COP15 Arts

Teeter Totter

The following is a poem I wrote on December 20, inspired by a youth who used the see-saw metaphor in a side event with Yvo de Boer:

The plank is of a long, strong wood

With edges round for measures good

Small steady steps the toddler walks

While politicians stall the talks

Three fifty steps the child takes

He still is safe despite mistakes

But stands around the tipping point

The world is lacking efforts joint

Teeter toddler on a see-saw

Looks around his world with awe

He won’t see the world we know

His children won’t make balls of snow

Nor will they shriek with sounds of glee

At the base of a mature sequoia tree

The child takes a few more steps

Three eighty now the child preps

He braces now the plank just tips

Foot raised mid-air he nearly trips

He’s left his parent’s binding arms

His now siblings cry in alarm

Loud voices raised the leaders hear

The messages we chant are clear

Still balancing one foot in the air

Do leaders have the will to care?

And then to act in united haste

I fear our votes have been misplaced

Footing down, he sheds his tears

He’s heading down towards his fears

Urgent action is his need

He wishes leaders would succeed

In finding words that all endorsed

With rules and visions well enforced

His parent’s arms bind him once more

And guide him to his place before

Before he made those last few choices

Now that he’s safe his world rejoices

So that is all we really need

Decisions made in spite of greed

Where different voices will unite

Survival after all’s a right

Society is young and yet

It’s frailty we can’t forget

For we’re not all that we affect

And if we stall, we’ll all regret

Now is the time for us to act

We need a more effective pact

So let’s unite the world again

And ‘seal the deal’ in 2010.




The following is a song that was emailed out to all of us to bear in mind over the few days following the close of the conference:

Can you feel the heat tonight

the global warming comes

it won’t end until everyone is dead

but we’ll fight until then

there’s a calm surrender

to the end of cop

when the heat of the wishing crowd

can’t be made to stop

the speakers and the writers

the blocking annex 1

they get their act together finally

they do what must be done

and can you feel the love tonight

it is where we are

it’s enough to make rich and poor alike

believe the very best


Here is  poem sent out by Deepa Gupta, a youth leader, in reflection of the conference.

The morning that followed

Our message was echoed.

A failure! A failure!

My heart in despair.

The science lost, funding tossed,

No commitment in sight.

A stench of injustice,

The result: A failed plight.

“What more did you expect?”

Accusing voices chimed,

“Your efforts are a waste

Of carbon, cash and time”.

Is it a failure?

Were we mistaken?

How will we remember


How will we remember


I will remember the:

Forming of three fifty

In hundreds of states.

The Hundred thousand

Who marched till late.

Millions worldwide that stood,

And more that signed

In protest for the rights

For all Human Kind.

I will remember the:

Largest mobilisation

In world’s history.

Working in unity.

Despite culture or country.

Rising above divisions

In the “social order”;

Be religion, gender

Or a political border.

I will remember the:

Youth in the negotiations

Who brought heart and tears.

A champion for the voices,

The leaders needed to hear.

The Indigenous people

In the justice fight,

For our Mother’s Land to

Which we have equal right.

I will remember the:

Largest gathering

Of Heads in one room.

Of countries pleading,

To save them from doom.

Prayer to protect nations.

Have you seen such heart?

In a Global affair, it

Is a hopeful start.

But a start is all it is.

Do not ignore the Truth.

Two degrees is death to
Africa, the islands,

And our generation.

In our success there still

Remains a challenge,

A long way to go, it

Needs our dedication


It will take:

One goal.

Seven continents.

A hundred paths.

Thousands of leaders.

Millions of voices and

Billions of hearts.

To arrive at our


Many may call this vision naive.

But perhaps naivety is all we have?

As long as there is love in the world,

We are on the right track.
Where there is love,

There is hope.

Where there is hope,

There is inspiration.

Where there is inspiration,

There is change.

And if there is change,

We can stop climate change.


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