Wednesday, February 22, 2017

From Standing Rock to Salish Sea: Protect the Water

by Gregg Chadwick

Today as the trump administration and its henchmen are about to overrun the water protectors at Standing Rock, I am moved to repost this post from July. My thoughts are with the Standing Rock protesters today. They've defended land and water bravely. Today at 2pm they will be overrun. Last night many of their tents and structures were burned in defiance. We must continue to resist. Thank youπŸ™πŸ½  to all those who protect the water and thus our nation. #NoDAPL

I often think about the rivers, lakes, towns and cities we have named after the original Americans. The absence of most of their culture in our increasingly mini-malled landscape points to the brutal erasure of Indian tribes across the United States. The dominant culture in America seems to continually romanticize, while at the same time ostracize, the rich history of Native Americans.

Gregg Chadwick
Salish Sea
30"x24" oil on linen 2014 

Two years ago on a technicolor blue day, I stood on the deck of the Wenatchee ferry cutting through the choppy sea from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. The vessel was named for the Wenatchi people who originally lived in the shadow of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers in Eastern Washington State. We are riding on a ship of memory.

In the Yakama language, wenatchi means "river flowing from canyon." The Wenatchee River was home to a vibrant salmon run prior to the damming of the Columbia River which impeded the salmon's journey. Like the fish, the Wenatchi tribe was also blocked from its ancestral waterways as the US government rounded up the Native Americans in Washington State and collected them in reservations far from their native lands. 

I often think about the rivers, lakes, towns and cities we have named after the original Americans. The absence of most of their culture in our increasingly mini-malled landscape points to the brutal erasure of Indian tribes across the United States. The dominant culture in America seems to continually romanticize, while at the same time ostracize, the rich history of Native Americans. The writer Sherman Alexie will have none of that, thank you. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington before graduating from Washington State University. Alexie is a major player in contemporary writing. His well-received novels, Reservation Blues and Indian Killer helped pave the way for his foray into film with Smoke Signals and The Business of Fancydancing. Alexie writes with courage about his experiences as an Indian in a white culture. Alexie also writes, as Andrea Vogt in Washington State Magazine reported, with "brutal honesty-some might even say disdain-about ignorance, alcoholism, and other problems on the rez."  

The Business of Fancydancing leads Gene Tagaban (Aristotle Joseph), Michelle St. John (Agnes Roth), and Evan Adams (Seymour Polatkin), with writer/director Sherman by Lance Muresan
Courtesy Washington State Magazine
For Alexie and other Native American activists ignoring the problems exacerbated by systemic racism in the US is out of the question. With that in mind, for over 20 years an annual inter-tribal Canoe Journey has been held on the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is a 6,500 square mile ecosystem consisting of the Puget Sound Basin (US) and the Georgia Basin (Canada). 
Canoe Journey 2016, Paddle to Nisqually, continues the inter-tribal celebration and annual gathering of Northwest indigenous nations. The website for Paddle to Nisqually goes into great detail about the history and significance of the event:
"Canoe Journey gatherings are rich in meaning and cultural significance. Canoe families travel great distances as their ancestors did and participating in the journey requires physical and spiritual discipline. At each stop, canoe families follow certain protocols, they ask for permission to come ashore, often in their native languages. At night in longhouses there is gifting, honoring and the sharing of traditional prayers, drumming, songs and dances. Meals, including evening dinners of traditional foods, are provided by the host nations.
When Europeans began exploring the region, the tribes were used to meeting and welcoming strangers who arrived by boat. Sadly, the Europeans did not understand the hospitality culture of the coastal tribes as the tribes were displaced over the next two centuries. The canoe culture, as practiced by the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, had all but disappeared until the Canoe Journey events began to grow in the 90’s. Techniques of canoe making and use had largely vanished and fewer and fewer tribal people knew how to pull a traditional canoe. Now...a new tradition is well into the making and a cultural resurgence is underway."
The Salish Sea is a 6,500 square mile ecosystem consisting of the Puget Sound Basin (US) and the Georgia Basin (Canada). 
The theme for this years Canoe Journey is "Don't Forget the Water" in honor of the Nisqually Tribe's Mountain story.  

