I had just finished reading How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything and I was on the verge of despair. We are in the midst of a climate emergency, and our carbon emissions keep increasing. We have seen widespread wildfires, extreme weather all over the world, droughts and flooding on a global scale. Alongside this we have the parallel crisis of biodiversity loss. We seem to be accelerating our progress towards our own extinction.
I talked to a climate-concerned friend who told me that in spite of all these dire warning signs, it is important not to give up hope. How true that is! I have children, and I decided to have them even though I knew the planet was in trouble. I still believe in their future. What I didn’t realise at the time I decided to start a family was the advanced state of the crisis. Politicians are not telling us the truth. Media outlets are not telling us the truth. Nature itself is telling us the truth, and the truth is we need to act now, and act fast.
As individuals, we cannot move mountains, but we still have the responsibility to do the best that we can. And when we join together we can achieve much. In fact, it is only by joining together that we can achieve anything. With this in mind, I have decided to publish an anthology of poems on the theme of the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The title will be The Anthropocene Hymnal.
Why ‘The Anthropocene Hymnal’?
‘Anthropocene’ is a relatively new term (my spell-check doesn’t even recognise it.) It was coined by scientists Eugene F. Stoermer and Paul J. Crutzen, the latter of whom popularised the term in the 1970s:
“I was at a conference where someone said something about the Holocene. I suddenly thought this was wrong. The world has changed too much. So I said: ‘No, we are in the Anthropocene.’ I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked. But it seems to have stuck.” (source: Wikipedia)
The term describes the current geological era, in which humankind is making dramatic global changes to the climate and its biological make up, which will show up in the fossil record. It has not been adopted officially, but if we don’t get a move on we could have brought this Antrhopocene Age to an end before we decide to do anything about it.
I want the book to be a ‘hymnal,’ a collection of poems or songs examining the current crisis and our role within it. When we join our voices in song, a lone voice becomes a chorus, our voices are amplified, and there is a greater chance our voices will be heard.
If you wish to submit, write a poem on any aspect of the climate crisis about which you feel strongly: biodiversity loss, loss of a particular species, the expansion of oil extraction or deforestation, it is up to you. Write a story you want the world to hear. I will consider any form of verse: what is most important is that you write your truth for others to hear.
I am sharing this post with Earthweal because it was this forum which gave me the idea of creating such an anthology in the first place. Credit where credit is due to Brendan at Oran’s Well for creating the forum and encouraging us to raise our voices in protest. I would be interested in including some of the poetry shared with Earthweal in the anthology, and would be delighted if individual Earthweal poets would contact me via email to discuss this. I will of course give credit to Earthweal in the anthology for sparking the idea which spawned its inception.
- Submissions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject line of the email should be ‘Anthropocene Hymnal Submission’
- I will be accepting submissions of poetry on the theme of the anthology as detailed in this post. I will consider previously published work provided it fits the theme. If the poem has been published previously, please give details.
- Copyright will remain with the author.
- Work may be submitted as word document, PDF, or in the body of the email text.
- Deadline for submissions is 31/03/21.
All royalties from sales will be donated to charities committed to fighting the climate and/or biodiversity crisis. I am currently exploring which would be the best charities to support, to have the biggest impact, and would welcome your suggestions.
I look forward to receiving your submissions!