biodiversity jenga

What image would you use to illustrate the idea that humans are damaging biodiversity?


I don't like the metaphor of a house of cards, because the point of that game is to try to build something from nothing, knowing that the slightest false move will have the whole thing collapse - like a house of cards. The message is that creative activities lead almost inevitably to catastrophe.


I much prefer the Jenga metaphor. Humans are necessarily involved, and the game is to see how much you can remove before things go pearshaped. The tower is good and stable at the start, and gets less reliable as the reduction continues. But you can stop at any time, and there is a good chance that things will not collapse on their own accord.


A friend has pointed out that "in the Jenga you have a chance to restore, whereas in the cards house any restoration effort risks to make the whole thing collapse. One aspect, however, is missing in both metaphors, nature will recover, it may start from scratch again and it may take a long time, a several millions of years, but for nature that's no worry. So solving the climate and biodiversity crisis is above all in our own interest, if we want human society to continue to exist."

  • Ant Sharman 5y

    I would like to have a Jenga with creatures depicted on the blocks
  • Christine 5y

    I think we just removed about 80 pieces with the Gulf oil spill.
  • DabiDesign 4y

    Hi we will use your image for ours next article:
    You can see it tomorrow wednesday at 8:30 am american time.
  • Martin Sharman 4y

    Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate that. I'll look out for the article...
  • emreyilmaz20 4y

    Dear Martin Sharman,

    We want to use your this picture in an our project about biodiversity.
    We will be very happy If you accept that we use it.
    Thank you very much.

    Best Regards,

    Emre YILMAZ
  • Sussex Wildlife Trust 3y

    Great photo, we have used it to illustrate our blog 'What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?' about Ecosystem Services.

    Thanks for sharing.
  • Selfdestination 3y

    As above; nice picture, great vantage point.
    I have used it in the context of 'monetary destabilization' (which is inflation)...

    Thank you for creativity,

  • Carolin Boßmeyer 4mo

    Dear Martin Sharman,

    Thanks for the great photo. As a not-for-profit network ( we are going to use it in a fact sheet on biodiversity and ecosystem services addressed to businesses as a target group. This information material is being produced in the context of the German national strategy on biological diversity.

    Thanks, Carolin
  • M. Dolly 9h

    Striking image
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Taken on May 2, 2010
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