Find the perfect prose to inspire environmental action with this collection of climate change and sustainability poems.
With the news that 2023 was the hottest year on record, and the worrying prediction that 2024 could be even hotter, it’s never been more important to spread the word about climate change and the importance of taking climate action.
When it comes to spreading the word about sustainability, I’ve put together heaps of resources to help you out. Whether you are looking for inspiring quotes about climate change, or are looking for examples of climate change speeches, TED talks on sustainability, or YouTube videos on climate change, I’ve got you covered.
However, if you are putting together a presentation, delivering a speech, or organising an event about climate change and sustainability, sometimes a poem can say a million words. So, to help you out, I’ve listed below some great poetry works about climate change.
Poems On Climate Change & Sustainability
I’ve put together 12 of what I think are the best poems on climate change and environmentalism. To help you out, I’ve included a short description and a short excerpt from each poem. Plus I have included a link under each excerpt, directing you to the full, unabridged version:
- Today’s Climate Forecast by Brian Bilston
- The Question by Theo Dorgan
- Warned by Sylvia Stults
- In Praise Of The Earth by John O’Donohue
- Letter To Noah’s Wife by Maya C. Popa
- Sonnet XVII by Craig Santos Perez
- Some Effects Of Global Warming In Lackawanna County by Jay Parini
- Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Glacier (After Wallace Stevens) by Craig Santos Perez
- Awareness Of Our Environment by Sylvia Stults
- Of Global Warming & Climate Change By Francis Duggan
- Evening by Dorianne Laux
- Sonnet For Climate Change 2 By Danny Draper
Today’s Climate Forecast by Brian Bilston
The poet Brian Bilston turns the traditional weather forecast on its head, with this sardonic look at climate action in the UK, that pokes scorn at Westminster, climate change deniers, and more.
Elsewhere, a front of chronic misinformation
will sweep in from the east,
bringing with it a band of climate change deniers
and the chance of scattered falsehoods
The Question by Theo Dorgan
The Question by Theo Dorgan is a powerful poem about climate change action and accountability.
What have you done
with what was given you,
what have you done with
the blue, beautiful world?
Warned by Slyvia Stults
Sylvia Stults writes poignantly about how we have warned about climate change and its impacts, yet we continue to harm the planet. With a look at how we can turn things around, it seeks to inspire people to take action on climate change before it’s too late.
Crystal clear our waters gleamed
Fish abundant, rivers streamed
Ocean floors sandy white
Now littered, brown, pollution’s plight
In Praise Of The Earth by John O’Donohue
John O’Donohue’s In The Praise Of The Earth is both a moving ode to the planet and a humbling apology for the acts of environmental injustice carried out daily.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Letter To Noah’s Wife by Maya C. Popa
Expressing feelings of helplessness and uncertainty around the climate crisis, Maya C. Popa poem is an ode to climate anxiety.
My children, will they exist by the time
it’s irreversible? Will they live
astonished at the thought of ice
not pulled from the mouth of a machine?
Sonnet XVII by Craig Santos Perez
Craig Santos Perez, a Pacific Islander poet, writes about love in the age of climate change in this beautiful poem about the preciousness of the earth and life upon it.
I love you without knowing how, or when, the world will end—
I love you naturally without pesticides or pills—
I love you like this because we won’t survive any other way,
except in this form in which humans and nature are kin,
Some Effects of Global Warming in Lackawanna County by Jay Parini
Jay Parini’s powerful poem looks at the impact of climate change on our seasons, and how it’s throwing nature into disarray.
The maples sweat now, out of season.
Buds pop eyes in wintry bushes
as the birds arrive, not having checked
the calendars or clocks. They scramble
in the frost for seeds, while underground
a sobbing starts in roots and tubers.
Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Glacier (After Wallace Stevens) by Craig Santos Perez
Another sustainability poem by Perez, this piece talks about becoming increasingly informed of the scientific facts about climate change, and how that can give us a better understanding of what climate change will mean to ourselves.
We do not know which to fear more,
The terror of change
Or the terror of uncertainty,
The glacier calving
Or just after.
Awareness Of Our Environment by Sylvia Stults
Highlighting the stark reality of human impact on the environment, Sylvia Stults asks us to question our impact on the planet, and to spread the word about the importance of conservation, to help save ourselves as well as nature.
Poisons and insecticides sprayed on our food,
Oceans filling with thick oil crude.
All sea life destined to a slow, awful doom.
These are the things we are to consume?
Of Global Warming And Climate Change By Francis Duggan
Pressing for urgent action on climate change, Francis Duggan’s poem urges us to act now to safeguard future generations.
The polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate
Our polluting of our natural environment not something to celebrate
To combat global warming we’ve left it a bit late
As a species we may well have sealed our own fate.
Evening by Dorianne Laux
Shining a light on the devastating impacts of climate change on the natural world, Dorianne Laux’s powerful poem focuses on what we stand to lose if we don’t act now.
We know the land
is disappearing beneath
the sea, islands swallowed
like prehistoric fish.
Sonnet For Climate Change 2 By Danny Draper
This short poem by Danny Draper looks at the devastating impacts of climate change. With all that has happened so far, Draper wonders what more needs to happen for us all to take collective action to reduce our carbon emissions.
Oceans sink heat and swell devouring coasts,
Cyclonic eyes drift still further afield,
Tidal surges are more frequent and real,
Low countries drowned, are lost with no big deal
Any more favourites I’ve missed? Do let me know in the comments below!