My poster for Vote the Environment campaign by Patagonia is 4th on the best seller list – Let’s get it to #1!

Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.

With California in the grip of a serious drought, and our planet in crisis – it has never been more crucial to vote for candidates who will prioritize a healthy planet for our kids and grandkids.

And, your purchase of this poster from Patagonia can make this happen! Thank you!

Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.

 

 

“Yes on Trees” Poster for Patagonia’s Vote the Environment Campaign

Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Yes on Trees (for Vote the Environment Campaign for Patagonia). 2014. Adobe Illustrator.

Last week (Sept. 21, 2014 – Sept., 27, 2014) was a big one for addressing Climate Change –

Sept., 21, 2014: Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to draw attention to the greatest threat facing life on earth. It was the biggest climate march in history.

Sept., 23, 2014: Hundreds of leaders and activists participated in the UN Climate Summit at New York to address climate change.

Sept., 25, 2014: President Obama created the largest marine reserve on the planet.

Sept., 22, 2014: Amidst all these encouraging signs of bringing attention to Climate Change, I submitted a design for Patagonia’s Vote the Environment campaign that is being run in conjunction with:
Creative Action Network (a great organization that uses art to highlight and raise funds to support social and environmental justice issues) and
The Canary Project (which, uses art and media to deepen public understanding of the impacts of climate change)

It is available for sale through the C.A.N. website By buying my poster, you will be supporting a great cause.

Simply put, the “Vote the Environment” campaign encourages voting as an empowering action that we can all take to secure the health of our planet and future generations by supporting “candidates who will push hard for clean, renewable energy, restore clean water and air” and “act on behalf of the future and the planet.”

I feel honored to be part of a brand that has always been close to my heart and at the forefront of corporate and environmental responsibility. Patagonia has been making sustainably sourced products that will actually last through years of whatever you put them through. Believe me! My Patagonia fleece (made out of post consumer recycled plastic soda bottles) is still going strong after more than ten years of constant use.

30% of profits from sales will go towards supporting the project, 30% to HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy, and 40% to the artist.

So, buy a poster, spread the word, and, on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, take the planet into the voting booth!

Man: The Most Intelligent or the Dumbest Species?

My long time heroine, Jane Goodall, sums up what I have always thought. We must be the ONLY species on this planet that doesn’t know how to live in harmony with nature.

“I travel around the world 300 days a year, doing my best to make more people realize the harm we humans are doing to our planet. How is it possible that the most intellectual species that has ever existed is destroying its only home? I think one of the main reasons is selfishness and short-term thinking. By thinking only of the next quarter’s profit or our immediate wants, we are ignoring the impact of the choices we make today on generations to come. We are using up the resources of the planet as though they are inexhaustible – which is not true. This clever cartoon provides a chilling commentary of our selfish behavior.” – Jane Goodall.

This video by Steve Cutts, Man, sums it up nicely. Be warned, it has some violent imagery – but nothing that we are not used to seeing, or knowing, already!

Rwanda: Twenty Years Later – To Forget or Not to Forget?

Aditi Raychoudhury. Memorial Design for the Genocide in Rwanda. 2008.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Memorial Design for the Genocide in Rwanda. 2008.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Memorial Design for the Genocide in Rwanda. 2008.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Memorial Design for the Genocide in Rwanda. 2008.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Memorial Design for the Genocide in Rwanda. 2008.

 

On April 7th, 2014, Rwandans commemorated the 20th anniversary of one of the worst massacres in history.

Seven years ago, I had written a paper on design as an aid for reconciliation and memorialization. Here is a  excerpt from that report.

I am young, I am twenty years old;
yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear,
and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.
I see how peoples are set against one another,
and in silence, unknowingly,
foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.

– Paul Baumer in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque, 1929

Every year, in April, the rains fall heavy on Rwanda. The earth turns green. New life begins. It is the growing season. Twenty years ago, in April, along with the rains, came, not life, but death. The earth turned red – soaked with the blood of over a million Tutsis and Hutus.

Every year, the rains ebb in July – as did the genocide in 1994. Over ten percent of the population had been decimated by then – their bloated bodies floated down the freshly replenished Kagera river, and all the way to Lake Victoria. It was the most efficient mass killing since Hiroshima. In Hiroshima, they used bombs. In Rwanda, they used machetes.

Now, every year in April, along with the rains, comes “Kwibuka” (Rwandan for “Remember”) – a government driven effort to remember, reflect, reconcile and unite; an effort to restore dignity to the men, women and children who died; unborn babies, too, ripped out of wombs and smashed with unimaginable brutality. It is an effort to reflect on the neatly organized rows of fractured skulls, femurs, ribs and every other bony part that has been collectively memorialized.

But for those who survive, along with the rains, come a flood of memories – “of despair, death, fear and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.”

Anger and bewilderment still hangs over Rwanda – just like those dark, rumbling clouds before the rains. The call for remembrance, reflection, reconciliation and unity is hard to heed. For many Rwandans, the rains haven’t come. Spring hasn’t come. Life hasn’t begun. Continue reading

No on Prop. 8

On the eve of election day, pass this video on to your friends to remind them why wanting to protect unearned privilege, such as marriage being the privilege of heterosexuals only, is not just unconstitutional in this country, but universally unacceptable as well. Remind them why Prop. 8 is SIMPLY wrong.

Goodbye, Mary Jane!

One joint could cause as much damage as up to five cigarettes. Courtesy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6923642.stm
One joint could cause as much damage as up to five cigarettes. Courtesy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6923642.stm

I don’t smoke at all – but folks around me do. Californians, being Californians, often opt for what is believed to be a “healthier” alternative to tobacco. A new study puts that belief to smoke – Mary Jane, sweet as her name sounds, is far from innocuous, causing more lung damage than its evil cousin, tobbaco.

In the study researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wakefield Hospital and the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, studied 339 volunteers, and found cannabis damaged the large airways in the lungs causing symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. It also damaged the ability of the lungs to get oxygen to, and remove waste products from tissues.

Bottomline, lighting up is never the smart way to lighten up!

Alan Johnston Update: Petitions Do Help!

While it wasn’t exactly the petition that secured his release on the 4th of July, support from his listeners and colleagues that he had access to through his radio in captivity, helped him stay afloat. This is what he had to say about it. Thank you, Bustopher, my only reader to have signed the petition.


Darfur: Whose Responsibility to Protect?

What do you think of the meeting in Paris – without the involvement of the AU? Does the International Community mean US, EU [and China]? Is segregated diplomacy enough?

You already know what I think. Most of the others don’t think military intervention is the best idea. For a peacenik like me, the failure to protect in Rwanda, convinced me that there can be something called a “Just War”. I think this is an opportunity for the US to use its bulldozing tactics for a good cause, and polish its tarnished image.

An exciting debate on BBC. Listen at World Have Your Say.

Read on the NYT.

Alan Johnston

Alan Johnston banner

Alan Johnston is an example of the risks journalists take to bring us the news. Please take a moment to review the petition for his release.