Yesterday, the U.N. released a report that tells us what many of us already knew: we're killing species on this planet at an alarming rate. In many ways, the U.N. report isn't a new report at all, but a work that connects the implications of all of these findings that have been released over the last 10+ years. This NPR story does a good job of summarizing.
Much of my creative work has also thought about the implications of what it means to be alive during this time of transformation of the natural world. Here's one of my favorites, which is the title poem of my 3rd chapbook:
Life in the Holocene Extinction
I complete the day’s tasks
of e-mails and reports and other paperwork.
I think about which species
have gone extinct
in the amount of time it takes
to troll the Internet.
I squash a mosquito.
He drives to the grocery store
to pick up the few items he needs
for dinner: shark from a distant
sea, wine redolent of minerals from a foreign
soil. He avoids the berries
from a tropical country with lax
control of chemicals.
As she packs up her office,
she thinks about habitat loss,
those orphaned animals stranded
in a world of heat and pavement.
She wishes she had saved
more money while she had a job.
She knows she will lose the house.
She wonders what possessions
will fit into her car.
This poem first appeared at the wonderful online journal, Escape Into Life. I encourage you to go here to see the wonderful image of a fiber collage that's paired with the poem.
I am already missing the planet we used to have. And yet, I understand that the planet has never been in a state of stasis. I realize that we can count on nothing but change.
I wonder how our societal institutions will change in a time of climate chaos. There are the obvious examples of providing help. Institutions will also be needed to provide other kinds of comfort--and courage, along with the comfort. Our deepest ideas and ideals will be tested.
As institutions, are there ways we can prepare for those challenges now? Are we ready as individual humans?
And how can we be doing more now to prepare for the chaos that waits in the wings?