South Asia 1st prize: Mr. Rohan Chakravarty from India

My cartoon entry has been motivated by and is based on the drastic effects of climate change noted over the last decade in the Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest situated in West Bengal in India, and in Bangladesh, in the Brahmaputra River Delta on the Bay of Bengal. When referring to the impact of climate change in India, mangrove forests are among the most fragile and susceptible eco-systems. The lives of the natives also depend directly on the mangroves, as it provides them with a livelihood- The Sunderbans are among the region’s largest sources of forest produce, including timber, fuel wood, pulpwood, thatching materials, honey, bees-wax, and a huge number of commercially important fish, crustacean and molluscs. It offers protection from natural calamities- Owing to the mangrove trees’ massive root systems that dissipate wave energy, they are capable of protecting the coasts from erosion, hurricanes and tsunamis. Mangrove trees have an interesting adaptation for survival in the water-logged and saline conditions- Pneumatophores or aerial roots, projecting out of the mud, enabling exchange of gases with the atmosphere.

The cartoon shows a setting of a nearly submerged mangrove forest. As the viewer’s eyes move to the submerged part, they find a transition to distinct bones, representing carcasses of people and livestock that have fallen victims to the wrath of climate change, along with a drowning hut in the background. A crow (a scavenger and hence symbolizing death) overlooks the scenario, perched on a sign board in the foreground that reads “Mangrave Delta” (pun intended).

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Taken on February 17, 2012