Beverly Hills, Florida — 4 Comments

  1. I spent the day posting 24 poems in 24 hours, starting at midnight Eastern time. Each poem was a sonnet. Each took its cue from a news article about climate change, because I combined participation in this event with participation in Moving Planet.

    Here is the index, with live links to each poem and each source article:

    Thank you so much, everyone! — Elissa

  2. For archiving purposes, here is the text of the poems I posted on my blog over a 24-hour period, along with the source article(s) for each:

    Hour 1: “The Warming Island”
    Sources: “New atlas shows extent of climate change” (John Vidal, Guardian, Sept. 15, 2011) and “Times Atlas ‘wrong’ on Greenland ice” (Richard Black, BBC News, Sept. 19, 2011.)

    The Warming Island
    (Uunartoq Qeqertaq)

    The globe that I possess is out of date,
    With lands renamed by wars and politics,
    But now more changes come. Ice floes abate.
    For there arose, back in two-thousand-six,

    “The Warming Island,” listed now within
    the Comprehensive Atlas of the World.
    This volume has been raising quite a din.
    Throughout the Earth, new maps have been unfurled

    That show more river sections drying out:
    The Rio Grande, the Colorado, Yellow,
    Tigris, fallen to a plague of drought.
    Antarctic ice shelves break with thundered bellow.

    The Atlas from the Times depicts a wilt.
    Perhaps our new geography is silt.

    Hour 2: “Indigenous Knowledge”
    Source: “Observations of Climate Change from Indigenous Alaskans” (Staff writers, Terra Daily, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Indigenous Knowledge

    The Andreafsky River ice is thin.
    In winter it is hard to get around
    And travelers take longer to begin.
    They speak of their companions who have drowned

    When snow machines or sled dogs tumbled through
    What used to be a solid, frozen road.
    What once had linked communities like glue
    Has melted, powerless to carry load.

    The Yup’ik tell of fewer ptarmigan
    Whose flights led to subsistence hunt success.
    They say more moose and beaver here once ran,
    And salmonberries grew without distress.

    Their world dissolves, their voices breaking through,
    A cry for help within each interview.

    Hour 3: “Fish Exchange”
    Source: “Global warming brings exotic fish to British waters but at a cost” (Steven Morris, Guardian, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Fish Exchange

    The cod and haddock fisheries decline.
    Red mullet, hake, and dab glide in their place.
    Swift change is underway in ocean brine
    As southern fish propel toward northern space.

    Perhaps to fishermen, this is a boon.
    Before northeast Atlantic waters warmed,
    The catch for lemon sole had ceased in June.
    Now in September tide those fish have swarmed.

    Diversity in seafood might result.
    A push to stretch the dining public’s taste
    Might make the fishing industry exult.
    Why let this climate change all go to waste?

    Our staple foods might die, our diets fade,
    But who’s to tell what species might invade?

    Hour 4: “Local Atmosphere”
    Source: “Modeling the Local Impact of Global Climate Change” (National Science Foundation, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Local Atmosphere

    The grid official climate models use
    Are not designed to peek at hill and dale.
    Their picture’s big for people to peruse.
    But what if you could make a smaller scale

    For zooming in, to study local storms
    And microclimates otherwise ignored?
    Masao Kanamitsu tweaks the norms.
    The factors over which his mind has pored —

    Topography, and plants, and river flow —
    Give him a resolution more precise.
    A sixty-two-mile grid point shrinks, to show
    A six-mile definition. Very nice!

    From broad-brush tools of global climate change,
    His work in Texas narrows down the range.

    Hour 5: “Heating the Issue”
    Source: “More Americans believe world is warming” (Timothy Gardner, Reuters, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Heating the Issue

    Despite our legislative deep divide
    And arguments as candidates debate,
    Most U.S. citizens, on either side
    Say climate change is where they can relate.

    From wildfires to Hurricane Irene,
    From record warmth to clean-up dollars spent,
    More thoughts toward global warming tend to lean.
    Belief is up to eighty-three percent,

    Up eight percent from just a year ago.
    Some politicians claim it’s all a hoax,
    But Democrats, Republicans both show
    This issue now unites us common folks.

