The changing tides and lives in the Sundarbands - 19 Jan 2010  
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A photography exhibit in London, England by photographer Peter Canton and field partner Cris Aoki Watanabe documents the devastation of climate change on one of the most impacted areas of the world – the low-lying Sundarbans in India’s Ganges delta.

The Sundarbans, which means “beautiful forest” in Bengali, have long been considered a region of ecological and cultural importance. However, the photographers were shocked to see the ruins that Cyclone Aila had inflicted in May 2009, as they also documented the increasingly higher water levels and more intense storms.
Families are continually displaced as they have to relocate to shelters at every coming catastrophe.
Livelihoods are at dire stakes with the encroaching salt water contaminating their rice paddies, which renders them useless for the next three years.

With the people’s lifestyles considered to leave one of the lightest carbon footprints, the photojournalists’ exhibit highlights the suffering inflicted by climate change that is wreaking havoc on the isolated and poor.
A resident grieves: “The water level is increasing and the temperature too. We cannot live here, the heat is becoming unbearable. We have received a plastic sheet and have covered our home with it. During the comi ng monsoon we shall wrap our bodies in the plastic to stay dry. We also have two children and we cannot manage their food either.” 

Our hearts are saddened to know of our brethren suffering through the demise of their communities and our planet. May we quickly change our ways and hearts in consideration for our co-inhabitants and the environment. In an October 2009 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern for all Earth’s residents afflicted by global warming, urging citizens and world leaders to help halt these calamitous changes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We also do not forget all the islands and other countries who are submerging or sinking or disappearing or disappeared because of climate change. My heart is troubled every day, thinking of all these innocent people and all the defenseless animals who have to suffer in this great upheaval we call climate change.

But we still have time.We could not reverse the effect of climate change in the past. Whatever happened due to typhoons and floods and earthquakes, etc.,

we could not reverse the effect. But we could stop future disasters by returning to the compassionate vegan diet and encouraging others to do the same. The government has the power to do this. I beg all the governments of the world, please, do this before it’s too late, for the sake of your citizens and your own children as well.