I was growing up in a family where being aware of environmental issues and consciously doing what we can to lessen the harmful effects of our everyday life was natural. I remember that even as a kid I was constantly stunned – and enraged – by how little the vast majority of people know and care about what we do to our planet and its wildlife. My niece is about 10 years old now, she’s been raised the same way, she loves nature and knows a lot about conservation issues but most of her classmates and friends have basically no idea about these things, and that’s mainly because the same goes for their parents and their teachers too. What I see is that most of the kids would be inherently interested in wildlife, nature, and environment and would care, but school education is usually very poor about these subjects (if there is any…).
So, some time ago I reached to a point where I felt I wanted to do something that helps with the education of kids who don’t have the kind of family background I had growing up. If I were in the position, I would make environmental consciousness a fundamental part of education at school, but I‘m not, so – as I’m working partly in graphic design – I made a poster series that I think could be a useful tool to help dedicated parents and teachers, who’d like to do something to get the kids attention and get them really involved – and maybe, hopefully, their parents too.
My poster series features 12 endangered and 12 already extinct animals. It’s not a random collection: I selected the species very thoughtfully to give the opportunity to cover as many aspects of wildlife conservation as possible. With the help of the posters the kids can learn about these animals and on their example it’s easy to talk about a wide range of topics: about how human activity like agriculture, pollution, overfishing, building dams and roads, poaching etc. changes the habitat of animals; about the vulnerability of islands to invasive species; about the importance of clear waters; and about general things like how a healthy ecosystem works and why is it so important to maintain the balance. And, of course, about conservation: from everyday acts like reducing plastic waste to scientific methods like captive breeding programs and cloning.
The posters portray endemic species and normal species, species of islands and continents, oceans, seas and rivers, forests and grasslands, mountains and lowlands. Birds, mammals, fishes, amazing, cute, weird or cool animals, well known, emblematic and relatively unknown species, recently and hundreds of years ago extinct animals from all around the planet. The abbreviation and year under the name refers to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List category of the species: EX – extinct, CR – critically endangered, EN – endangered. You can check out all 24 species on my website or on my Facebook page.
I made the series available through a POD site (RedBubble), with a small profit that goes entirely to non-profit organizations and funds (this year to the Sea Shepherds) to aid their conservation efforts. I think there are many ways this could work, even with just one poster: for example, if every parent in a class or in a small community gives just 1 dollar, they can buy a print, and the kids can learn a lot while discussing which one to choose – next year, they can buy another one. If a school decides to buy the whole series, they can make a student competition among the classes for the posters. It’s also a good way to explain kids that with conscious buying decisions and even with minimal donations – 5 dollars, a walkie-talkie that makes possible to report a poaching team can eventually save a tigers life – they can achieve a lot.
To be honest, I don’t know if my idea will work – it’s just a tool, and without dedicated people who put their time, efforts and knowledge in this it’s useless. But I felt I have to try, and we’ll see…
More info: Facebook
Dodo – the emblem of extiction…
Addax – the endangered screwhorn antelope of the Sahara
Bali tiger – one of the already extinct tiger subspecies
Ganges river dolphin – all freshwater dolphins are endangered
Mottled eagle ray – endangered by several fishing methods
Pyrenean ibex – cloning attempts so far were unsuccessful
Globe-horned chameleon – endangered because of habitat loss
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