Save Climate Refugees

Aditi Raychoudhury. Save Climate Refugees. 2020. Adobe Illustrator.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Save Climate Refugees. 2020. Adobe Illustrator.

Shefali scrambles through her day cooking and cleaning homes in Delhi. It’s backbreaking work that starts at the break of dawn and doesn’t end till well past sundown. But, she didn’t always live this life of a lowly paid, classless migrant worker struggling to make ends meet in a large confounding city. In fact, she and her husband owned land, a store and a fulfilling life in the Sundarbans. But one day, the hungry tide gobbled up their land – taking with it their home, their middle class life and worst of all – their dignity. Her heartbroken husband tried to find work in his beloved Sunderbans but was ultimately resigned to managing a tiny shop in a tiny scrap of land in the Sundarbans, despite the knowledge that this too shall be fodder for a now hostile sea. 

But such is the magnetic draw of the Sundarbans, which I visited a few years ago. This unique region that is now ravenous for land is also great at stealing your heart. So profound is its tranquil beauty. 

Shefali’s story of loss and displacement is just one out of numerous others who have been rendered homeless by the rising sea.

The Sundarbans Mangroves ecoregion on the coast is the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, with 20,400 square kilometres (7,900 sq mi). Sundarban (সুন্দরবন) in Bengali means “beautiful forest”, named after the dominant mangrove species Heritiera fomes which is locally known as sundari (beautiful).

The Sundarbans are located in what used to be my beloved ancestral homeland of undivided Bengal that was partitioned into present day West Bengal and Bangladesh in 1947. Apart from having once been a sanctuary to the refugees of the bloody partition of India, the Sundarbans is a UNESCO world heritage site and home to the rare Royal Bengal Tigers, Gangetic and Irabati dolphins and other species unique to this region. But human development and climate change with its sea level and surface temperature rise, severe hurricanes and increased salinity could lead to the destruction of 75 percent of these mangroves as the sundari trees are exceptionally sensitive to salinity. This poses a threat not just for the survival of the indigenous flora and fauna but also for the protective biological shield the mangroves form against cyclones and tsunamis, putting the surrounding communities at a devastating risk. The submergence of land mass has already rendered up to 6,000 families homeless and around 70,000 people are now threatened with the same. 

In an ironic twist of fate, the progeny of those who found refuge in this bucolic setting during the partition, are now becoming climate refugees with no place to call home. While we can’t stop the juggernaut of climate change from destroying life as we know it, policies within the GREEN NEW DEAL could potentially provide solutions to reduce the impact of climate change and restore a life of dignity for climate refugees.

Inching Towards Watercolors

Aditi Raychoudhury. Thank you for the NibMor love. Clearly the way to my curmudgeonly heart is through More Nib Mor. 2016. Watercolor on paper.
Aditi Raychoudhury. More Nib Mor Please. 2016. Watercolor on paper.

I have been watching with much admiration Lisa Brown posting a watercolor sketch every single day. I was so inspired to learn that she has committed to making one every single day since 2014 that I made a gingerly stroke, and then another and another.. here is the result. I have a long way to go.. but its a start.

Aditi Raychoudhury. Thank you for the NibMor love. Clearly the way to my curmudgeonly heart is through More Nib Mor. 2016. Pencil Sketch.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Thank you for the NibMor. Clearly the way to my curmudgeonly heart is through More Nib Mor. 2016. Pencil Sketch.

Another (short) Masterpiece from Studio Ghibli

 

As a long time fan of scroll books and Studio Ghibli, I am expectedly taken in by their latest short inspired by a 12th century manga called Chōjū-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki, or Scrolls of Cartoons of Birds, Animals, and People. It is one of the first shorts produced for  Marubeni Power . The full short will air on April 1st, 2016. In the meantime enjoy 30 seconds of beauty.

The short was directed by Katsuya Kondo, character designer and animation director on Kiki’s Delivery Service and Ponyo, and producer Toshio Suzuki was the voice speaking the company name at the end. The background music is by acclaimed pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii and the tagline reads “There is a Japan I want to leave behind for future generations.”

Chōjū Giga, which depicted life as it was eight centuries ago through anthropomorphic animals, is recognized as one of the oldest known manga in the world. The emakimono, or handpainted, scrolls from which it originated are considered national treasures and can be found in the Tokyo and Kyoto National Museums.

Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata is a noted fan, alongside Hayao Miyazaki, and has written a book on emaki scrolls as well as drawing inspiration from them in making The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Scholars continue to debate whether this or the Shigisan-Engi- emaki can be considered the first manga published.

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.

 

 

My Dream Home

http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html

I keep telling my husband, especially, given our training as architects, that we can build our dream home within our modest means using shipping containers. I first thought about it 10 years ago, when I was working as a sustainable building design consultant at  Architectural Energy Corporation. In fact, I would want to live in a container home even if we had a lot of money. Why? Because it’s a sustainable design choice, and, if done right, so damn-cool! Of course, there is the problem of money when it comes to buying land in the Bay Area – but we will… some day buy a piece of land that no one wants to buy – and then build this container home I have living inside my head! In the meantime, enjoy these photos of what other people have done with container homes!

Container Home. Source:http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html
Container Home. Source:http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html

http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html
http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html

More info @ http://my99post.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000.html

How A Used Carton Is Solving Rural Indian Schools’ Biggest Problem – In Less Than Rs. 10 (i.e. for less than 20 cents)!

Desks made out of used cardboard boxes. Source: Dornob.com. Sponsored by Aarambh.com. 2014.

Source: This video was originally posted by DDB Worldwide at The Better India. 2014.

This story just teared me up – brilliant design for a social cause. Aarambh came up with a unique design to solve one of India’s big problems – furniture for schools. Some critics of the design say its neither going to last, nor is it going to stay dry during the monsoons. As for longevity, I think we can just replace them with more DISCARDED cardboard boxes. As for the rains, I have no doubt that the designers will come up with a way to repurpose the gazillion plastic bags trashed on our pavements, to make these water-proof.

Desks made out of used cardboard boxes. Source: Dornob.com. Sponsored by Aarambh.com. 2014.
Desks made out of used cardboard boxes. Source: Dornob.com. Sponsored by Aarambh.com. 2014.

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!

Technology Vs Climate Change

While Bush has given a reluctant nod to acknowledge climate change, here in the Bay Area, companies are now pushing their efforts in a new direction – Climate Change. California (along with Washington and Oregon) has lead the country in developing sustainable policies, and is now leading the world in the search for cutting edge technology for sustainable energy sources.

As the BBC report says, “California is where this frontier spirit is the freest.”

High Tech and Climate Change

While Bush has given a reluctant nod to acknowledge climate change, here in the Bay Area, companies are now pushing their efforts in a new direction – Climate Change. California (along with Washington and Oregon) has lead the country in developing sustainable policies, and is now leading the world in the search for cutting edge technology for sustainable energy sources.

As the BBC report says, “California is where this frontier spirit is the freest.”