Friday, January 18, 2019


Recently, I came across these two poets from opposite ends of the earth, who collaborated, then got together on a melting iceberg in Greenland to present a poem with an urgent environmental message.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, "sister of ocean and sand", travelled from the Marshall Islands in Micronesia to meet the Inuk poet, Aka Niviana, "sister of ice and snow", in Greenland's capital city of Nuuk. Niviana was moved by the expanse and sheer beauty of the northern landscape, and shocked to see how fast the iceberg is melting.

The message in their poem paints a stark and urgent picture, as seen through the clear eyes of young women whose homelands are being drastically impacted by climate change. An excerpt:

Let me show you
airports underwater
bulldozed reefs, blasted sands
and plans to build new atolls
forcing land
from an ancient, rising sea

This breathtaking video is the vision of Dan Lin, director of the film Rise, who sees it as a story of climate change, injustice to indigenous people, and resilience.

I am fascinated by their presentation, impacted by the power of their message, and thought you might like to meet them. We have to look to the young to get us out of this mess. They haven't sold their souls to corporations and big money interests. They  clearly see the world we are handing to them. I am amazed at their restraint. 

Dan Lin / Grist

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors


  1. Wow! So happy to see this again. So timely--never more timely. And so beautiful. This coming together o hot and cold, sea and ice, rock and shell, has tears in my eyes. How can I do nothing? Let's at the very least send out this poem. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. Yes, we do have to look to the young to get us out of this mess! What moving and powerful messages in both poem! Thank you for sharing these, Sherry.

  3. This week Tofino marched in support of First Nations who oppose the pipeline. It felt very good to march. The elders told us "Danger is coming." It feels late in the game for changes that should have been made 40 years ago, but all we can do is try. Locally we are trying to save trees, which are being felled at an alarming rate. Sigh. Yes, I love this video, and these young women. A warning, as the icepack and tundra melt away..........

  4. What a wonderful meeting of cultures, mythology and two inspirational young women, and a refreshing response to the effects of climate change. Thank you for the link, Sherry.


  5. Amazing, brilliant, beautiful, powerful, moving ... my adjectives could go on and on. As you say, Sherry, it is 'late in the game' indeed for change, and in these women's voices I hear the edge of despair, underlying the defiant call to action. Yes, hopefully the young will manage better than we did – and a whole lot faster – but we must all continue to strive.

  6. We do need to strive, as hard as we can, wherever we are - it takes all of us to make a change. Glad you enjoyed it, Rosemary!

  7. "colonizing monsters" they are! Oh, I had goosebumps. I am sure more will "Rise" from the younger generations and voice against all the atrocities committed against the planet. Thank you so much for this amazing post Sherry.

  8. Sumana, today the women's march is on, all over North America. Many young among them, including the Parkland gun control activists. I love the words "colonizing monsters". Here, this past week, First Nations and we who support them rallied to oppose the colonial domination which is still continuing today, as governments back corporate interests who want to push a fracking pipeline right through the small amount of territory they have left. Sigh. No end to it.

  9. This is so powerful and impactful, Sherry. Despite the soul crushing magnitude of this environmental life altering/ending crisis, it is a glorious thing to witness, when people join together in a common cause and speak their truth with clarity and with passion. What these two poets have done (and are doing) it so important ... and gives cause to hope that the message will get louder and louder, so that it cannot be ignored any longer. My thanks to both of them - and to you, Sherry, for bringing their activism and their words to my attention.

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  11. Thank you, Sherry, for this moving video.


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