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 coming 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.