This is a picture of the Amsterdam Bourse, as I understand it the first stock market in the world (founded in 1602). Image from http://fisher.osu.edu/fin/graphics/amster.gif

I don’t know if anything like this exists already, but one idea I have had for a while which might be interesting if it could be made to work practically would be a kind of online stock market for endangered species.  Naturally it would differ from a normal stock market in many senses but one thing that strikes me as being particularly useful as an idea would be an index online of different species and some general assessment of their numbers which is updated over time (I do understand that there are limitations on measurements here, but there are also sources such as the IUCN Red Book of Threatened Speices).

An ‘investor’ to the site could then go online and see a set of numbers in a nano-second showing clearly which species are most threatened, as well as a general trajectory, either upwards or downwards.   Then there could be various links to organisations and to practical action to help steward and conserve those species.  That way, ‘investors’ could see clearly and directly which species are most at risk of extinction and then put in energy and resources to help preserve them.

It could also be applied to other fields such as endangered languages.

There may already be initiatives along these lines and if so I would love to hear about them.