Lucienne Rickard spent the past 2 years drawing detailed sketches of lost species and then erasing them. On Sunday, January 24, 2021 she finished drawing and then erased the last one in the series: a swift parrot.

In all she created and erased 38 works of art, and says she “almost cracked” with emotion when erasing her drawing of the Xerces blue butterfly:


Species are being pushed into extinction at more than 100 times the natural rate, and unlike previous extinctions, humans are entirely to blame. Habitat loss and pollution are the main drivers of extinction now, and these threats are growing rapidly. Climate change is also a growing threat although hasn’t yet had nearly the impact as habitat loss. Biodiversity loss is not only a crisis for the natural world and for humanity, it is utterly heartbreaking, and yet little attention is paid to this issue in comparison to other issues, like economic downturns and climate change. Mining is the most destructive human activity on planet Earth, causing tremendous amounts of habitat damage and loss, and yet, all public policy on climate change calls for even more mining (for the metals and minerals required for the fourth industrial revolution, including high tech, renewables, and more).

As artist Licienne Rickard worked on the Xerces butterly, she wrote:

“I’m getting frustrated. The most common response that I hear in person to Extinction Studies is “oh well, that’s just what humans do”. It’s so incredibly sad that we have accepted that about ourselves. We have accepted that the human race just obliterates other life forms that get in our way.”

Check out some of her drawings and description of the project in this Guardian article and more of her drawings on her instagram page.