Celebrating World Environment Day one day early, plus poet/activist Jordan Sanchez rocks World Environment Day with her poetry. In Climate Culture it’s Climate Speaks, an initiative of The Climate Museum.
Celebrating World Environment Day a Day Early, Poet Jordan Sanchez Rocks World Environment Day, In Climate Culture it’s Climate Speaks and The Climate Museum
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
June has no fewer than 12 international days dedicated to the climate and the environment. We missed World Reef Day on June 1, but we won’t miss telling you that Tomorrow, June 5th is World Environment Day.
World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Convention on the Human Environment. Out of that conference came the Stockholm Declaration, 26 principles concerning the environment and human development. Sixteen of the 26 principles explicitly relate to the environment, and the top 5 principles form the intersection between human rights and environmental justice:
- Human rights must be asserted, apartheid and colonialism condemned
- Natural resources must be safeguarded
- The Earth’s capacity to produce renewable resources must be maintained
- Wildlife must be safeguarded and
- Non-renewable resources must be shared and not exhausted.
One of the most striking concepts born of the conference was the recognition that alleviating poverty is one way to protect the environment. In fact, it was then Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi who first spoke on an international stage about the connection between ecological management and poverty alleviation. The second most striking concept was the establishment of World Environment Day.
Since 1974, its celebration has been hosted in different countries around the world, each with a unique theme. This year, Pakistan plays host, and this year’s theme is “Generation Restoration.”
There’s even a World Environment Day Anthem which was penned by Abhay Kumar, aka Abhay K. We won’t ruin it here by trying to recite it, but you can enjoy the poem for yourself by surfing on over to TheClimate.org/episodes. Here is the poem
World Environment Day Anthem:
Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and all the oceans
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
different cultures, beliefs and ways
we are humans, the earth is our home
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag.
DEEPER DIVE: World Environment Day, UNEP, Poet Abhay K, UN Conference on Human Environment, Wikipedia
POET AND ACTIVIST JORDAN SANCHEZ ROCKS WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Speaking of World Environment Day anthems, have you heard about this kick-ass poet, a 19-year old female Harvard student who’s been asked to create an evocative poem for WED 2021?
(Oh you mean youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman?)
Yeah, I can definitely see why you’d say that, but she’s not 19… so no. It’s Jordan Sanchez. I mean, Who knew Harvard produced TWO strong, women of color poets in succession?
Jordan Sanchez, born and raised in the Bronx of parents of Puerto Rican, Congolese and Togolese descent, is currently studying physics at Harvard. She first gained prominence as a poet back in 2019, when her poem, “Climate Denial” made her a finalist at Climate Speaks, a youth arts program about the climate crisis. As a result, Sanchez was asked by The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to write a poem for World Environment Day.
As a Black and Hispanic woman, Sanchez is especially concerned about environmental justice. She has seen how people of colour are disproportionately affected by the impact of climate change, often because they live in poorer areas. She says, “We are often the first hit by disaster and the last saved,” From her own lived experience came “Recreate. Reimagine. Restore!”
Sanchez says she would like to see her World Environment Day poem inspire action, so we can leave the world better than we found it.
“I want people to understand the situation we’re in is serious, but there’s always something we can do, we have to remain positive and we have to act.”
For a full serving of Jordan Sanchez’s spoken-word piece, “Recreate. Reimagine. Restore!” visit us at TheClimate.org/episodes and click on the link in the Deeper Dive section of this story.
DEEPER DIVE: UNEP, World Environment Day, Climate Speaks ,YouTube
CLIMATE CULTURE: CLIMATE SPEAKS
We just talked about an acclaimed alum from the Climate Speaks program. But is there more to know other than it’s a “Youth arts program about the climate crisis?”
Yes. Yes there is. Climate Speaks was born out of the notion that the climate affects everything, especially the world’s youth who will exist longer than any generation currently living in this new era of climate change. And in the words on its website, Climate Speaks “has seen the hunger youth have for creative ways of engaging with climate action.”
If we’ve learned nothing from the various youth groups we’ve highlighted here on The Climate Daily, and from the great Greta Thunberg herself, it’s that youth voices cut through the heavy fog of adult life and cultural consciousness that shrouds so many people into inaction.
It’s precisely that knifing ability of youth voices to snap adults into action and to inspire us that The Climate Museum gave birth to Climate Speaks. The inaugural event occurred in 2019. It was repeated with greater success in 2020, despite the pandemic. Video of the 2020 performances of the 16 finalists is must-see screening. Surf on over to TheClimate.org/episodes for a link to it in our Deeper Dive section of the transcript for this story.
DEEPER DIVE: ClimateSpeaks, 2020 Performances, Night One, 2020 Performances, Night Two
THE CLIMATE MUSEUM
So wait, there’s already a museum dedicated to the climate crisis?
I’m saying the climate museum in Manhattan is the first US museum dedicated to the climate crisis.
But what took so long? It’s such a brilliant idea. Touted as a visionary museum designed to build community around climate education solutions, it inspires learning, dialog and action while providing powerful exhibition experiences and a range of interdisciplinary programs for all ages.
The concept is simple and brilliant. Building on the popularity and trust held by museums, The Climate Museum brings people together to learn about solutions and join the fight for a brighter future, providing multiple pathways into civic engagement.
The idea was conceived in 2012 by Miranda Massie, a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy. For her, she said,“It was a question of, What’s missing?” She knew of climate-policy organizations and academic centers, like Columbia University’s Earth Institute, but nothing that she knew of for the broader public. “If we have a museum for skyscrapers, mathematics, Himalayan art, food and drink, and the First Amendment, then we absolutely should have a museum of climate in the United States,” she said. In 2014, Massie founded the Climate Museum Launch Project and the museum was incorporated in 2015. One board member quipped it’s “a museum of unnatural history.”
America’s Climate Museum is housed at the Parsons School of Design, and—for now— consists only of the gallery on the corner of 13th Street and Fifth Avenue. It currently has a five-year NY state charter. On the one hand, such a unique concept just has GOT to be renewed. On the other hand, ya better go see it, just in case it’s not.
DEEPER DIVE: The Climate Museum, NYT, New Yorker, The Atlantic