Protecting global biodiversity through individual eco-actions

Xavier Cortada, “Endangered World: Life Wall,” 2009, The Netherlands.

Eco-art in defense of endangered species

Endangered World is a participatory eco-art project by Xavier Cortada that has addressed global biodiversity loss through art installations across the planet, from the North Pole to the South Pole. As we face the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, these public art interventions aim to show that all species are interconnected and must be protected.

Cortada created an installation featuring 24 endangered species at the South Pole (one for every time zone), 360 species at the North Pole (one for every longitude), in the Netherlands (at the Hunebedden Centrum Borger, site of the largest Neolithic grave site) and at Biscayne National Park along a mile-long trail that ended at the water’s edge.

South Pole

Biscayne National Park

North Pole


To prompt people to act on behalf of the endangered animals who cannot speak for themselves, Cortada invites everyone to “Adopt-a-Species.”

You can participate by:

  • Selecting an endangered species that you would like to adopt
  • Committing to an “eco-action” on behalf of your chosen animal
  • Creating an attention-grabbing reminder of your commitment
    • Upcycle a piece of clothing by screen printing a picture of your animal on it
    • Paint a rock with the longitude at which your animal lives

Sixth Mass Extinction

The ongoing sixth mass extinction is human caused and clearly accelerating due to the rapid increase in human population, consumption, and pollution. Although humanity heavily depends on a stable web of life to survive, we are systematically decimating countless species around the world. Scientists warn that this ecological crisis is a serious threat to the persistence of civilization and requires collective global action to save humanity’s crucial life-support systems.