The Nisqually Tribe finds hope in the annual canoe journey and its focus on community building:
"The Nisqually River Council’s Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan (NWSP) recognizes that community wellness is a key component of creating a sustainable watershed. We embrace the people who live in the Nisqually watershed, their sense of identity and responsibility that has existed for generations. Strong communities require, among other things, access to the arts and high community health indicators. Paddle to Nisqually represents a unique opportunity to highlight the many efforts the Nisqually Tribe makes to promote community wellness, including a culture free of drugs and alcohol, access to traditional and healthy foods, and close ties to Nisqually heritage."
Looking back now on that day on the ferry, I see things through the veil of my painting and the complicated history of the region. There is an accumulation of memories gathered in this Salish Sea as the Wenatchee ferry carries its passengers towards their destination. How many canoes over the centuries have traversed this same path?
In my painting Salish Sea, who is the rider on the bow of this ship of memory? 

Gregg Chadwick's Salish Sea was on exhibit at Saatchi Art through September 29, 2016 in the group exhibition Cross Currents. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Thanks for a great opening at Saatchi Art!

Thank you to everyone at Saatchi Art for a marvelous opening on Thursday night and for everyone who braved the oncoming storm to get out and visit the show.

Gregg Chadwick's painting Trento Night
at the Mark-Making Opening at Saatchi Art in Santa Monica, February 16, 2017 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trento Night

by Gregg Chadwick

Far from the haze of Milan, stars glimmer in the clear night sky over Trento. The city hums on this sultry night.  Trento at night is like a Fellini film: an otherworldly beauty tinged with memory. An elegant woman in a black slip of a dress slides by silently. Only the sound of the water flowing from Neptune's fountain can be heard. The actress Francesca Neri was born in Trento. Perhaps she is the siren gliding by us? 

Much of Italy often feels like a movie set. Intimate squares and piazzas backed by stage lit cathedrals and frescoed corridors. As if in a film cut, the darkened piazza is now lit by a swarm of electronic fireflies. A group of university students just left a nearby ice cream shop and their cellphone's blue glow creates a path across the square. Soon the quiet is broken as phones ring and calls are answered. I think of the innumerable conversations that have filled this spot. It is as if time has stopped. Almost perceptible shadows linger in a haze of half remembered experiences. 

A distant train whistle echoes off the Cathedral looming over the piazza. We are close to the Brenner line that runs from Verona along the Adige River up through the Dolomites and into Austria. The train quickly reaches the city. The rumble of its linked wheels seems to bounce off the pavement beneath our feet. Then, as if it was never there at all, the train hurtles forward into the future. And we are left in this city of memories.

Gregg Chadwick
Trento Night
24"x18" oil on linen 2016

In the Trento Cathedral during the Counter-Reformation, the Council of Trent convened from 1545 -1563. First proposed as an ecumenical council that was open to hearing the concerns of Protestant leaders, by its end the Council condemned dissenting Protestant views with the phrase "anathema sit" ("let him be anathema").  The 25th decree of the Council of Trent censored artists:

'every superstition shall be removed ... all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust... there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God. And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop'

Superstition, beauty, exciting to lust, unusual images -  sounds like the almost naked statue of the pagan god Neptune sculpted two hundred years after the council of Trent and placed on top of the fountain in the center of the cathedral square. From my vantage point it seems that the fountain designed by Francesco Lavarone topped with the sculpture of Neptune by Stefano Salterio pokes fun at the conservative decrees from the council of Trent. Time moves on. Art is a long game. And art in Trento often has a sense of humor. In the Castello Buonconsiglio, not far from the Piazza del Duomo, a witty fresco of a 15th century snowball fight  emphasizes that joy in living is not just a modern concept. In fact, fun and laughter are part of what it means to be human. Art can often provide a ray of light in a dark time. 

 January Snowball Fight
fresco c. 1405-1410
 Castello Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy, 

Back in the square, looking out towards the Brenta Dolomites that circle Trento in a stony embrace, scattered patches of snow can be seen high up on the mountain peaks. The heat of summer will soon cool in fall and the snows of winter will move down the mountainsides and perhaps alight on this piazza. Trento seems to hold ancient stories hidden in the stones around me. 

