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Climate justice in poems

We would like to share with you 3 inspiring poems and a court speech by writers struggling with climate justice. They were all presented at one of the Amnesty International Imprisoned writers series events at the Edinburgh International book festival in 2013.

Deng Duot, Becoming a refugee

World’s poorest communities are hardest affected by the climate change as they have the most to lose yet they have done the least to cause it. In Sudan, due to the progressing desertification millions of Sudanese were displaced:

‘What I call home, Will still be, Another exile. I don’t know home, what an irony to become a refugee.’

Read whole poem.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner,Tell them

The Marshall Islands experienced most of the nuclear testing during 1950s and therefore suffered hugely for Western technologies and are nowadays facing the sea level rise.

‘Tell them we don’t want to leave, We never wanted to leave, We are nothing without our islands.’

Watch the author performing the poem.

Sandra Steingraber, A Poem for the Marcellus

In this poem the author combines biology and poetry, because as she said they are both about the mystery of being alive.

‘O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers.’

Read whole poem.

Tim DeChristopher, statement to court

The author served 2 years in prison for criminal fraud for bidding at the auction of gas and oil drilling rights. In his statement to court he highlighted the necessity of civil disobedience in fighting for climate justice.

‘My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short-term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.’

Continue reading the statement here.

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