withNature2020 was conceived in the Autumn of 2018, as a response to the extinction crisis.   It was an international collaborative art event, prompted by the shock of realizing the rate at which we have been losing biomass (animals, plants and insects) and how many species have come to be threatened with extinction in the course of my own lifetime.

The work is the subject of a BBC World Service Radio documentary.  Listen to A Tapestry of Species.

To see highlights of the work as broadcast on YouTube: withNature2020 YouTube channel.

withNature2020 is also on Instagram @withNature2020 and was invited to edit @UNbiodiversity in June 2021.  -See the yellow and green highlights folders and scroll down for our posts.

The original idea of withNature2020 was to create a series of giant images of critically endangered species across the world in one day, to raise awareness of the staggering losses in biodiversity that the world is facing.  These were to have been created out of human beings themselves, assembling to form giant mosaics: a tapestry of species unfolding across time zones during the course of one day in May 2020, in the runup to the UN biodiversity conference, COP15.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to postpone and to reconceive our methods to make the project workable in the era of social distancing.  In most cases, the images were eventually created out of fabric and donated clothing (which was then recycled in turn), rather than by assembling people, which perhaps resulted in slightly less public participation than originally envisaged.  Some of the original 30 locations that had wanted to participate were unable to,  but we felt it was vitally important to keep up the momentum and above all, realize the work before COP15 began (in October 2021).

As well as awareness raising, there was also a political component to the work.  The project concluded with a series of letters that were sent to heads of delegations for all of the countries represented in the project, on behalf of participants and the high profile supporters of the project. These were:

Alastair Mackie, artist, Britain; Richard Mabey, writer and naturalist, Britain; Joseba Eskubi, painter, Spain; David Takayoshi Suzuki, geneticist, Canada; Jackie Morris, artist and illustrator, Britain; Lars Agger, artist, Sweden; Richard Long, artist, Britain; George Monbiot, writer, Britain; Dave Goulson, biologist, Britain; Jeremy Deller, artist, Britain; Nicola Davies, zoologist and children’s author, Britain; Alice Hunter Morrison, explorer, Morocco; Sam Lee, singer, Britain; Rasmus Nielsen, artist and member of Superflex, Denmark; Rodrigo A.Medellin, ecologist and ‘batman’, Mexico; Janet Laurence, artist, Australia; Kelly Richardson, artist, Canada. 

Additional background:

Humans now dominate the planet to such an extent that we are driving other species to extinction at hundreds of times the naturally occurring rate, inadvertently putting our own survival as a species in peril*. 

The loss of biodiversity is an issue that transcends race, colour, gender, and nationality.  It threatens our ability to continue producing food, and upsets the ecosystems that regulate our air, our water and which can help in mitigating the changes we are starting to experience in our climate.    

@withNature2020 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or look for the hashtag #withNature2020.

The fabric of nature; of which we are part, on which we depend.

* The WWF Living Planet Report 2018 reported an overall decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species since 1970, with current rates of species extinctions 100 to 1000 times the background rate. In October 2017, German researchers working in protected areas reported a 75% decline in flying insects over 27 years.  In May 2019, the United Nations estimated that humans are now threatening one million species with extinction.