The Green Futures Conference featured moving poems connected to the current climate crisis and the crucial importance of reversing the damage.
To mark the G7 and the University of Exeter’s Green Futures Conference days which took place on the 11 and 12 June, contributors across the university community were invited to write and suggest poems inspired by the link between the climate crisis and human health.
Writing from established poets including Benjamin Zephaniah, Fleur Adcock and Roger Robinson were included in the green anthology alongside poems written by people at the University of Exeter and the Met Office.
They testify to the Green Futures mission to forge exciting collaborations using poetry to announce key environmental change and health messages.
Sarah Campbell, Associate Director for Arts and Culture at the University of Exeter said: “Powerful poetry connects disciplines, research, communities, and emotions in diverse and challenging ways. It provokes questions, motivates positive change, and reveals what is most valuable.
“In a time where we face a serious threat to our planet, these poems create hope using words to attempt to halt and heal a fast escalating climate emergency. A massive thank you to those who wrote or suggested a poem.”
Dr Sally Flint, poet, editor, and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter’s Department of English said: “After working with climate scientists and medical experts on creative writing projects for several years, it’s inspiring now to be part of a unique interdisciplinary team united in the belief poetry can aid understanding of climate facts, findings and predictions in innovative and accessible ways.
“The Green Futures project shined a light on how poetry can play an important part in motivating people to save and restore the planet.”
Cecilia Mañosa Nyblon, Education and Skills Partnership Development Manager (IIB) at the University of Exeter said: “The time to act is now. Driven by hope for creating a green future at G7 and COP26 and inspired by the research, education and innovation at our institution and the Met Office. We have joined the forces of science, health and poetry to harness this historic moment to help catalyse new ways of collaborating to drive positive change.
“We are grateful to the poets for the power of their words and to everyone who worked together to realise what we hope will be the start of other ambitious initiatives.”
Prof Ian Fussell, Associate Dean for Education at the College of Medicine and Health said: “The College of Medicine and Health has been leading on some exciting interdisciplinary initiatives to increase our understanding and influence positive action on planetary health over the past few years.
“We have been reflecting these changes in our curriculum at an undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as in some of our continuing professional development courses aimed at learners both home and abroad.
“The G7 summit provided a historic platform to raise our ambition and urgency to act. This poetry selection is a testament of how science, health and creativity can unite together to inspire us to have the courage to face the facts and find solutions to the planetary health emergency.”
Live streams of both day one and day two of the conference and the poems are available below.