Travis Nichols on our Climate in Crisis
A Poem for the #ClimateVisionaries Artists' Project for Greenpeace
by Travis Nichols
Was it worth it not to die? To be remembered by this wretched culture?
Meditations in an Emergency
In the beginning,
there was no beginning.
In the end,
there will be no end.
Chonky little wavelets of misery and comfort
expire into the air and come back again
through your temporary person.
Sunlight on plastic.
Moonlight on clouds.
Laughter, there and then gone.
A bubble trapped by ice for centuries
drifts away as the glacier rots.
Was it worth it not to die?
To be remembered by this wretched culture?
To breathe in the adulation
and then breathe out that old dollar bill breath?
There’s you on the timeline.
A pen mark made by a mammal
for no one to see.
Sunshine on plastic, less bright now,
released into the deep time
of nowhere and nothing,
suffering a little,
or a lot,
sleeping in dark matter,
waking up encased in air,
on the other side of the other side.
As we begin this critical new year in the fight against climate change, Greenpeace is giving over space on our channels to authors and artists working within the climate crisis. Acclaimed author Lauren Groff prompted artists and thinkers to write essays and art about climate change for us, and so every day this month we’ll have a new piece from that project that addresses, in some form, what it means to create in the midst of this crisis. The forces fueling climate change have the most powerful networks in history pumping out their devastating propaganda at unimaginable scale. It’s going to take everything we have from all of us – imagination equal to the task – to create the climate we’ll need to stop the crisis.
We need these voices and these visions, but they won’t be enough. We need you, too. We encourage you to check back on the Climate Visionaries Artists’ Project every day to see what’s new, and to join the conversation by sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and tagging it #ClimateVisionaries.