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Climate Minute #4 A Poem — When we tell the story

Climate Minute #4

A poem – When we tell the story


In the U.S., the congressionally mandated Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) report was released last November, based on work by scientists from all over the U.S. and the Caribbean synthesizing published research for regional and topic-specific chapters. For the first time, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – through the U.S. Global Change Research Program – included the arts in the process, to encourage wider participation in the National Climate Assessment and help us visualize the impacts of climate change. Dear Human at the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States was created by its publisher, Paloma Press, as a sort of companion to NCA5.

A sample from the book:


When we tell the story

Of how we survived the great collapse

it won’t be only kindness

or sacrifice or banning single-use plastics.


It will be imagination.

It will be flock and lift,

pull each other

up from what’s broken.


Systems in collapse

don’t stop collapsing.


No one can stomach the loss

of what must be lost

and so we hasten collapse

clinging to systems too heavy to hold.


We wrestle with Capital’s tooth and claw,

our own creation turned against us,

all the while anchored to ground

soaked in blood.


Consider the gulls

who soar on vast wings,

dipping down to feed

taking only what they need.


Birds adapt over time

to what is real.

We are now the ostrich,

knees bent backward, running


Always earth-bound.


we bury our head.

But all creatures can evolve.


This is our invitation.

When we tell the story

of how we survived the collapse,

we might say:


like birds, we learned

to move as one.

We grew lighter

And lengthened our wings.


Anna Sims Bartel

From Dear Human at the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States



Michael Moodie, on behalf of CFREE

CFREE (Carbon-Free Residential, Everything Electric)

is a working group of the Lincoln Green Energy Committee.


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