Climate Change Poem: No One Left to Hear Me

Pastor Martin Neimoller (1892-1984)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller

famously wrote these lines about the rise of the Nazis that I assume inspired the poem below by one of my favorite poets Anonymous.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. 

Anonymous (1949 – 2006)
When the ozone hole was reported to be getting larger year by year
I remained silent because I thought the ozone hole had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV
When the Arctic Sea ice was reported to be melting more and more each

summer, year after year
I remained silent because I thought the Artic Sea ice melt had nothing
to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the Maldives and Tonga and other low-lying islands around the world were beginning to be in danger of being flooded and swamped I remained silent because I thought the gradual disappearance of these island nations had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When glaciers around the world, from Alaska to Switzerland to the
Himalayas were reported to be shrinking year by year
I remained silent because I thought the gradual receding of these
glaciers had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the parts per million levels of CO2 were reported to be getting
larger decade by decade, far exceeding the 350 ppm level that was said
to be where we needed to be,
I remained silent because I thought the growing CO2 ppm levels had
nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the canaries in the coal mines of climate change were reported to
be falling silent decade by decade, I remained silent because I
thought the death of the canaries in the coal mines had nothing to do
with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

Eventually there was no one left on Earth except me, but I still
remained silent 
because I thought that it would be useless to speak

out about how humankind was destroying our natural home — the Earth
— because there was no one left to hear me.

And I was right.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Poetry, Economic Conflict, Environmental Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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