Out There

[map 4 - Out There - 'Mantra on Kent', Sydney, Australia]

[map 4 – Out There – ‘Mantra on Kent’, Sydney, Australia]

Out There

The planet, as we know it,

brother, there is absolutely

no doubt about it – Australia –

this country, as we know it,

out there, we’re:

 

flowing and salting

distributing, phenologising

and vanishing

out there

 

ten times faster

ten times two

by two by two

moving to the edge

the edge

 

Wish-list for saving the planet

a small little story

is a magpie story

the space between

fact and feeling is

a time-bomb

the reef is a canary in

a Whitehaven coal mine

2 degrees will

end the coral and

the sixth extinction

will finish us all

if you can spell

The Age of Man

tell me then:

what is the worth of

the sound of a bird

when the bird

no longer exists?

 

Tony Birch

 

We of the Western World

We of the western world

Indeed have the power

To preserve what was once held

But have only acted in the closing hour.

 

We stand protected in our bubble,

With our vast wealth

Protecting us from any trouble,

Wasting what can keep our earth in health.

 

How could it take so long to detect?

Why do we show no sorrow?

We know how to profit but not how to protect

The people of tomorrow.

 

Mo Konteh

Hello from Romain-Rolland School, Germany

You can find Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium (RoRo) in the northern part of Berlin (Germany) which used to be the French district before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its European profile is reflected by the variety of language classes offered to the students who learn English and French as their first and second languages. Additionally Spanish, Chinese or Latin classes can be attended. The second core theme is Sciences. At a young age, students learn how to experiment by working on special projects in cooperation with Berlin universities and national education foundations. The school community appreciates social commitment, gives the students a chance to develop their creative skills and teaches them social competences based on tolerance, peace, and considerateness.

RoRo had its first encounter with the Weather Stations project at the ilb International Literature Festival Berlin 2014 when a group of students attended a reading by Mirko Bonné from Hamburg (Germany) and Tony Birch from Australia. The students are in the age of 17 years.

Students from RoRo say:

“I really like the idea of connecting the aspect of climate change with literature so that there is an incentive even to people who might not be interested in this topic. I think in the project we will get to know a bit more about climate change from different perspectives; from the authors and from the other participants. I hope that we will learn how to express topics like climate change through literary texts. I am looking forward to getting more information when Mirko Bonné visits us.”

“I think that climate change does influence all of our lives and that we, as the young generation, should try to make the world a better place. It is not easy to draw attention to this subject, because everyone knows about climate change and its consequences. The problem is that just a few people help to prevent it. That is where the Weather Stations project comes in. They want to reach more and more people, the elders and the youth, and want them to know that with a little help from anyone, things can be changed. By using poems, short stories and promoting our school, we get a chance to take part in it.”

“I think the Weather Stations project will be a great project to learn about climate change and nature in a different way than just by watching TV or reading newspaper articles. I think it is great that we will get to know authors from different parts of the world.”

“I expect to learn more about the problems of climate change and the issues it causes around the world. I am particularly interested in the different opinions of different cultures toward that topic. In America, for example, I have even heard people say that climate change is not a real thing, and just made up by the media or environmental activists. I am excited to discuss these issues in class and with authors from all around the world who are interested in the same thing.”

Late Summer Afternoon – Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule

Berlin, 20 September 2014

Berlin, 20 September 2014

LATE SUMMER AFTERNOON

I look up.
The ocean that we call sky is clear.
The burning light of the sun hurts my eyes.
Instinctively I turn my head in another direction.
What I see is the reflecting after-glow on the other side of the big mirror.
My brain tells me it’s a good day,
but it’s been a cold day.
The sun wants to tell me something,
now that I have been thinking about her.
But she doesn’t like what I have been thinking,
so she goes and her place takes a red and orange cloud.
This beautiful blue ocean turned into a dark unclear cover.
All that happened within a few minutes.

Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule, Berlin

The Boat Becomes a Heart

[map 1: image]

[map 1 – Hanging Rock, Victoria, Australia]

In the time of the bay the feet of the boats left the earth and lay and rested on stone and earth and waited to be called to the water – they were called – and drifted along rivers born in the mountains and flowing with life. They navigated the web of creeks surrounding the bay and met where the mouth of the ancient river announced its arrival to the bay. In the time before the bay, all boats were trees. The boats stood end on end, settling into earth and touching sky. The boats grew in the mountains and lined the river valleys. They rounded their bodies and carried water. They gave care with strength. When it was time for new life, the boats provided the hollows for newborn and the cribs for nests. And when it was time for death they cocooned the spirit in sanctuary and journeyed the spirit home. In the time of the humans the boats have worked for us, crossing the waters, providing life. When the ghosts first came they arrived in boats that once were trees that had always been boats, listening to be called and shaped. When the men and women came in iron chains cutting skin and bone, with children dying in the arms of mothers, they came in boats groaning with sadness and anger. And when the boats wept and sent themselves to the bottom of the sea, they took the ghosts, the men and women and the babies with them. They are there, ready for us, resting in coffins that were trees. Today, when the desperate come to us for sanctuary, they do not come in boats made of iron and machine. They come in boats of wood collapsing under the weight of life, in boats that once were wood in the forests of Europe, in the jungles of Africa, and the plains of North America. The boats speak and have a question for us. They want to know – are we truly human? Or something less than we claim to be. And are we ready to lift the desperate from the water and carry them to safety? Or will we send them away? The boats remind us they were here before us. And when we are gone they will be here, standing end on end, reaching for the sky and speaking with the earth.

Tony Birch