COP26 will be remembered by many people from numerous countries for many reasons. Two weeks of blah, blah, blah? Or, a significant progress to keeping climate-change by 1.5C?
For me, however, a single 1-hour event demonstrated the value and importance of COP26. Whilst politicians and diplomats were busy with their negotiations, on what may be achieved by a year when we’re all thinking nature gave us ample time to undo our mess, and tens of thousands of climate activists were braving Scotland’s stormy, wet weather – I had the honour of saying a few words at the Poetry for the Climate event in COP’s Green Zone.
Poetry for the Climate was wonderful, inspiring. Hosted by People Need Nature (PNN) and The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network – for an hour, on Saturday 6th November 2021, I listened to and enjoyed beautiful poetry from talented, award-winning, young poets from Canada to India, the UK & USA.
By now you’re perhaps thinking what links young poets, climate-change, COP26 and me. Well, I’m a trustee of the nature charity PNN and for four years now, in partnership with The Poetry Society, we’ve organised an inspired by nature annual poetry challenge, set by poet Louisa Adjoa-Parker. Louisa asked young poets across the world to write about nature and the climate. The challenge “Poems to solve the climate crisis” inspired 118 poets from around the world, to submit 160 poems that tackle the impact of the climate and ecological crisis on nature and people; and how people can work with nature to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
As well as the poetry challenge PNN’s CEO, Miles King, and poet Louisa Adjoa-Parker delivered four poetry workshops with children from Damers School, in Poundbury, Dorset, encouraging them to write about their feelings towards nature and the climate. I had the pleasure of introducing a short film of the Damers schoolchildren reading their poems about their feelings about climate and nature. Damers School practises the Harmony Curriculum, which places nature and the outdoors at the heart of the children’s learning.
Photo above: This photo is of children at Damers School, Poundbury, Dorset with poet Louisa Adjoa Parker. Copyright: Damers School.
The hour of nature and climate poetry was over all too quickly. The poems can be read by going to the People Need Nature blog or by watching the below video of the film of the Poetry for the Climate event as it happened live.
The winning poems are:
1st Prize – An Alternative Geometry of the Universe by Maggie Wang
2nd Prize – A Positively Violent Poem in 5 parts by Jayant Kashyap
3rd Prize – Mycelium Under the Canopy by Brooke Nind
Sixteen Haiku by Daniel Clark
Letter to a loving husband by Irma Kiss Barath
Incantation (for a sea change) by Jamie Baty
Walking to the Train Station by Alliyah Begum
65 Cybele by Sabrina Guo
a united solution by Renee Orleans-Lindsay
The Ocean Makes Creatures of us – Yvanna Vien Tica
People Need Nature promotes the emotional, sensory and spiritual value of nature to people. We believe nature is a vital source of inspiration for people to be creative.
People Need Nature is a charity which highlights the positive relationship between people and nature; and the many benefits that nature provides to us. We are especially interested in nature as a source of inspiration; the spiritual value of nature; and the value of nature in public policies. We focus on achieving long-term positive change for nature, rather than short term fixes.
About the guest writer - Gary Roberts
With a passionate interest in our natural world, Gary Roberts has enjoyed a 35-years career connected with nature, biodiversity conservation, rewilding, sustainability, environmental and international issues. Gary is Director/Founder of EarthWild Partnership Ltd and Treasurer of People Need Nature. Earthwild Partnership is an innovative, creative communications, sustainability and management company.