"Trento Night" is part of a series of artworks inspired by and created in and around a recent art residency in Northern Italy. The historic city of Trento is named for Neptune's trident. In my painting, a glowing representation of Neptune's fountain graces the center of the scene. 

Trento Night is on view at Saatchi Art in Santa Monica in the exhibition: 


Recent Works by LA-Based Artists

with Special Guest

Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator

Opening Thursday, February 16, 2017

5-6pm Meet & Greet with The Jealous Curator

5-9pm Opening Reception

MARK-MAKING is a new exhibition on view in Santa Monica and online at Saatchi Art. Curated by Saatchi Art curators Katherine Henning and Jessica McQueen, the exhibition continues our series of shows around the world.
The exhibition highlights the work of 25 emerging artists represented by Saatchi Art, the world’s leading online gallery: Jess Black, Gregg Chadwick, Jonas Fisch, Maria Folger, Carlson Hatton, Jessus Hernandez ,Melissa Herrington, Lucie Hinden, Bryan Ida, Campbell Laird, Chase Langford, Robert Lee, JesΓΊs Leguizamo, Tahnee Lonsdale, Michael Microulis, Pete Oswald, Relja Penezic, Aaron Stansberry, Annie Terrazzo, Laura Viapiano, Robert von Bangert, Wayne Chang, Donna Weathers, Adrian Kay Wong, and Vahe Yeremyan.
The exhibition is on view from February 16 to June 1 at Saatchi Art, located at 1655 26th Street, Santa Monica, CA. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday by appointment. Please email to schedule a visit during gallery hours. Gallery contact:
All works will be on sale at the exhibition and online at Saatchi Art.
1655 26th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

#MarkMaking #TrentoNight #GreggChadwick

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Heroic Ruby Bridges

by Gregg Chadwick

Norman Rockwell
The Problem We All Live With
36” x 58” oil on canvas 1963
Collection The Norman Rockwell Museum

With the insensitive political cartoon posted today by Glenn McCoy lampooning Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges, I again am drawn to think about this iconic Norman Rockwell painting. The Problem We All Live With depicts Ruby as a young girl on her way to first grade after the school board mandated the desegregation of two New Orleans schools in 1960. Six year old Ruby Bridges was escorted by Federal Marshals to New Orleans' William Frantz Public School as its first African American student, ushering in the integration of the local public school system. Painted in 1963 when young Ruby's courage was still becoming global news, Rockwell created a cinematic scene that brings the viewer directly into the moment. We must ask ourselves - do we walk with Ruby and help protect her? Or are we the howling mob tossing rotten produce and fierce epithets at this brave girl?

Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With hung in the West Wing of the White House outside of the Oval Office until October 31, 2011 during President Obama's first term. Ruby Bridges visited the White House on July 15, 2011 to view Rockwell's painting with the president. Norman Rockwell faced harsh criticism by some when his painting first appeared as the cover illustration on Look magazine's January 14,1964 issue. Over time, the painting has become a defining artwork in the continual struggle for human rights for all.

President Barack Obama, Ruby Bridges, and representatives of the Norman Rockwell Museum view Rockwell’s "The Problem We All Live With,” hanging in a West Wing hallway near the Oval Office, July 15, 2011. 

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama, Ruby Bridges, and representatives of the Norman Rockwell Museum view Rockwell’s "The Problem We All Live With,” hanging in a West Wing hallway near the Oval Office, July 15, 2011. 

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

More at:
Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With” Continues to Resonate as Important Symbol for Civil Rights

Friday, February 10, 2017

Listen for the First Time: I'll Stand By You Always (2001 Demo for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) - Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen wrote a song for the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and offered it to the director Chris Columbus. However, the film studio Warner Brothers turned the song down and it has languished in the vaults ever since. Backstreets Magazine recently ran a letter from Columbus agonizing over the song and his love of Bruce. Read the letter and listen to the song. What might have been...

Fifteen years ago, on November 16, 2001, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone was released. Being in a bit of a nostalgic mood, I checked into Backstreets (which I do every day, sometimes two or three times a day). I saw the interview with David Heyman and wanted to respond to it. David got most of the facts right, but there is a little more detail that I wanted to share with you guys.

