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Youth Voices, Unfiltered


Scroll through to see young people's take on the global climate emergency, and the work that they are doing to fight against climate change.
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CLIMATURITY by Ben Michaels

CLIMATURITY by Ben Michaels

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Me, an awakening civilisation

And my grandfather, on his tablet,

I initiate the conversation. What do you think about the climate crisis?

We look at selfies of activists frightened and frustrated,

Anger and injustice written across their faces,

In a world which seems to move inexorably towards mass extinction.

Documentaries show the strong ice networks melting

Polar bears looking at us, hurt, questioning

Our behaviour in busily wrapping Sequoia in silver foil

To protect from the intensifying fire –

Which will only get more as the population explodes.

A millennium slowing to a second.

The activists defiantly hold their signs, We are the revolution!

They/I are the solution.

So, I’m finding a way to engage with this reality

To stop these deranged days from overwhelming me.

My technology, my family, my environment.

I value 2021 in non-fungible tokens.

It’s bizarre, in a person’s timeline the climate issue can be just an extra –

My grandfather’s London smog which had to be seen to be believed is a reason

To be skeptical of today’s invisibly clear science.

The fashions flourish like a comb through white hair.

Eyes on the eyes of a generation, experience, stare.

I challenge them, I love them.

I’m learning.

What is self-evident for me is for another an opinion,

That this is an argument I have to win,

Because if we’re not equal then the environment is disturbed, unhealthy.

The relationship is in pain.

Yes, it’s been screaming in vain!

Yet, however scared or angry or black

Even as the globe goes dark, the cities of the world respond with emotion.

The light streaming through the darkness is a selfie.

So, hold their gaze – and we will amaze ourselves.


About the Author

Ben Michaels graduated in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Oxford and is now working as a writer in the UK. He explores contemporary issues through lived experiences - and this poem engages with some of the generational dynamics of the climate crisis.

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Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth supports all young people and their diversity in exercising their right to freedom of expression. Reach Not Preach platform serves as a safe space for all young people to share their take on the topic of climate change. The views expressed in the Reach Not Preach platform are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and the United Nations.

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