On the 7th September every year, National Threatened Species Day honours the 1936 death of the last known Tasmanian Tiger to raise awareness of those species staring down extinction.

This year I’d like to celebrate our still-living vulnerable species and join the growing chorus for strong, new nature laws to end extinction.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of our 1,798 national threatened species, listed in the federal government’s EPBC Act has been hand-drawn onto pieces of upcycled card measuring a teeny, tiny 3 x 7cm to be exhibited for the Day of the Species project in September 2020 in Melbourne. Hundreds of art and nature lovers from every State and Territory in Australia have rendered nature’s most vulnerable in textas, paints and coloured pencils.

In early February 2020, with unprecedented fires still burning in parts of Australia, I decided to put a bit more effort into the Day of the Species project that I started out of frustration the day after ScoMo’s government was re-elected in May 2019.

On that depressing day in May 2019 I cut a 3 x 7 cm rectangle from the back of tea bag box and timed myself to draw the endangered spotted-tail quoll onto the back of it. Twenty minutes to do a very rough, very average, weird little drawing.

For some reason I thought it would be possible for a small group of artists to churn out at least 1,200 tiny species artworks over a few months, in time for Threatened Species Day 2019. I was so very wrong about that. So I calmed down, reassessed the situation and set my sights on 2020 when it would be the 20 year anniversary of the EPBC Act.

By late January this year, a couple of my friends who I’d been nagging, finally caved in and produced some rather exceptional tiny artworks, bringing our combined total to 80 or so.

All 1,798 threatened species have now been claimed and the next stage is to make sure all artworks find their way into my hands by the end of July. This is not without its challenges.

Australia has outdated, ineffectual nature laws that aren’t protecting our species and don’t adequately address climate change. We are long overdue for a complete overhaul of the system. You can read a rundown of why the EPBC Act is broken on my blog post The Long List of Neglect.

COVID19 UPDATE: The exhibition will go ahead in September in some form or other. As lockdown restrictions in Melbourne have returned to Stage 3 and I am still stuck in NSW I have decided it would be crazy to return to Victoria right now. That means I am looking for a new venue in NSW to launch the Day of the Species exhibition.

Will keep you posted.

9th July, 2020

We need to kill off our outdated nature laws to save our species.