Two poets and climate activists, Aka Niviana from Greenland, and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands, teamed up to write and perform the poem Rise in the fjords and glaciers of Greenland, with the help of glaciologist Jason Box who travels to Greenland every year to take measurements of how fast the ice is melting there. Greenland loses 300 billion tons of ice per year, and as a result, Pacific islands including the Marshall Islands are disappearing under the sea.
“This science is uncontroversial. But science alone can’t make change, because it appeals only to the hemisphere of the brain that values logic and reason. We’re also creatures of emotion, intuition, spark – which is perhaps why we should mount more poetry expeditions, put more musicians on dying reefs, make sure that novelists can feel the licking heat of wildfire.”
Excerpt from Rise by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Aka Niviana
The very same beasts
That now decide
Who should live
And who should die …
We demand that the world see beyond
SUVs, ACs, their pre-package convenience
Their oil-slicked dreams, beyond the belief
That tomorrow will never happen
And yet there’s a generosity to their witness – a recognition that whoever started the trouble, we’re now in it together.
Let me bring my home to yours
Let’s watch as Miami, New York,
Shanghai, Amsterdam, London
Rio de Janeiro and Osaka
Try to breathe underwater …
None of us is immune.
Life in all forms demands
The same respect we all give to money …
So each and every one of us
Has to decide