    The skeptics dig their heels, now deeper still,
    But they go counter to the public will.

    Hour 6: “Footprint of Opportunity”
    Source: “More Large Companies Have Climate Change Strategies ” (Robert Kropp, Social Funds, Sept. 16, 2011).

    Footprint of Opportunity

    In business models, firms seek to perform,
    To rise above competing entities.
    Their bottom line: The planet’s getting warm.
    Some corporations changed their strategies

    And have decreased the carbon that they burn.
    Those outperforming targets to reduce
    Enjoy as well a great rate of return.
    Investors like this scaling-back of juice.

    Australia, Italy, and Switzerland
    Rank high, as do the Germans and UK.
    The US, Canada, also Japan
    Have catching up to do along the way.

    The largest companies have joined this drive
    In record-setting numbers. Can they thrive?

    Hour 7: “Pressed”
    Source: “Positive mental health key to tackling rural climate change” (Aysha Fleming, tck tck tck, Sept. 15, 2011).


    A farmer’s life is often on the brink.
    The vagaries of weather rule each day,
    And whether mercury will rise or sink
    Determines how much food is stored away.

    Australia’s science agency reports
    Wine growers in that country are at risk.
    Drought, fears, economy — it’s hard to sort
    What’s true from false, and what might someday whisk

    Their livelihood away. In rural land
    One suicide a week may well occur.
    The hardships one has often grown to stand
    Can crack a soul with extra to endure

    When stresses multiply in changing clime
    And mental health diminishes with time.

    Hour 8: “Undeveloped”
    Source: “Rising seas expected to wash out key California beaches ” (Emmett Berg, Reuters, Sept. 15, 2011).


    The calm Pacific laps at Venice Beach
    And others up the California coast,
    But now those townships lie within the reach
    Of rising surf. Where once they liked to boast

    Of tourist paradise and laid-back fun,
    Authorities have entered a new space.
    They watch their economics numbers run
    And tally what erosion would erase.

    One billion could be lost in homes and roads
    In just five areas, in ninety years.
    Lost infrastructure and wildlife abodes.
    Pristine, iconic beaches long held dear.

    Eleven-hundred miles of shore will wait
    For seawalls, or for levees — or just fate.

    Hour 9: “Change Agents”
    Source: “Funding Cities’ Efforts to Beat Back the Tide of Climate Change” (David Weinberger, New Deal 2.0, Sept. 16, 2011).

    Change Agents

    As life on Earth evolved, its adaptation
    Helped decide which creatures carried on.
    Now cities take that tack, as does each nation
    Partnered in a global marathon

    To craft a framework focused on sustaining
    Ports of trade and coastal urban centers.
    To keep ahead of water levels gaining
    Calls for dialogue. Investment. Mentors.

    Preparing on this scale can overwhelm
    Municipalities of every kind.
    The UNCSD* will try to helm
    A way to fund a meeting of the minds.

    Adaptability in all things Geo:
    That will be the hope next year in Rio.

    * UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held next June in Rio de Janeiro.

    Hour 10: “A Measure of Happiness”
    Source: “Climate change tests Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness” (Florence Poblete-Enriquez, UN News and Media Radio, Sept. 16, 2011).

    A Measure of Happiness

    Hard cash no longer makes the world go ’round
    As indices of nations once implied.
    Bhutan has measured progress and has found
    That nine dimensions form a useful guide.

    They factor happiness in this array.
    Well-being, time use, culture also rank.
    But global warming threatens them today.
    A glacial lake prepares to burst its banks

    And inundate the villagers below.
    Bhutan depends on glaciers. As they melt
    The Himalayan valleys feel the blow
    Of what the warmer temperatures have dealt.

    Bhutan, which shows the world another way,
    Now works to cope with changes of today.

