I was a travel writer. I still am, sort of, but a couple years ago I decided to hang up the shoes removed so many times at airport security and switch directions. There were a few reasons for this. One is that flying is so incredibly, amazingly awful for the earth (not that I won’t ever fly again but flying from Toronto to Detroit??? Ouch!!!!) The second is that I wanted to focus on my first loves: poetry and fiction. So, on this year’s Blog Action Day, although I’ve got lots to say about the upcoming meeting in Copenhagen, and in particular the deeply tragic ambivalence of our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, I thought I’d write a poem… because even in this techno-poppy, distracted day and age, poetry remains the deepest verbalization of our collective conscience.

How Long?

How many years, seasons
cold, day
after day, snow

stuck to sweating windows, sun
spread on the wild
fields, will this

last? Our rambling
conversations, accentuated
by ideas, flashing

damp with meanings, veiling
the troubled

earth. None of us can
truly see, not
from the windows

of our adventurous
cars, nor even, in our
un-spooling, anxious

dreams. I can’t hear
your voice, each word
a bandage

over reality. Instead, I ask
the birds, balanced
on hot

updrafts, searching
for their nesting
grounds, the white bear

spiraling to dark
bottom, the drifting
hunter, the drowned

fisherman, the dead,
the dead,
how long?

– Lauren Carter

I am a poet and writer working in the small city of Orillia, Ontario, Canada (about 125 kilometres north of Toronto). I write local travel stories for Edible Toronto but am currently focusing most of my creative energies on a novel set on the tipping point of fossil fuel depletion (well, a future tipping point as some would argue that we are already there) and a second collection of poetry dealing with climate change in a personal and historical perspective.

Read other people’s climate change posts at www.blogactionday.org