Free the Nature Directives!

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Here are some illustrations I did for BirdLife International. They are calling upon Commissioner Vella and Vice President Timmermans of the European Commission (in as nice a way as possible) to release the results of the ‘Fitness Check of the Nature Directives’ and validate them as fit for purpose. It was supposed to be done in Autumn, and they recon it’s now Autumn so they’re using my illustrations in a campaign to give the Commissioners a nudge! Here are the final results:

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This illustration started off way weirder (see below) before I was told that Timmermans and Vella should look less scary…

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Now they are sweethearts!

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Promotional Work for the UN – Nansen Refugee Award 2016

The UN asked me to create some images to promote the search for the next Nansen Refugee Award winner, so here they are. They want to hear about any individual who provided an extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced.

Nominate here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KPNRJFQ

 

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Illustrations for Friend of the Earth International: the Financialization of Nature

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http://www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Financialization-of-Nature-brochure-English.pdf

I was asked by Friends of the Earth International to create a set of images to accompany a recent report they produced about the ‘Financialization of Nature’. It was very much a collaborative process, with much input from their side, as they were keen that the final result should be immediately visually impactful, and move people to read further and engage with the topic. The pallet used was bright and the imagery bold, to match the overall look and feel of their campaign design.

‘Financialization of Nature’ is a very scary thing. We are assured that governments are restricting the damage that corporations can do to the environment through a ‘biodiversity offsetting’ system. This essentially means that if one area of the nature is destroyed, another area of the same size must be established elsewhere. Sounds OK on paper, but in reality this practice is pretty much meaningless. Ancient forest, rich in biodiversity, habitat for infinite species of animal, plant, fungus and bacteria can, under this system, be destroyed and replaced by grassland or young trees – the rich, old land replaced by young land that can support little life. Not to mention that there can be huge gaps in time and place. The new land need not be created immediately, nor does it have to be close to the old. What happens to the life that lives on the land that is destroyed? There is no half-way house for it to dwell in while it waits for a new habitat. It dies, long before the new habitat is created – a habitat that is too distant and too simple to support it anyway. And in many cases, with very few organisations policing the system, the new land is never created at all.

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Because the wheels of Capitalism spin on and on faster and faster, brilliant minds have concluded that the natural world will only be saved if we treat nature as a commodity, just like everything else. Forests, rivers, wetlands etc are rebranded ‘Ecosystem Services’ to be bought and traded. Nature is carved up into pieces in order to give it ‘worth’ to corporations who might otherwise destroy it. But nature is one system, a synergy, each element depending on another. Some easily tangible elements are given value – carbon, water, peat, whilst other more nebulous ones are not. A company can destroy 1000 trees in one area and replant them in another, but what happens to the millions of lives, the indigenous peoples, the delicate, intricate ecosystems what lived surrounding those trees?The company washes its hands and walks away with ‘clean conscience’.

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We must attempt to change things for the better – but we must also recognise a scam when we see one. This system does little to prevent biodiversity loss. For those who feel guilt, it helps alleviate it and for those who feel none, it turns nature into two things: commodities to be bought and irrelevancies to be ignored.

As a species we are used to using our surroundings for our own ends. We see short term comfort and ignore long term ruin. As our world becomes more difficult to live in, will be change our ways? Will we change in time? After so long at the top, perhaps it is not possible to think differently. Perhaps success relies on appealing to our inner capitalist, but it also relies on us telling the truth about what works and what doesn’t, facing our guilt and pushing to find a real solution.

Scrum Posters for Sourcecell

I recently attended a course taught by the wonderful M Kelley Harris – director of Sourcecell http://www.sourcecell.com/training.html so I could qualify as a CSM.

If you’re thinking of learning more about Agile or Scrum, Kelley is your man. He teaches with great patience and passion, and his sessions really bring the topic alive. One challenge was to create a poster for each team selling the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of Scrum to a company. Each team created a concept and I helped them by working up the images quickly into more finished final products – as you see below.

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Illustrations to honour the Nansen Award 2015 Winner – Aqeela Asifi

Aqeela Asifi – Winner of the Nansen Award 2015Aqeela 1 FINAL

The UNHCR helps us celebrate great feats of bravery and kindness to refugees – those who win it are truly extraordinary.

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Aqeela Asifi’s story and achievements are astounding http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/nansen

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Today we have the highest rates of displaced people since WWII. Let’s celebrate those who work to protect, educate and give those people hope.

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The UNHCR Nansen Awards : Who Was Fridtjof Nansen?

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This illustration was to help the UNHCR spread the word about the upcoming Nansen Awards that honour extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced.

Fridtjof Nansen was an extraordinary polymath, the founding father of the UNHCR and basically a dude in all respects. Reading about him for this project has left me a bit in awe. Here’s a quote that gives you an idea of the sort of man he was. So bleak and so magnificent

“Here I sit in the still winter night on the drifting ice-floe, and see only stars above me. Far off I see the threads of life twisting themselves into the intricate web which stretches unbroken from life’s sweet morning dawn to the eternal death-stillness of ice. Thought follows thought—you pick the whole to pieces, and it seems so small—but high above all towers one form … Why did you take this voyage? … Could I do otherwise? Can the river arrest its course and run up hill? My plan has come to nothing. That palace of theory which I reared, in pride and self-confidence, high above all silly objections has fallen like a house of cards at the first breath of wind. Build up the most ingenious theories and you may be sure of one thing—that fact will defy them all. Was I so very sure? Yes, at times; but that was self-deception, intoxication. A secret doubt lurked behind all the reasoning. It seemed as though the longer I defended my theory, the nearer I came to doubting it. But no, there is not getting over the evidence of that Siberian drift-wood. But if, after all, we are on the wrong track, what then? Only disappointed human hopes, nothing more. And even if we perish, what will it matter in the endless cycles of eternity?”

NB: It is a bit naughty to put penguins in here as they only live in the South Pole and Nansen never got there…apologies to strict ornithologists.

Scenes from San Francisco

So I spent the last two and a half months in San Francisco unable to do any paid work, accompanied by the unnerving sound of a gradually dwindling bank account. Since I’ve been back I have been doing some things which I will soon post. In the meantime here is a typical San Francisco scene (we were living in Mission) butt