Climate Poetry

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis Course 2022

The public intervention we decided to perform was inspired by the discussions on ecocritical thinking. Influenced by the Fossil Free Culture NL actions in Amsterdam, we created our own public performance. Our idea was to give out a poem to strangers while saying nothing as we recorded the interaction. The poem was about the climate crisis. Our goal was to affect strangers in the most calm and orderly way.

i feel for the world id leave behind
microplastics embedded within my mind
i lay drifting towards the setting sun
climate change is real
and"nothing”can be done

i feel for the world as i lie awake
people passing seemingly nothing at stake
to the raging plastic island a top the ocean
Climate change is real
and yet no commotion

I Feel for the world diminishing in air
when people cannot breathe then they might care
wake up and smell the devastation
Climate change Is real
this has been your education.

The reactions we got were numerous; some people refused to take the poem, others took it happily and read it at once, while others took it and gave it no attention at all. However, a common reaction was people taking a photo of the poem as soon as it was handed to them. 

The intervention was quite challenging as it forced us to get out of our comfort zone and interact with the public in a strange manner, with the most challenging part being the limited communication we had with people. The silence was meant to underline the urgency we feel towards climate change, as sometimes a moment of silence is  louder than any slogan or performance. We were left wondering if our actions had an impact on the people we encountered.