let’s name this

let’s name this
betrayal of trust
egregious
failure to
preserve to perpetuate
air water shelter

let’s name this
non-leadership stance
refusal
to adapt
to mitigate disaster
floods droughts hurricanes

a mother
jailed for death of son
not given
medicine
No charge for head of state who
ignores climate change?

to name is
to take a stand is
to call this
criminal
neglect, perhaps manslaughter
Office abandoned.

~

I wrote this poem after the close of the world climate summit held in Bonn—the leader of the largest carbon emitting nation expressed an intention to withdraw the United States from the international climate agreement.  Despite this stance, an independent delegation of sub-national United States leaders attended to report ongoing efforts by states, cities, businesses and citizens to achieve the carbon emissions target agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement.  I am warmed by the words of Fiji’s Prime Minister, who opened the summit with the overall sentiment:  “we must not fail our people”:

The need for urgency is obvious. Our world is in distress from the extreme weather events caused by climate change – destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice, and changes to agriculture that threaten our food security. All consistent with the science that now tells us that 2016 was a record year for carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

All over the world, vast numbers of people are suffering – bewildered by the forces ranged against them. Our job as leaders is to respond to that suffering with all means available to us. This includes our capacity to work together to identify opportunities in the transition we must make.

We must not fail our people. That means using the next two weeks and the year ahead to do everything we can to make the Paris Agreement work and to advance ambition and support for climate action before 2020.

Opening speech of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji, President of the United Nations Climate conference held in Bonn November 6 to 17, 2017 (COP 23)

Key achievements from COP 23

~

©2017 Ontheland

Shadorma November

A global tragedy

If you are anything like me, you hear about events in the news while in the middle of doing something else and therefore catch only half the story. You might catch the other half on subsequent airings or you might be left with only a vague impression. If you are interested in a concise summary of how the United States government is reversing climate protection laws, designed to meet obligations under a SIGNED International Agreement, please read on.

Iowa Environmental Focus

total_emission_reductions Planned emission reductions per state by 2030 under the Clean Power Plan (EPA)

Jake Slobe | March 29, 2017

President Trump has signed an executive order that will look to roll back many climate-change policies put in place by the Obama administration.

The order’s main target is former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants – a key factor in the United States’ ability to meet its commitments under a climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

Beyond rolling back Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the order takes aim at a several other significant Obama-era climate and environmental policies, including lifting a short-term ban on new coal mining on public lands. This means that older coal plants that had been marked for closing would probably stay open for a few years longer, extending the demand for coal.

The…

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Expedience

Floating away

before our eyes:

balloons of hope

for newness,

for governance,

caring for people

caring for earth and air,

snatched by a musty wind,

a cyber cloud

of speech bubbles,

A fog of sound bites,

preserving

a century-old system

churning out

 ballooning growth.

©2017 Ontheland

A quadrille for dVerse Poets Pub (balloon).  I wrote this poem after reading about President Trump’s plans to dismantle Clean Power Plan regulations and to reverse other measures to reduce carbon emissions.  One article about this can be found at The Washington Post website.

Earth Hour 2017

Sixty minutes to

remember from where we came,

fires in the night

Tonight millions of people worldwide are shutting off their lights for one hour—a gesture to inspire contemplation of our addiction to electricity, of the polluting energies used to fuel electricity, and of our impact on Earth’s land, air, and waters.

These are possible interpretations for Earth Hour. I would love to hear yours.

©2017 Ontheland

Looking

air-pollution-1845242_640.jpg

I look and tremble.

When I look away,

it still remains,

an enormous

catastrophe

thriving on

numb complacency

imprisoned wallets

free market mantras

fumes of exhaustion–

we forget who we really are

who we can become.

©2017 Ontheland

Photo of coal plant is in the public domain, made available by Pixabay.

Staying on track

The train is slowly pulling

away from the station,

an agreement of nations

signed and ratified,

a journey of transformation

to be delivered

after decades of labor.

Carbon cut strategies on board,

sun and wind power

sing as we pick up speed.

Steady-minded scientists

keep watch,

measuring with courageous eyes—

atmospheric levels,

temperatures,

ice melt, ocean levels—

they see dangers ahead,

bear bad news and

shoulder the weight of

ridicule from those who would

call it all a hoax—

If only it was—

The time for gentle whispers

is over,

We are all needed to drive this train,

to repel hijackers,

those who would impede progress

as we glide

on a solar-powered track,

Glistening

‘Yes we can…before it’s too late.’

©2017 Ontheland

My poem is inspired by Bill McKibben’s  January 18 article: “It’s time to stand up for the climate and for civilization” published in Wired.  I found it to be a concise  and inspiring read about humanity’s challenges in the face of climate change and a new United States government that threatens to impede constructive efforts.   Here is one of my favorite passages:

The Paris accord was a triumph.., not because it solved the problem (it didn’t, not even close) but because it existed at all. Somehow 195 nations—rich and poor, those with oil beneath their sand and those that have to import it—managed to agree that we should limit the rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius this century and set up an intricate architecture to at least begin the process. That too is an aspect of what we call civilization.

None of this should be taken for granted. The building blocks of our common home—science and diplomacy and also civility—are hard-won, and history would indicate that they can fade fast. In fact, we now seem likely to start tossing them away based on nothing but the politically useful whim that climate change is a hoax.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and founder of global grassroots climate campaign 350.org.

 

400

In my dream

last leaves curled brown

and spoke

 400 parts per million… 

 hot sparks fly

from an unstoppable train

lifting dust spirals

 clogging brake lines.

somber suited heads 

sign treaties

ponder mercury advances

equatorial forests drying

salt waters rising…

tomorrow is now.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently announced that for 2015 the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was  400 ppm (parts per million), a new high and well beyond 350 ppm, the safe level recommended by James Hansen and other scientists.

My poem is a quadrille in response to WMO’s news and dVerse Quadrille #19.

©2016 ontheland.wordpress.com