State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Create Your Own Earth Day Poem With ‘Earth Stanzas’

earth stanzas logoThe Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University have launched Earth Stanzas, an interactive poetry project in honor of Earth Day. Earth Stanzas draws on the inspiration of eight poets who engage the beauty, depth, and interconnectedness of the Earth, and invites readers to interact with the poems and find their own poetic voice.

Each model poem and its prompt invites participants to reflect on their relationship to the Earth and to share their voice in an online gallery. Another feature of the project invites readers to use the Wick Poetry Center’s web-based app to create their own digital “erasure” poems, in which the artist takes a pre-existing text and turns it into a poem by erasing or blacking out some of the words. Earth Stanzas’ pool of primary texts includes excerpts from an International Panel on Climate Change report, historical documents such as the Haudenosaunee Address to the Western World, and the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, celebrated in 1970 when 20 million Americans gathered across the country to raise awareness about the growing destruction of our planet. Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Fifty years later, as these protections are threatened, we again must sound the alarm for dynamic action to be taken. Let us remember…

Remember the earth whose skin you are:

red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth

brown earth, we are earth.

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their

tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,

listen to them. They are alive poems.

 — Joy Harjo, “Remember”

Please join the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) along with partners Poets for ScienceThe Academy of American PoetsThe Climate MuseumEarth Day Network, and many others giving voice to the Earth.

CEE’s Earth Day 2020 page also highlights Earth Day events around the web, plus recent work of CEE fellows  and upcoming events with CEE director Karenna Gore. You can also enjoy reflections from the Religions for the Earth Conference, which inspired the creation of the Center for Earth Ethics on Earth Day 2015.

The Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary is a forum for education, public discourse and movement building that draws on faith and wisdom traditions to address our ecological crisis and its root causes at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The center is an affiliate of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

The Wick Poetry Center, in Kent State University’s College of Arts & Sciences, is home to the award-winning Traveling Stanzas project, and is one of the premier university poetry centers in the country. It is a national leader for the range, quality, and innovative outreach in the community.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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3 years ago

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.