As a kid who grew up in an Ohio factory town, my future looked pretty bleak. Both of my parents were factory workers, and it certainly looked like that might be my future as well. I developed a love of film in high school and was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to NYU film school. At first, I was out of my element at NYU. I didn't have a tremendous amount of confidence and felt intimidated by many of the other, more sophisticated students. There were several times I thought about leaving school and moving back to Ohio. Just didn't think I could cut it.

Then the summer of '78 happened. I picked up a copy of Darkness on the Edge of Town. I listened to it all night long. It spoke to me. The same way it spoke to millions of other listeners. But I took this music personally. It felt like a challenge.
That summer, during the night shift at Alcan Aluminum where I worked, I'd hide from my snoozing boss between gigantic racks of aluminum. And there, I wrote my first screenplay. I got back to NYU in the fall, showed the script to my professor who passed it on to his agent. The agent took me on as a client and, within three weeks, managed to sell the script to MGM. I suddenly had a career. I suddenly had a future. All because of one Bruce Springsteen record. All because of Darkness.
I never forgot that. As I spent the next decades working in the film industry, and seeing a hundred-plus Bruce shows, I wrote, directed, and produced countless films where I wanted to use Bruce's music. But we usually didn't have the budget, or we were turned down by the record company. Thankfully, I struck up a close friendship with Steve Van Zandt, who wrote many great songs for my films. And I was lucky enough to feature Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in my first film, Adventures in Babysitting.

But I always dreamed that at some point, somewhere along the way, there would be a Bruce song in one of my films.
We were in post-production on Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone when I got a call from an executive at Warner Bros. He said, "You're not going to believe this. But someone... someone really huge... I mean, a big, big superstar, has written a song for your film." I asked, "Who?" thinking that because of the extremely British nature of the film, it was probably someone like Sting or Paul McCartney. The executive said, "Bruce Springsteen."
My fucking heart leaped into my throat. Here was my chance, my opportunity to finally have a Bruce song in one of my films. The next day, the Bruce CD arrived at Leavesdon studios. I tore open the Fed Ex envelope, ran into my office, and closed the door. I needed to hear this first, I needed to hear this alone. I looked at the title on the CD: "I'll Stand By You." Already, a classic title. I placed the CD into my boombox and hit play. 

My first reaction was sheer joy. "I'll Stand By You" was one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard, one the most elegant and emotional songs that Bruce had ever written. I played it over and over. I drove home and played it for my wife and kids. They all loved the song. I went to sleep that night thinking, "My dream has finally come true."

- image via, which explains that in addition to being sent to the Sorcerer's Stone producers, the track was "exclusively given out on an in-house promo CD-R to some very few top executives at Columbia Records" in 2001.

The next day, on the mixing stage, I asked the editors to put up the final reel of Sorcerer's Stone. This song deserved a great place in the film, and I was determined to play it over the end credits, as the Hogwarts Express takes Harry, Hermione, and Ron back to their families. Within a few minutes, the song was synched up with the final credits.
We played the reel. We played it again and again. I probably viewed that reel for the next four hours, creating a sense of anxiety and over-budgetary fears into the hearts of my producers. I wanted that song to work. I wanted to fucking will that song into the final credits. But there was one issue. 
The first 130 minutes of the first Harry Potter film were intensely, deeply British. Every single actor who appeared in the film was British, their dialogue culled more from the British versions of the book than from the edited American versions (things like "jumper" were replaced by "sweater" in the American versions). The sets were historically British. And John Williams' roaring score was also, in its heart, extraordinarily British. 

Bruce's amazing, heartbreakingly beautiful song slightly shifted the mood of the film from England to back across the pond. Back to America. It would be the first time in our film where we would not hear a British voice. Also, complicating matters... John Williams had already written a full eight minutes of an orchestral piece to end the film. I would have to face the Maestro and tell him that I was planning to cut his eight-minute symphony. This certainly would have sent John running for the hills, ending our working relationship forever. Had I done that, John would definitely not have scored the subsequent two Potter films.

