Endangered Species: theme 05: at the crossroads

fifth theme

at the crossroads:

destruction or preservation of biodiversity

Artists respond to scientific data about species extinction and environmental degradation by interpreting the human activities responsible for biodiversity’s decline. Their evocative, haunting works broaden our understanding of these problems and inspire the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems. Human pressures on biodiversity have been assigned the acronym HIPPO by biologist E.O. Wilson: Habitat Loss, Invasive Species, Population Growth, Pollution, Overhunting/Overfishing.

All of these interconnected stresses to the natural world are exacerbated by climate change.

Although these problems seem daunting, the commitment of engaged citizens working to protect and revitalize biodiversity offers encouragement and guidance. Artists are in the forefront of this planetary effort, creatively mitigating environmental distress through their work.

In the late 1960s, artists began envisioning new, creative strategies to enhance life and restore the essential bond between people and the natural world. They designed works that actually revived depleted habitats. This approach, called ecological art (or eco-art), has catalyzed ongoing remediation projects, some of which are documented here.

During these multi-year restoration efforts, artists collaborate with natural scientists, museums, policy makers, and community volunteers, among others. Although relatively limited in scale or conceptual in form, eco-artworks serve as models for enhancing land- and water-based biodiversity in urban and outlying areas.

return to Endangered Species