(Meant to be read in the voice of a child) Grandma says, that she grew up in the water She says that she lived on the edge of a place called Myrtle Beach That she could drive 15 minutes and then jump into the sea
She says- that the smell of sea salt and seagrass is the smell of home And that she can still hear the sounds of crashing waves on an empty beach She says that the best feeling was sinking under a wave and watching the crisp clear current pull the water over her--
I told her that I went to a beach too! Momma took me back to where she used to live To get to the beach we had to cross two bigggg rivers Grandma said that one of those was a creek when she was my age. That men dug the other-- by hand a long time ago 90 feet across But they are much bigger now!
I told Grandma that when I got to the beach, there were a bunch of buildings, right there in the water I said it was silly of people to leave buildings in the water like that.
I asked-- if we tried to keep those buildings out of the water And she said no...
I asked-- if we knew they were gonna get so wet Grandma said-- that we knew since the 1950’s She told me about a scientist named Edward Teller Who gave a big speech to the important people He predicted the future in 1959 And told them the ice was going to melt.
I asked why we let it melt... and then grandma got real quiet...
...I’ve-- seen pictures of the ice in school. --We learned about polar bears and penguins We even went to visit them in the zoo My teacher said they only live in zoos now.
We-learned-about-coral-too! We learned-- that they are animals that look kind-of like rocks -Or like plants! -Or like jellyfish! We learned that fish like to live there- Fish like the ones in NEMO! My teacher said there’s not much coral left...
I asked-- why the coral at the aquarium didn’t look all bright and colorful like the movies I asked-- why there were no Nemo’s in the aquarium I asked-- what that big ocean current was called I asked-- if sea turtles still ride in the E..ast Austra...lian current
She said that the Clown fish died when the coral was bleached -And there aren’t many sea turtles -And there is no more current -Because the waters are too warm
I asked how the water got so warm, I asked-- Who Did It! She said Everyone And I didn’t understand that
I asked grandma if she did it! She said yes-I said How
She said every time she drove her car And every time she flew on an airplane And every time she used a plastic cup She released carbon into the environment
I asked how all those things made carbon She said that carbon comes from burning things She said that we burn things to make energy
I asked if we could make good energy She said that we can We can use water, wind, and sunlight to make ~Clean~ energy
I asked if we made clean energy Grandma said that only 15% of our energy was clean
I asked how carbon made the water hot Grandma told me that when carbon goes into the air It traps heat near the earth Kind-of like a blanket And it makes the air warmer
She said that the ocean and the ocean animals try really hard to absorb the carbon, But too much carbon is bad for them
I asked why it was so bad She said that carbon was an acid ~like lemons~ And when the ocean absorbs the carbon, The ocean becomes more aaa-cidic And most fish can’t live in a-cidic water
I remember learning that plankton can’t live in acidic water either My teacher said that plankton are very important They make oxygen And they feed the fishes I even heard they used to make the water green
I told grandma about the field trip my class took to the Smithsonian There was a new shellfish exhibit The teacher said that everything in the room was extinct or endangered There were *****- and oysters- and corals
The sign said that- “these shells can’t form in acidic water” I asked the teacher if ***** and oysters and things were important She said that they were an ess...ential- Source of food for coastal communities
I asked if they were so ess...ential-- than why didn’t we protect them…
She told me that some people tried to help She said people talked about it and bought less plastic And supported sus...tan...iable companies She said that there weren’t enough of those people
I asked-- what could have protected them She said-- that poli...ticians and CEOs could have protected them She said-- that if there were laws restricting or banning fossil fuels Or carbon emissions We could have kept the ***** alive
I asked why the poli...ticians didn’t make those laws She said that the poli...ticians were good friends With the oil companies She said that if they made those laws Their friends would lose money
But that doesn’t make sense because- Grandma told me We ended up spending more money Reacting to climate change Than it would have taken To prevent climate change.
I just don’t understand so much-- It doesn’t make sense...
Grandma-- I wanna know why there’s more plastic in the ocean than fish I wanna know why we wear air masks when we go outside I wanna know why there are so many hurricanes And fires And droughts And floods I wanna know why your old house is underwater I wanna know what waves looked like without trash in them I wanna know why lady liberty is drowning I wanna know what hawaii was I wanna know why california is on fire And why Charleston doesn’t exist I wanna know why there’s no coral Or fish Or pandas Or tigers Or butterflies I wanna know why there are so many wars over food I wanna know why we’re out of water I wanna know why there are walls in the ocean I wanna know why you didn’t listen to the scientists---
I wanna know why you didn’t do anything to fix it!
I thought this was a compelling way to discuss climate change because of the emotional tie. I hopped writing this poem from the voice of a child (and more specifically the future grandchild of mine or of the reader’s) would make the reader think about how their climate impact will affect their own children and children's children. Hopefully this could cause readers who wouldn’t normally be concerned with climate change to empathize with the writing. Using the voice of a child also helped me to tie in so many different topics (because children are so scatterbrained). I hope this is able to reach a larger demographic than the typical climate change essay or journal. (ps. I based this off of 50 years in the future just for reference to accuracy).