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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/29/2009

Local Poets Slam on Climate Change

By Ann Posegate

Wx and the City

* Full Forecast | Heat Wave Numbers | Protest Not so Green *

I am earth...
In tune with her Nature
From achy knees on rainy days to
Mesopotamian clay colored hue
Marking spring with swollen eyes and stuffed nose
I am earth...

--From Untitled, by "2Deep the Poetess"

Last Wednesday, I attended the Earth Day Poetry Slam at the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. Local poets from DC Slam were invited to perform poems on climate change solutions. Poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry.

Keep reading for more excerpts from the climate change poetry slam...

Five poets brought climate and environment issues into a creative light. Some introduced familiar characters as a means of reaching the audience: a distraught Santa Claus; a melting Frosty the Snowman; and a polar bear visiting the White House in a business suit. Another poet created new characters out of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Still others made a more personal case, pondering their connection to the environment and posing actions we can take to improve it.

Here are some selected excerpts from the slam, in the poets' own words:

----------

Kermit was right
It isn't easy being green
I mean, I gotta trade in my car for a hybrid
Replace every light bulb with an eco one
Turn down the thermostat and turn off the light when I walk out of a room.

...Next week
I'll go paperless with my checking account statements.
Pause and think about the environment before I print out an email.
Ride my bike more. Take public transportation.
Minimize my carbon footprint by supporting local farms and planning out my routes.

... Let's see, now, did I miss anything?

I think we might've missed the point.

...This checklist of best practices resembles
New Year's Resolutions and this year's latest fashion trend
More than saving the globe.
They're promises quickly broken and forgotten,
Seemingly tedious tasks made temporarily convenient,
Actions that require more green in your pocket,
Details that distract from its roots.

It isn't easy being green, but the point is simple.
To recognize consumption isn't without consequences.
To acknowledge our position and effects on a global population.
To live well now and for future generations...

--From Green Checklist, by Jenny Lares

----------

I gave you fertile ground; you just coated it with pavement
I gave you the animals; you poached them to endangerment
I carried you for eons; you complained of same-old same-old
I gave you rainbows; you complained that it rained, though

I gave you water; you said it tasted like nothing
That hurt my feelings; I cried; you complained it was flooding
I gave you seven natural wonders; you said, "Why not eight?"
I told you to settle down with a nice girl; you said, "Why not eight?"

But I never stopped loving you, because that's not what mother's do
I just let you do what you do so that I wouldn't smother you
But then, inevitably, thee met she:
Miss Chlorofluorocarbon: CFC

She had an air about her that left my house green
Entered my atmosphere without wiping her feet
As if that weren't enough, she wasn't alone; she rolled with crew
Her cousins: water vapor, nitrous oxide, CO2

Now, water vapor wets the bed; nitrous oxide's always laughing
CO2 ain't got no job; she got laid off from manufacturing
And I don't want to call Miss CFC a thief; that's not quite fair
But I can't find my glaciers; could have sworn they were just right there...

...And I, your mother, Earth, try to stay calm, show no emotion
As the home I built for you succumbs to coastal erosion

...But I never stopped loving you, because that's not what mothers do
Even when them greenhouse gases passed and damn near smothered you
I'll give you all I've got 'til all I've got is not enough for you
Even if you give up on me, I'll never give up on you.

--From Motherly Love, by Drew Anderson (aka "Droopy the Broke Baller") Copyright 2009

----------

...Enchanted by the thought that she [Mother Nature] will
always be there for you
Unfortunately
There will be no lullabies to calves
Or education to angel fish
as the schools are empty below the sea
Which is rising,
Slowly
Turning continents into Stationary
Titanics
As they too
Never saw the iceberg
Because it was rising at their ankles...

--From Mother's Nature, by "2Deep the Poetess"

----------

This is why it's hot: global warming, no denying it
Destroying the environment, we're poisoning the climate
Spend billions on Iraq, but this war is on our own ground
Look at how Hurricane Katrina hit my hometown
Now I know what you're thinking: hurricanes happen
But hurricanes are strengthened because of our actions
Industrial pollution, vehicular emissions
Can't take the heat? Better get up out the kitchen

...If you think we lost the war on drugs, you ain't the only one
'Cause every last American's addicted to petroleum
Acid rain makes a storm feel like a sauna
Guess we won't be happy until Gaia is a goner
Like Al Gore said, the truth is inconvenient
And we can all see it but refuse to believe it
And this is why it's hot

...This is why it's hot
Fahrenheit a hundred on the dot

...It's gon flood
It's gon flood
It's gon FLOOD!

--From This Is Why It's Hot by Drew Anderson (aka "Droopy the Broke Baller") Copyright 2007

----------

...Life is cyclical,
But we don't respect the cycle.
Mother Nature is dying,
But no one wants to check her vitals.

--From Untitled, by "Fried Sushi"

By Ann Posegate  | April 29, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Posegate, Wx and the City  
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Comments

And the hyperreality slowly grows. How terribly depressing.

If anyone is interested, these poor souls could really use all of the prayers/support/good karma they can get. They fell for the media hype hook, line, and sinker and now they just might pay for that mistake with their lives.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday I forgot to mention that darned "Intercounty Connector" up in MD. There's a shining example of yet another unnecessary highway destroying peoples' homes and wildlife habitat in order to enhance the D.C. Heat Island. Heat islands such as this enhance global warming as much as or more than greenhouse gas emissions. Greenspace cools the planet; asphalt and concrete warm it.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 29, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how they fell for anything hook, line, and sinker. It appears that they're just bad planners.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | April 29, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q, how about commenting instead on the quality and creativity of the poems?

