Remember birds? Their songful calls?
These are not questions one might think they would be asking, not anytime soon, not ever. But at the current rate of how we live our lives, we will certainly hear less from our feathered friends, along with the question: “How did we let this happen?”
According to new research, the bird population has decreased 29% in the last 50 years––that is over 1 in 4 birds lost in North America. This decline is not stopping. Audubon’s “Survival by Degrees” study reveals that 68% of North American birds are at risk of extinction because of human-caused climate change. My work explores these findings, visualizing the levels of extinction vulnerability of 10 birds found in my home state of Pennsylvania.
In order to clearly communicate my research and data, this piece is created in a user-friendly design similar to that of scientific diagrams. By making use of the wall, floor, and space, this installation creates a 3D graph. At the base of the piece is an oil painting of passenger pigeons, a bird already lost to human impact. On the z-axis, individually laser cut, hand-painted, embroidered birds are installed at different heights to display the vulnerability levels for each species. The closer they are to the base, the closer they are to extinction in PA. The x-axis of this graph moves viewers through a series of infographics starting with an explanation of the research, ending with how they can help.
It is not too late to reduce the decline of birds. If we act now, we can improve the conditions of 76% of the birds at risk. If we don’t, we will lose more than just the birds and their songs––we will lose everything that relies on them in the ecosystem as well as our dignity and decency. We will look into the sky and ask “How did we let this happen?”
Or perhaps I should rephrase:
How did you let this happen?
Remember birds. Answer their pleading calls.