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.

Celebrate Spring and Earth Day all month long with “Yes to Trees”!

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.

 

Support the environment while adding some fresh art to your home by purchasing this poster* I made for “Vote the Environment“- a campaign sponsored by Patagonia, the Creative Action Network and the Canary Project.

It fits into a standard 12″ x 12″ or 16″ x 16″ frame, and can be purchased for as low as 22$.

So, buy a poster,* spread the word, and, think about the planet when you vote to choose your candidate for the Presidency!

* 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 me.

My poster “Yes on Trees” has moved up to #2 on the best seller list on Patagonia! Let’s make it #1!

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

This poster will be available via the Patagonia website for some more time –  A HUGE thank you to all who purchased it! I am so very grateful to you! I hope you like, or even, LOVE it! By buying this poster, you are contributing towards a cleaner planet – one that our children can be thankful for! Let’s make it happen!

“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!