn about and draw Australian biodiversity under protection by the EPBC Act. As a viewer, you can see the extent of species that are under threat.

They say that a single image says 1000 words, but in this case, 1850 tiny images shared a single message…

Look at how much of our Australian biodiversity is dying

The art installation shocked us into silence, mourning, and reflection. Our conversations were deep and meaningful, but many felt powerless. “What can we do?” attendees exclaimed as we discussed the beautiful, yet mournful art we saw in front of us.

We need more exhibitions like ‘Day of the Species’. It shocks us into awareness and gives a tangible perspective to the intangible concept that is ‘biodiversity loss’.

But we also need direction. Each of us must recognize our own power to encourage biodiversity conservation through every-day actions.

There is power in a story… can they tell us how to save biodiversity?

At ICON, when we provide advice for biodiversity sensitive developments, we look at what research knowns about a species and what they need from the urban landscape. An ecologist at the design table can share compelling stories about different species. This can help designers understand ecology, and design for our non-human neighbours.

I, as a researcher, often ask: If species could speak in our language…

  • What wisdom would they share?
  • What help would they request?

This thought circled my mind for months and months… Finally, some of us here at ICON began developing a small collection of ‘species stories’.

The stories are grounded in fact; but they are (hopefully) evocative. They are told from the species’ perspective, and give insight into the way another species senses and perceives the world.

Through them, we aspire to ignite empathy for the ‘non-humans’, while sharing something that researchers have learned about the species. The stories communicate a ‘threat’ that a species is facing today. This is paired with a ‘biodiversity enhancing action’ that can help protect each species. Through our gardens, our cities, our waterways, or even our oceans. Every action can help.

I believe that sharing ecological research through short, simple, and colloquial stories can help people see their power to support biodiversity conservation. Be it as designers, or as a member of a community, our every-day actions can help biodiversity conservation.

Have a read of our little species stories and let us know what your think!

If you could tell a story for another species, what would you write? Give it a go and share it with us.

Email to add your story onto our growing booklet.

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