I was fucking devastated. I'd waited over 25 years for a Bruce song. And finally, I received one of the best songs he'd ever written. And I couldn't use it. 
I was lost, depressed, and truly, truly upset. I did the only thing I felt I could do. I decided to write to Bruce, to explain what had happened. So I started writing... and writing... and twelve pages later, I finished what was part apology, part explanation, part historical journey of my own personal relationship with Bruce and his music. 
Bruce wrote back to me a few weeks later, saying he understood and may even take up my offer for him and the family to come visit the Harry Potter 2 set. That unfortunately never materialized. But as you would expect with Bruce, he was incredibly gracious and understanding and made me feel a whole lot better with one line: "You gotta do what's right for your movie." Of course Bruce would care about what's in the heart of the artist. 
Over the years, I've had the great opportunity to meet Bruce several times. We never discuss the song. It never comes up. But deep in my heart, I feel I still owe him one. I still feel I owe him something, for setting me on a path that led to my beautiful career, and for giving me a future.
I hope that someday, someday soon, Bruce will release "I'll Stand By You." It deserves to be heard. It truly is a classic, timeless piece of music.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You Are Invited- Jan 28, 2017 1-3pm - Panel Discussion Moderated by Gregg Chadwick - Art In the Time of Trump

Gregg Chadwick
The Future Is Woke
40”x30” oil on linen  2017

With millions of others, I marched this weekend in the #WomensMarch. Our crowd in Los Angeles numbered around 750,000. The Future Is Woke is the first in a series of paintings exploring this time of change.

Artists often use their creations as a sort of reflecting device that mirrors and focuses the viewers attention on social and political change.  As Marvin Gaye sang so poignantly- “What’s going on.”

As we carry the spirit of the Women's March forward: On Saturday, January 28th 2017, from 1-3pm at the Santa Monica Art Studios, a vibrant panel discussion on Art in the Time of Trump will be held. 

Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica CA 90405

Confirmed Panelists:

Yareli Arizmendi - Actress/Screenwriter 

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn - Senior Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books

Artist Leigh Salgado

Jay Zabriskie - Television Producer, Director, AD

Michael Malek Najjar - Playwright/Director Assistant professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon

Jody David Armour - Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California

Moderated by contemporary artist Gregg Chadwick 

Art in the Time of Trump will be part of our satellite art event “More Art Here” running concurrently with the Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair across the street from the Santa Monica Art Studios at Barker Hangar.
Our panel discussion Art in the Time of Trump will be held at the Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica CA 90405

Please RSVP at

Friday, January 20, 2017

What's Next from Barack and Michelle Obama

Assembly Democrats Issue Open Letter To Californians

Thank You President Obama

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
"A Walk With Obama: January 20, 2017"
18"x24" oil on linen 2017
#art #POTUS #beauty #change #hope

Rain covers the Los Angeles basin this morning as President Obama leaves office. I want to take a moment to thank you, Barack Obama, for 8 years of hard work and commitment to affordable health care for all, LGBTQ equality, transgender rights, environmental protections, and so much more. Today and tomorrow and forever, I honor Barack Obama who led this country with wisdom, dignity, and compassion. 

"A Walk With Obama: January 20, 2017"

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Gregg Chadwick
An August Dream
18"x36" oil on linen 2009

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017 and Some of the Best Things that Happened in 2016

by Gregg Chadwick

Happy New Year 2017!

It’s raining this New Year’s Eve in Santa Monica. The haunting voice of Gil Scott-Heron singing Winter In America fills our living room. My thoughts trace a circuit from this moment back to an earlier New Year in Japan as 1989 rolled into 1990. I was in Tokyo following the spirit and artworks of Ando Hiroshige. That winter in Japan, I clutched a large volume by Henry D. Smith II and Amy G. Poster on Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and trekked on rail, foot and car across the historic core of what was Edo era Tokyo. Sponsored by the Nippon Seiyu-Kai's 30th Anniversary Award, I endeavored to create a series of new paintings inspired by Hiroshige’s woodcuts. Time, place, memory, mystery and lore all mixed in my artworks.

