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Climate Reality Africa, Canada, and Philippines Join Poetic Call for Climate Action

In the lead-up to COP27, Poets for Climate is exploring the ways artistic expression can communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.

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The science is unequivocal. Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, the global warming threshold where climate-vulnerable countries can still thrive amid the climate crisis, is beyond reach without immediate action across all sectors.

 That’s why Climate Reality’s branches in Africa, Canada, and the Philippines are joining a growing chorus of voices asking “When?” and demanding “Now!” from world leaders meeting during the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) later this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

 To gear up for the conference, the three branches are together launching Poets for Climate, a collaborative project that aims to harness the diverse languages and points of view of Climate Reality Leaders in Africa, Canada, and the Philippines.

“The goal of the project is to generate pebble poems from Climate Reality Leaders that will send out ripples into a community of readers and help amplify the need for world leaders to address the vicious cycle of loss and damage experienced by climate-vulnerable countries across the globe,” said Nazrin Castro, branch manager of Climate Reality Philippines.

Poets for Climate will support the When Is Now campaign, a global poetry and arts movement mobilized by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and Agam Agenda.

 “The power of the When is Now campaign lies in its use of climartivism – a combination of art, poetry, and activism – to showcase and tell climate stories from across the world. The use of creativity and activism creates a meaningful space for more people to participate in the climate fight and for their diverse stories to be told and heard,” said Amy Giliam Thorp, branch manager of African Climate Reality Project. “Now more than ever, with the global shrinking of civic space, there is a need to amplify the voices of diverse groups, especially those most affected, in the lead up to COP27 and beyond.”

 André-Yanne Parent, executive director  of The Climate Reality Project Canada, echoed her concern: “Through the When is Now campaign, we aim to uplift and amplify voices who have first-hand experiences of the impact of the climate crisis and day-to-day agency in drafting solutions, yet do not have access to decision-making spaces. We want their messages to resonate inside these spaces, as well as in the minds and hearts of decision-makers. Building creative dialogues and compassionate relationships through art, we hope the stories shared will create a sense of urgency to center climate ambition in justice and solidarity between people and nations.”

  When Is Now links together in a digital space poems like those to be created as part of the Poets for Climate campaign, visual art, murals, and other forms of creative expression that reflect national and regional demands for climate action, as well as people’s lived experiences of the climate crisis.

“More than ever, we need storytelling, arts, and the humanities to generate new ways of responding to the ecological crisis we all face, and which disproportionately impacts marginalized peoples the most while bearing the least responsibility for climate change. Artists and writers can help us reimagine the ways we act on climate, in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable,” said Padmapani L. Perez, lead strategist for creative collaboration of the Agam Agenda.

Pebble Poem Workshops

Every Thursday in August, the Agam Agenda will facilitate a virtual pebble poem workshop for Climate Reality Leaders using the teaching module developed by renowned Filipino poet Dr. Marjorie Evasco.

These virtual workshops will focus on writing short-but-compelling poems about humanity’s relationship with places defined as shared bioregions of our earth.

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Seasoned poets, including prolific African activist and writer Nnimmo Bassey, will serve as mentors during these workshops.  

Poems written during the workshops will be featured in an exhibit on the sidelines of COP27 in Egypt and simultaneously projected on different sites in the Philippines, Canada, and Africa. They will also be exhibited online on When Is Now’s digital space.

Murals in Africa, Canada, and the Philippines

To kick off this exciting and meaningful collaboration, local artists from Africa, Canada, and the Philippines were commissioned to create murals showcasing lines from poems showcased on When Is Now’s digital space.

The mural in South Africa (below) is located on the corners of Robert and Empress streets in Kensington, Johannesburg and was created by Dionne McDonald. 

People painting a mural on a building


The central element is the dandelion, which are common grassland forbs native to Europe and Asia, but are found on every continent except Antarctica. Despite the fact that they are a non-native species, they are still beneficial even outside of their native range. This is a great symbol for cross-border collaboration. The image speaks to the fragility of life and points out the power we yield as it is in our hands, especially in the context of the climate crisis.

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In the Philippines, murals were launched in Iloilo City, Iloilo, and in Isabela City, Basilan.

The mural located at the Marymart Center-Maryville in Delgado Street, Iloilo City (below) was created by Artivism Iloilo, a collective of artists, social innovators, and unconventional movers working to bring engaging collaborative art to the heart of communities and unlikely locations.

collage of murals in a building

 

Explaining the creative inspiration behind the mural, Kristine Buenavista of Artivism Iloilo said, “The sprout represents our dream–of nourishment, enrichment, and sustenance through the growth and reach of this seed, this consciousness. We used ‘kintsugi’ or golden repair to highlight our yearning for ecological healing.” 

In the lead-up to COP27, Poets for Climate shall explore partnerships with more local artists to produce not just murals but other forms of artistic expression communicating the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis. 

Isabela City mural:
People in front of mural


Ready to take the next step? Become a Climate Reality Leader at one of our in-person or virtual trainings to get involved with the branch office in your country or region. Sign up now to be the first to know when registration for our next training event begins