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One Last Chance: Poetry by leading climate scientists and health professionals published ahead of COP 26 on display at Exeter Library

Posted on 04 Nov 2021

Map of the poetry trailLeading health professionals and climate scientists are using poetry to warn of the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis and there is “one chance left” to act in the lead up to, during, and after COP26.

The poems, which celebrate the natural world, are available to view in locations across Exeter including Exeter Library until 30th November. Anyone can take part in One Chance Left by following the flags on the poetry trail, by collecting a postcard from Exeter Library or downloading a copy on phones from Green Futures website. 

The poems were created following creative writing workshops by those working on the front line of the climate crisis and health care – health researchers, geologists, climate scientists, mathematicians, sustainability researchers, medical experts, and engineers.

The experts want to illustrate the urgent changes needed to tackle the climate crisis,and show how poetry can be a powerful and transformative tool to spread the word about damage to the environment. 

Met Office and University of Exeter climate scientist Professor Peter Stott said: “The world now finds itself in serious trouble, needing to make changes fast if we’re going to save our habitable planet before it’s too late…If the will is there to build a cleaner, healthier home on earth, the ways and means exist for us to do so.” 

One poem, “Sudden Heat”, describes how “trees gasp as I breathe in. Ground bakes – my body and blood drawn towards the arteries of the earth. 

Once there were fish” describes boats lying “tethered on parched earth, hulls swollen, paint peeling like the blistered skins of fishermen on the run across a sudden desert” 

The poems have been collated into an eBook, One Chance Left, which is available to read through the digital library. It is free for anyone to join the library and access this collection. In addition to the One Chance Left eBook, there is also a Climate Change reading list on the Libby app, with more opportunities to learn more and take action on climate change.  

Budding writers with an interest in the natural world can also access a creative writing masterclass on the topic of nature and uncertainty, presented by nature writer Zakiya McKenzie. The class is a part of What if YOU Spoke, a programme of free creative writing masterclasses and competitions available at librariesevolve.org.uk 

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