Gregg Chadwick
Passing View of Shohei Bridge 
30"x24" oil on linen 1990

 Today, on the Brooklyn museum’s Tumblr page, Alison Baldassano posted a photo of one of the most mysterious images from Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. She wrote,"People aren’t the only beings who gather together for special celebrations on the night before a new year dawns. In this woodblock print by Hiroshige, foxes come together on New Year’s Eve to receive directions for the upcoming year and emit ghostly flames, the size of which helps predict the next year’s crop…. And, as the foxes could say in the morning, ζ˜Žγ‘γΎγ—γ¦γŠγ‚γ§γ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ™ (akemashite omedetou gozaimasu) or Happy New Year!"

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858)
 New Year’s Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Oji
( No. 118 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo)
 9th month of 1857  Woodblock print
 Brooklyn Museum

And some of the best things that happened in 2016!
(Please scroll to the end for all 51)

Thinking about the past year and inspired by a series of tweets by Canadian Astronaut Commander Hadfield, who is back on Earth after living aboard ISS as Commander of Expedition 35 , I have put together a list of positive achievements from 2016. Yes, it has been a difficult year with the Trumpian circus and the deaths of far too many in Aleppo, Iraq, Turkey, Nice, and Berlin. Not to mention, the untimely passing of artists from David Bowie, to Prince, to Carrie Fisher and so many more. 

1. It’s easy to forget that this year saw a great many positive accomplishments. Let’s take a look: 

2. The Colombian government and FARC rebels committed to a lasting peace, ending a war that killed or displaced over 7 million people.

3. Sri Lanka spent five years working to exile the world’s deadliest disease from their borders. As of 2016, they are malaria free.

4. The Giant Panda, arguably the world’s cutest panda, has officially been removed from the endangered species list.

5. @astro_timpeake became the first ESA astronaut from the UK, symbolizing a renewed British commitment to space exploration.

6. Tiger numbers around the world are on the rise for the first time in 100 years, with plans to double by 2022.

7. Juno, a piece of future history, successfully flew over 588 million miles and is now sending back unprecedented data from Jupiter.

8. The number of veterans in the US who are homeless has halved in the past half-decade, with a nearly 20% drop in 2016.
Thank you Michelle Obama and so many more!

Army Sgt. 1st Class Nicole Howell, 8th Theater Sustainment Command public affairs operations noncommissioned officer, talks with a homeless veteran ahead of the annual Veterans Stand-Down in Honolulu, Aug. 5, 2015. 
The stand-down was part of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness initiative announced by First Lady Michelle Obama as a way to challenge the mayors in major cities to provide services and supplies to homeless veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, medical, dental and benefits counseling with the hope of getting them off the streets. Courtesy photo

9. Malawi lowered its HIV rate by 67%, and in the past decade have seen a shift in public health that has saved over 250,000 lives.

10. Air travel continue to get safer, and 2016 saw the second fewest per capita deaths in aviation of any year on record.

11. India’s dogged commitment to reforestation saw a single day event planting more than 50 million trees, a world record.

Hundreds of thousands of people in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh planted 50 million trees in 24 hours. 
(AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

12. Measles has been eradicated from the Americas. A 22 year vaccination campaign has led to the elimination of the historic virus.

13. After a century, Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves has been found verifiable, in a ‘moon shot’ scientific achievement.

14. China has announced a firm date for the end of the ivory trade, as public opinion is becoming more staunchly environmentalist.

15. A solar powered airplane flew across the Pacific Ocean for the first time, highlighting a new era of energy possibilities.

16. Costa Rica’s entire electrical grid ran on renewable energy for over half the year, and their capacity continues to grow.

17. Israeli and US researchers believe they are on the brink of being able to cure radiation sickness, after successful tests this year.

18. The ozone layer has shown that through tackling a problem head on, the world can stem environmental disasters, together.

19. A new treatment for melanoma has seen a 40% survival rate, taking a huge step forward towards long-term cancer survivability.

20. An Ebola vaccine was developed by Canadian researchers with 100% efficacy. Humans eradicated horror, together.

21. British Columbia protected 85% of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, in a landmark environmental agreement.

