A Poetic Climate

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Last Monday, we met as people: poets, conservationists, farmers, composers, geographers, journalists, researchers, artists and activists. Everyone in the room had an understanding that we are just one part of the natural world and an urgency to protect all parts of it.


Poetry That Bears Witness to a Changing Natural World

Some scientists in the room were also artists and some artists in the room were also scientists. Art, fiction, theatre and poetry are very useful ways to communicate climate change. International climate change talks and negotiation are a theatrical production. I like to talk about ideas with people. And I really do regard my poems as not my own.

They come from working with other people. Poetry creates a catalytic energy. As groups of practitioners we care about the same stuff. As Noor A. Noor one of the scientists present doing an MPhil in Conservation Leadership was speaking about how the protests and songs during the Spring Uprising in Egypt were done with love, I thought of two writers and two books.

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To me, many poets and scientists ground their work in the same process: observation, precision and a desire to communicate their subject vividly. And the wild needs us to feel that compassion.

See a Problem?

We will not fight to preserve what we do not love. And to keep that love alive we need contact. Preaching does not work. As we began talking about collaboration, Kathy Jetnil Kijiner was one of the first poets mentioned.

New terms now old?

The Marshall Islands where Kathy lives and writes are no higher above the sea, than the low ceiling we sat under. Kathy is a climate activist, poet and hope-giver to oceanic nations.

A Message to Mankind (a slam poem about climate change)

In , she presented to the United Nations Climate Summit and last year was paired with a fellow activist and Greenlandic poet, Aka Niviana. The place where we were all meeting hosts the largest cluster of conservation organisations in the world, Cambridge Conservation Initiative CCI. John dedicated the seminar to one of the scientists, John Lanchbery, physicist and veteran of international climate change negotiations, who died suddenly last autumn. In this provocative poem, she re-imagines the Ovid myth.

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  • You can read an interview with Griswold about this poem here. Dharker is a Pakistan-born British poet and author of at least six books. Two sonnets by Craig Santos Perez.

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    Published in the New Republic earlier this year, these two sonnets reimagine both love and the act of professing it through the language of landscape and climate change. Meehan is a poet and playwright from Dublin. She is the author of nine collections of poetry and ten plays. In this melancholic poem, another from the Guardian series, Meehan opens with thoughts of a polar bear. In , Harvey, a poet from the U. This post from artistsandclimatechange. Harvey is the author of three other collections of poems and hosts his own mini-series on Radio 4 in the U.

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    Want more? The U. You can learn more about that event, the RSA in general, and download the poems by clicking here. Each option comes with its own perks and exclusive content.