I know the climate crisis for I am human
I am part of the animal kingdom. I descend from the great-grandchildren of the great chimpanzee. I come from a long line of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. I coexisted in harmony with nature before the rise of humankind, long before the Renaissance, for I was the hunter-gatherer in the once blooming fields and forests that are now burning. I once drew water from the rivers and dams and lakes and oceans. When I invented language and spoke with my kind, I prided myself on my godlike power, so I dared to neglect the world around me. Now I am poor and miserable like the rest. Is this the price I have to pay for my ambition to crown kings and establish kingdoms, forgetting that nature was the better ruler? The industries of my creation have set the world ablaze. The temperate climate is unstable owing to global warming. The cost of my reckless greed is the daily loss of lives. The world has hit the tipping point and we are in the throes of a climate catastrophe.
I know the climate crisis for I am the lion
I am the king of beasts in the jungle. My rule was nurtured by nature, for I was part of nature. But then the reign of humankind began. They expanded their lands into the jungle at my expense. I was not shaken, for I can go deep into the jungle. My jungle was borderless, and we were numberless, millions not only of my kind but of all living things. But hell has broken out, the fires are burning, and I have nowhere to escape. My jungle needs water and we are awestruck. I have become an itinerant seeking safety in an ailing home. I cannot climb but even if I could, the trees are burned by wildfire, tossed by the wind, or submerged by rainstorms. You humans hunt me in the forest, you humans set nature against me, you humans bring an end to our coexistence, you humans ignore the existential threat of our lifetime. I am dismayed by you. I am disappearing, but I will return in other forms. I will return as a nightmare, I will return to remind you that you cannot live without me.
I know the climate crisis for I am the earthworm
I am the earthworm. I am what made Mother Earth rich. I am the billions of worms that you see but mostly don’t see. I am the soil and the beautiful colours you see are all of my making. I am the rain that showers the ecosystem and its diversity, I am what gives you your health, I am what heals you, and I am what makes you ill if you trifle with me. I am the world that you are proud of, I am the hope that you live on, and I am the despair that can destroy you. I am exhausted, earthquakes tremble through me, I am drowning, I am burning, and there is no end to my suffering, for every day there is more death and destruction. You humans ignore the existential threat of our lifetime. I am dismayed by you. I am disappearing, but I will return in other forms. I will return as dust storms, I will return as anger and poverty, I will return to remind you that you cannot live without me.
I know the climate crisis for I am the polar bear
I am the polar bear. I bear the brunt of climate injustice. I am drowning at the edge of the rising sea. The melting ice is driving me to extinction. I can’t speak. I have lost my home. I have lost my voice. I am living in the era of extermination.
16 June, 2023