Spirit bears are the best known part of the unique flora and fauna of the Great Bear Rainforest that will be protected under an agreement finalized in B.C. 
Spirit bears, also known as Kermode bears, are black bears with a unique genetic variation that gives them their cream-coloured fur. (Photo by Ian McAllister)

22. 2016 saw the designation of more than 40 new marine sanctuaries in 20 countries, covering an area larger than the United States.

23. These marine reserves include Malaysia’s 13 year struggle to complete a million hectare park, completed this year.

24. This also includes the largest marine reserve in history, created in Antarctica via an unprecedented agreement by 24 nations.

25. Atmospheric acid pollution, once a gloomy reality, has been tackled to the point of being almost back to pre-industrial levels.

26. Major diseases are in decline. The US saw a 50% mortality drop in colon cancer; lower heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia.

27. Uruguay won a major case against Philip Morris in a World Bank ruling, setting a precedent for other small countries that want to deter tobacco use.

28. World hunger has reached its lowest point in 25 years, and with poverty levels dropping worldwide, seems likely to continue.

29. The A.U. made strides to become more unified, launching an all-Africa passport meant to allow for visa-free travel for all citizens.

30. Fossil fuel emissions flatlined in 2016, with the Paris agreement becoming the fastest UN treaty to become international law.

31. One third of Dutch prison cells are empty as the crime rate shrank by more than 25% in the last eight years, continuing to drop.

32. Homelessness in the United States declined by 35% since 2007, and Los Angeles committed to $1.2 billion to help get more people off the street. Amanda Hoover in the Christian Science Monitor writes,"The decreases nationwide, especially those involving chronic homelessness, come in part thanks to a push for permanent housing options rather than temporary placements that are no longer seen as a good path to getting people 'back on their feet.' Communities, such as Boston, that have explored supportive, long-term options have seen more of their vulnerable citizens thrive, and some say an expansion of that plan could eradicate the issue of homelessness entirely."

33. @BoyanSlat successfully tested his Ocean Cleanup prototype, and aims to clean up to 40% of ocean-borne plastics starting this year.

34. Israel now produces 55% of its freshwater, turning what is one of the driest countries on earth into an agricultural heartland.

35. The Italian government made it harder to waste food, creating laws that provided impetus to collect, share and donate excess meals.

36. People pouring ice on their head amusingly provided the ALS foundation with enough funding to isolate a genetic cause of the disease in 2016.

37. Manatees, arguably the most enjoyable animal to meet when swimming, are increasing their population.

38. The United States now feeds healthy lunches to more than 30 million children, is about to ban trans fats, and has enacted one of the biggest overhauls of nutrition labels in decades.

39. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announces ban on transgender discrimination

40. In December, Gambia became the latest African country to show that voting does count, and dictators do fall. 

41. The Gates Foundation announced another 5 billion dollars towards eradicating poverty and disease in Africa.

42. Individual Canadians were so welcoming that the country set a world standard for how to privately sponsor and resettle refugees.

43. Teenage birth rates in the United States have never been lower, while at the same time graduation rates have never been higher.

44. In 2012, the US and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented binational project to revive the Colorado River. By 2016, the results had astonished everyone. 

45. SpaceX made history by landing a rocket upright after returning from space, potentially opening a new era of space exploration.

46. Black incarceration rates fell in the United States. Not fast enough, but certainly something worth celebrating. 

47. The proportion of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012, a decrease of about a million people.

48. Mobile phones made significant inroads in the fight against rabies, a disease that kills more people annually than all terrorists combined.

49. In November, the Obama administration followed up its March announcements by banning offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic until 2022.

50. The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. 

51. Katherine Johnson, 98, was able to see her life's work as a mathematician realized, recognized, and appreciated.  #STEMwomen

There are countless more examples, large and small. If we refocus on the things that are working, our new year will be better than the last.

Thinking of all of you this holiday season! 

We remain hopeful in this dark moment and send healing thoughts your way.

Thank you for your love and support!


This is an update from an earlier letter. I will be sending these out as the situation develops.
It is my goal in these updates to point out the injustice our country faces and actions we can take to find peace and overcome this tide of hate coming from DJT supporters and DJT ideas and policies.
I have posted the content of my first letter without personal details on my blog Speed of Life -