Pollution is smothering our cities. Fire is consuming our forests.
Acidification is changing the chemistry
of our oceans. We are encroaching into natural spaces where we’re not
supposed to be…and bringing back disease.
Climate change is the greatest threat we’ve ever had to human
health. COVID has cast a dye, revealing
system after system, broken in our societies. It’s no surprise those
living in poverty and people of color
are suffering the most. We must look this moment in the eye.
And with clear seeing, choose
to relate to our Earth, and each other, as if we are each other. Maybe
we are each other. We must find
the courage, imagination, and determination to restore right
relation with Earth, first,
before we rob our children of their future. We can do this. We have
what we need. We will see justice
when we include more than just us. Justice is the public expression of love,
and we were built to love
all that lives and all that nurtures other life. It is time for us to learn
how to love Mother Earth,
so we can remember how to love one another.
Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:
He was a primary care physician and medical educator whose work centered around health equity and justice. He deeply desired to be part of a care-giving society with a more conscious social contract. As a physician, he understood the biological side of health, but also saw the urgent need to address the upstream issues that cause systemic inequities, health disparities, and racial and climate injustice. “Climate change is the greatest threat we’ve ever had to human health,” he said. “I believe in humans–and that we’re made of really good stuff. We can heal from our history. We’re at a critical moment in time, and our ability to care for the planet impacts our ability to care for each other. I’d like for this poem to hold the gravity and clear-eyedness of the issues of justice and moral imperatives we face in this moment in time. But I’d also like for it to remind us that we have what we need. Love will be the engine that keeps us going, and we were built to love.”
Interviewee: Anonymous, Physician/Faculty
Listener Poet: Elle Klassen