    Hour 11: “Dwindling Expectations”
    Source: “Arctic ice melts to second-lowest level, says study” (Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Dwindling Expectations

    U.S. and German satellites both show
    Decreases in amounts of Arctic ice.
    Two-thousand-seven marked a record low.
    Preliminary data now suffice,

    But news from Bremen says that record broke
    This month, with water patches taking hold.
    The U.S. sees a slightly lesser soak,
    But both agree the Arctic is less cold,

    With warmest temperatures the past five years.
    And though the second-lowest ice extent
    (In U.S. terms) perhaps less bleak appears,
    It still foretells a harsh predicament.

    For Arctic ice today is more dispersed,
    And thus more prone to melt and vanish first.

    Hour 12: “The Wheel of Life”
    Source: “New Report Issued by the Center for Food Safety and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation Highlights Critical Links Among Food Security, Climate Change, Human Rights, and the Economy” (Center for Food Safety, Sept. 15, 2011).

    The Wheel of Life

    No issue is an island. Climate change
    Has impacts on economies and food.
    But often, as our policies arrange,
    Connections are not fully understood

    That link our livelihoods with human rights,
    Migration, poverty, and so much more.
    To keep big-picture thinking in our sights
    Might mitigate the ravages of war.

    Root causes need our focus. Otherwise,
    The benefits from best intentions cease.
    Where economic growth is on the rise,
    We still have witnessed hunger rates increase.

    A new report now weaves these many threads
    In hopes to guide us through the times ahead.

    Hour 13: “Feedback Loop”
    Source: “Computer modelling shows release of carbon into atmosphere” (Cordis, Sept. 15, 2011).

    Feedback Loop

    Our warming climate brings with it a cost
    That extra vegetation can’t decrease,
    For locked within the planet’s permafrost
    Is CO2 that melting would release.

    The early models lessened this effect,
    But they did not account for frozen soil
    That those in higher latitudes expect.
    And though part of our flora’s mortal coil

    Includes carbon dioxide taken in,
    There’s so much carbon left to decompose
    Into the atmosphere, it would begin
    A process that the flora cannot close:

    More greenhouse gas to further complicate
    And make this warming trend accelerate.

    Hour 14: “Dueling Extremes”
    Source: “‘Snowmaggedon’? Nope. Just the Opposite” (Jessica Marshall, Discovery News, Sept. 16, 2011).

    Dueling Extremes

    The past two winters may have seemed too cold:
    The twenty-first and thirty-fourth extreme.
    But warmth extremes were also to behold,
    And those placed twelfth and fourth in that same scheme,

    Which measured, back to nineteen-forty-eight,
    The winters in the northern hemisphere.
    And though Snowpocalypse was given weight,
    The coldest means that no snow should appear.

    The North Atlantic Oscillation brought
    Cold weather as a natural affair,
    And should have made us colder, but for naught.
    The true extremes expected were not there.

    What made the news were days of ice and sleet,
    But winter’s strongest showing was its heat.

    Hour 15: “Flow and Flexibility”
    Source: “World’s Dams Unprepared for Climate Change Conditions” (Julia Pyper and ClimateWire, Scientific American, Sept. 16, 2011).

    Flow and Flexibility

    The Hoover Dam was built when water flowed,
    Was not designed for an extended drought.
    Now retrofits support diminished load.
    Thirty percent is where it’s leveled out.

    A rigid planning model starts to fail
    When change outpaces methods of design
    That draw from weather’s past degree and scale.
    What’s worse, its cost is nowhere near benign.

    The ruin of habitats, endangered loans,
    The long-extended brownouts in Nepal
    Are signs that hydropower needs to hone
    Its building strategy, consider all

    Scenarios, perhaps be multi-stage.
    To build with nature in this fluid age.

    Hour 16: “Waiting Room”
    Source: “Receding Sea Ice Chases Walruses to Alaska Coast” (Wynne Parry, LiveScience, Sept. 16, 2011).