If you're going to slam what the poets are saying, at least do it in true "slam" style: by writing a rebuttal poem of your own. (Yes, that is me challenging you.)

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | April 29, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who shares the same false reality that drove those poor people to make their journey will undoubtedly fail to see how the Catlin crew fell for the media hype (the Arctic is melting! the Arctic is melting! we're all going to DIE!!) hook, line, and sinker. If you share the same distorted reality that they do, then how could you?

Let me rephrase it -
If they did NOT believe that the Arctic is melting and that we are all going to die, would they have attempted their journey? Not according to their web site.

You are arguing planning and execution. My comment was primarily about motivation. What led those poor people to do what they did?

Or try it from this angle -
If the Catlin crew knew that the Artic ice was THICKER than expected, and they had an accurate perception of what their journey would be like, would they have still made the journey? I don't think so.

From my perspective their distorted reality led them to do what they did. From your perspective it appears to be nothing more than bad planning. Anyone who shares my view of reality will see things the way I do. And people who share your paradigm will probably see things the way you do. I am sure the Catlin crew shared your paradigm. I wonder if they still do.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Nein danke, Ann. I don't write poems.

As far as commenting about the poems, I already did. I think it is very sad to see people living in a false reality.

I won't comment about the "quality and creativity" of the poems because I don't see the need to air my opinion of their quality and creativity in a public space.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q,

I applaud you for your sarcastic sign of respect in not commenting on our works in a public space.You know what they say, those who cant critque and those who are less intelligent ramble on aimlessly. Maybe it would do you the same justice when it comes to your inability to think rationally. I would like to think that your ancestors werent one of the ones inside of Noah's Ark but clinging onto the sides as an after thought. Oh wait... I would hate to think that I fell for the Bible... hook, line, and sinker! hahahaha. Thanks for the entertainment.

I genuinely respect your value of thinking, it creates more validity to my belief system. And I wouldnt be able to uphold it without yours. So thanks.

Posted by: ArchNemesistoBS | April 29, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I was not being sarcastic. I was being civil and polite. Being polite and civil shows respect for not only oneself but for others. It was a genuine sign of respect, not a sarcastic one.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Brian,

If you truly believe in the scam known as catastrophic man made global warming, then why don't you regularly argue in favor of nuclear energy???? Didn't you state that you are pro-nuclear? If you truly believe in AGW and you are pro-nuclear, shouldn't you cowboy up and present your best pro-nuclear argument on a regular basis?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I have thought about this all day and I have struggled with the decision on whether or not to say something. It would be far easier to remain quiet, but I wouldn't be doing you any favors if I did.

You showed bad form Ann. At least that is what I am attributing it to. A momentary lack of judgment and bad form. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it was not an intentional act done with planning and forethought.

You attempted to get me to comment on the "quality and creativity of the poems". You went the extra mile in your provocation when you were, in your own words, "challenging" me to comment on the poems. I am assuming that you knew that at least one of the authors would be reading my comment. Perhaps that is a bad assumption. It seems logical that you would have requested their permission to publish their work. And it seems logical that they would have inquired when you would be publishing it. And I would assume that they would be interested in reading the public response to their poetry. But perhaps I am wrong.

If I am not wrong, and you did know that they would be reading the comments, then you showed bad form by trying to entice someone to comment on the "quality and creativity of the poems". What if I had made a negative comment? It would have hurt their feelings. You put me in an awkward spot and that was very bad form on your part.

Again, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it was a temporary oversight and lack in judgment. I am assuming that you were not intentionally provoking me to make a negative comment, knowing that it would hurt someone else's feeling and they would in turn flame me.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | April 29, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q -

I certainly did not intentionally set you up - I'm sorry you felt that way. I did get the poets' permission to post their work, and therefore they knew about my post. What I meant by my suggestion to "comment on the quality and creativity of the poems" was a suggestion to comment on the topic at hand - in this case, a unique event that blended science and art. These poems are these individuals' creative manipulation of words to portray science, society and their related personal experiences. And in keeping true to slam, the "competitive art of performance poetry," the "challenge" that I referred to was simply that: a suggestion to take a more light-hearted approach in your criticism of what they were saying by attempting a poem of your own. That would have been consistent to this type of poetry. Of course, this being a blog, it is quite a different forum than a poetry slam, and readers are free to comment with the opinions they so desire, as long as they do so in a respectful manner.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | May 3, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Ann wrote, "I certainly did not intentionally set you up - I'm sorry you felt that way."

I did NOT accuse you of "intentionally" setting me up. Quite the contrary! I wrote, "I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it was not an intentional act done with planning and forethought.

I am sorry that you misunderstood what I wrote. I shall try again.

Had I given any thought to the subject, I would have quickly and easily deduced that the author(s) of the poems would be reading the comments. But it just wasn't something I gave any thought to. But *after* reading the kind and thoughtful comment of ArchNemesistoBS, I smacked myself on the forehead and said, "Duh! Of course they will be reading the comments!" But like I said, I didn't think about it prior to reading his/her kind and thoughtful comment. (On a side note, serious question - is our education system failing us or what?!?!)

Allow me to create an analogy of what you did.

Pretend that you and I are having an enjoyable afternoon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. We are standing in front of Isabel Bishop's Campus Students No. 1. Unbeknownst to me, Isabel Bishop walks up behind me. (Yes, I know she is no longer alive, but pretend.)

From your angle, you can see Isabel Bishop standing directly behind me. Just then, you ask me what I really think of the painting.

Bad form Ann. Very bad form Ann.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | May 4, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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