Fatin Chowdhury

Telling stories that matter to me.

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Sunsaluter: a solar panel that follows the sun

An interview with Sambit Samsal, Executive Director

At a time when the race to renewables is on full throttle, Sunsaluter stands out as a innovative smart technology that can be integrated into developing communities and help provide clean energy. In a highly competitive market, the Sunsaluter solar tracker is the only solar panel that follows the location of the sun designed for the developing world using only water and gravity.

Over 130 SunSaluters have been deployed in 16 countries already

In conversation with Sambit Samsal, Executive Director of Sunsaluter, he points out how approximately 400 million people in India and 48% of rural households still lack access to electricity. Due to strong government support and a growing ecosystem of established off-grid solar organizations, India is currently experiencing a “golden age” of solar energy.In this thriving market, Sunsaluter’s...

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Black women take back the night.

Sept. 26, 2015 - The march continues off Queen Street and everyone is headed back towards the community centre. I am standing on the sidewalk and as the last batch of people move ahead of me, I hear two white men talking to my side.

“It’s interesting … I don’t really get why they are making all the noise. If it was a month ago, I would understand. But it’s interesting why they are still doing this.”

“Yeah,” his friend replies nonchalantly without much of an afterthought.

They are finishing their smoke before presumably heading back into the bar.

I stand there to process what I heard for a few minutes. The noise from the march is now fading and they are a block away from me. People from high rise condos who were curiously staring down from their balconies start retreating back into the warmth of their overpriced homes. People with greasy hands and mobile phones finish snapping...

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The story of Turtle Island


As you embark on your own education to learning the history of the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, you also come across their Creation stories. These stories provide insight into their values and how they live. Elders pass down stories orally to the younger generation who carry these narratives forward. The story of Turtle Island comes from the Ojibwa/Anishinabe people. I had heard of it in fleeting conversations and during panel talks but was unaware of the exact meaning behind it.

Essentially, after the Great Flood destroyed the Anishinabe People (Original People), the surviving animals find themselves resting on log surrounded by water. They determine that diving into the water to retrieve the earth is the only way to survive. Many try but the Muskrat ultimately sacrifices his life to successfully bring soil from the bottom of the ocean.

The story continues as follows:


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We mark days to celebrate and commemorate certain people because their plight isn’t worthy enough to be resolved, just to be remembered.It’s a way of brushing our problems under the rug and wait till next year to sweep it all up again.

This past weekend we hosted days to bring attention to refugees (Sat June 20) and Aboriginal people (Sun June 21). In running errands with my uncle, I picked up the front star of the Toronto Star to find a story of a refugee, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, who died while in police custody. It brought to memory the fresh wounds left from the death of Freddy Gray in Baltimore. My thoughts then jumped to the ongoing conversations about the murder of 9 people in Charleston, South Carolina and the heated conversations about how racism and hatred continues to escalate the tensions in our society. I then went back to trying to digest how [60 million...

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One of those days.


Dedicated to Rochelle and her upcoming book of short stories.

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#WED2014: First impressions of Barbados

It’s a great privilege to travel around Barbados with a team of journalists and celebrate World Environment Day through engaging stories that can inspire action. As the official host country, Barbados has organized events from June 1-7 ranging from tree planting events to announcements of new partnerships in order to highlight the impacts of climate change on small island development states (SIDS) and envision how to navigate through the transition to a green economy.

While following the international climate change negotiations, it soon became apparent that the loudest voices consistently came from countries who were most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly the SIDS. But even though negotiators shout at the top of their lungs regarding the inevitable plight of their people if concrete actions aren’t taken, it often feels like we are at a complete standstill where...

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Camille Lepage: Photojournalist in Central African Republic dies.

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Travelling with the Anti Balaka to Amada Gaza, about 120km from Berberati, we left at 3.30am to avoid the Misca checkpoints and it took us 8 hours by motorbike as there is no proper roads to reach the village. In the region of Amada Gaza, 150 people were killed by the Seleka between March and now. Another attack took place on Sunday killing 6 people, the anti balaka Colonel Rock decides to send his elements there to patrol around and take people who fled to the bush back to their homes safely. photojournalism photography carcrisis documentary latergram antibalaka

Justice for Camille

The instagram photo above was the last one taken by Camille Lepage on May 6. On Tuesday, she was found in a car near the Bouar region of Central African Republic. The circumstances of her death are not clear as to whether she was killed or caught in the crossfires but the French Presidency shared the...

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John Oliver: How to have a “statistically representative climate change debate.”


For fans of community suffering from withdrawal after finding out the show of misfits has been definitively cancelled, you can take solace by watching Last Week Tonight with Dr. Ian Duncan. Some of you may know him as John Oliver, the annoying British guy with accurate commentary on the decaying state of western civilization.

I will let most of tonight’s episode be a surprise to all of you but let me warn you that the graphics you see cannot be erased from your mind. No matter how hard you try.

The debate on climate change should not be whether it exists; it’s what we should do about it - JO.

But I do want to draw attention to the last segment where John Oliver discusses the disparity in climate change media where there’s still a debate on the issue and the scientific community where 97.1 % have confirmed that humans are contributing to global warming. So why does this...

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Hashtag we the real north

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There’s been a lot of noise lately on social media and broadcast stations about the Raptors in the playoffs. The hashtag wethenorth even began trending as the city of Toronto buzzed with excitement.

I will be honest - I am a window-shopper when it comes to basketball. By default, I am a Raptors fan being a GTA citizen and appreciate the sport and the sense of community it brings for Torontonians. My experience at ACC watching the game once with my brother was great, so I am always up for watching a game with chanting fans rather than through the screens of the monitor.

But as the hashtag made its way around and invaded my newsfeed periodically when the Raptors faced another opponent, I began to wonder about the messaging. True, we are the northern most basketball team in the NBA and our reputation puts us in an unique position to leverage this brand; the marketing team was wise to...

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Bloopers for the win.

I think it was Confucius who said

“with every second of good footage, there’s 10 seconds of bad footage.”

*I thought that was a clever joke, haha. You might disagree (as would many of my friends despite being attuned to my dry humour).“

Raise your voice, not your (vitamin) C-level

So, for the UNEP World Environment Day Blogging competition, I couldn’t leave all the footage lying around of mistakes and laughter. I realized the source of such laughter is giving creative freedom for each person to interpret the premise of the project and experiment with it.

I enjoy the sound of laughter the most - the boisterous the better. It’s one of the most authentic sounds we can make, and it varies so much from person to person. Oddly enough, the blooper reel is twice as long as the actual video I created for submission.

So, enjoy the laughs.

And learn about why the theme for WED2014 this...

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