A reader has submitted this letter in ‘prose poem form’ to describe the current climate crisis:
It’s a new phenomenon — not heard of in our time. A mindless monster sidles over the landscape. Simmering cloud hangs like a shroud, stifling, suffocating. And it seems to be getting hotter. Wildfires: townsfolk flee their homes; livestock race in terror into the burning forest. What love of summer when you can’t breathe?
Did we not believe the scientists? They told us this would happen during our time — with the air getting hotter and the wind blowing backwards. It’s a cruel event, a recurring pattern: shellfish rot on low tide, salmon stop spawning, cornfields turn to dust, fruit shrivels on the vine, drought, and paycheques won’t buy a cabbage.
We’ve called out for leaders. But it seems they’re preoccupied with pandemics, insurrections and crises of addiction. In the meantime, someone said it’s too late anyway. We watch, we wait — dreading the return of the beast. And, with it, famine and the grid again crashing.
The outlook is dismal: more fiery horizons to come, as we stoke old habits we can’t seem to break.
Author’s note. One day the television announcer was using a new weather descriptor. To us it was a new phenomenon: a heat capsule camped out over half of North America, while the rest of the continent suffered under cold, floods, tornadoes. And it stayed like that, all summer. The world had gone topsy-turvy. And the outlook is for more.