    Waiting Room

    When twenty thousand walruses or more
    Had made their exodus from Chukchi Sea,
    They settled on a north Alaskan shore.
    Their offbeat movements caused perplexity,

    For normally they camp upon the ice
    That settles near a continental shelf.
    That shallow water offers them a slice
    Of dining habitat, which in itself

    Yields clams and snails and worms on which to feed.
    The promised ice has simply stayed away.
    On land, they face the risk of a stampede
    If startled. Noisy planes are kept at bay.

    Their mass migration patterns fluctuate
    While for their frozen home of old, they wait.

    Hour 17: “Pendulum”
    Source: “Expert says climate change caused flooding in Sindh” (M. Waqar Bhatti, International News, Sept. 18, 2011).


    For twelve months, Sindh had not a drop of rain,
    But now the Pakistani province floods,
    A vast monsoon that makes it hard to drain.
    They’re not accustomed to these streams and mud

    That drenched a region, dropping in four weeks
    What normally it gets across five years.
    The weather’s hit unprecedented peaks.
    A pattern of intensity appears,

    With frequency increased for these events.
    And though disaster workers can prepare,
    Conditions test the best of management.
    These new extremes affect how millions fare,

    Revealing what a changing climate brings:
    A pendulum that’s making wider swings.

    Hour 18: “Toast”
    Source: “Climate change improves champagne” (Ben Barnier, GlobalPost, Sept. 16, 2011).


    French vintners raise their fluted glasses high
    To celebrate a harvest rather strange.
    The best champagnes a connoisseur can buy
    Are rendered better still from climate change.

    Those grapes had once developed in the fall,
    But warmer summers speed maturity,
    With high school students answering the call
    To pick before their term begins. And oui,

    It’s been about two centuries since last
    Those golden grapes were ready on the vine
    This early. But they shouldn’t age too fast.
    More heat could turn their sweetness into brine.

    And other wines may fare less well, you know.
    It’s hotter in the region of Bordeaux.

    Hour 19: “Environmental Conservatives”
    Source: “Conservatively speaking, the climate threat is real” (Misha Schubert, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 18, 2011).

    Environmental Conservatives

    Debate on climate change is sometimes framed
    As liberal against conservative.
    That rift is not as deep as some have claimed.
    More leaders say that something’s got to give,

    Like Cameron (1) and Merkel (2), Sarkozy (3),
    And Reinfeldt (4), Rasmussen (5), and Lee Myung-bak (6),
    A bit from Abbot (7), more so from John Key (8).
    They’re looking at a race against the clock

    And all are said to be at center-right
    Of politics. And yet, they can agree
    With leftward-leaning folks, without a fight,
    That carbon must be cut. Across the sea,

    Some North Americans seem out of phase
    With cautions that their global neighbors raise.

    (1) Prime Minister, UK
    (2) Chancellor, Germany
    (3) President, French Republic
    (4) Prime Minister, Sweden
    (5) Former Prime Minister, Denmark
    (6) President, South Korea
    (7) Opposition Leader, Australia
    (8) Prime Minister, New Zealand

    Hour 20: “Buzz Kill”
    Source: “Climate change hits coffee industry” (Business Daily, Sept. 18, 2011).

    Buzz Kill

    Once, coffee was a major Kenyan crop,
    A money-maker out on the exchange.
    But last year its production faced a drop.
    In fact, within the coffee-growing range,

    Most zones are not expected to sustain
    The bean, attacked by insects and disease.
    Nairobi scientists can now explain
    That rising temperatures allow with ease

    The coffee berry borer and the thrip.
    More farmers switch their land to real estate,
    Abandoning that caffeinated sip.
    East Africa is not alone. The fate

    Of parts of South America look grim,
    Capacity for dark roast growing dim.

    Hour 21: “Green Desert”
    Source: “Climate Change Transforms Namibian Landscape” (Mark Dunphy, Irish Weather Online, Sept. 19, 2011).

    Green Desert

    Namibia, a land of sand and mud
    Is suddenly awash in verdant pools.
    For earlier this year, a mega-flood
    Transformed the landscape. River water rules,

    For even though the rains stopped months ago,
    The flow continues, now for weeks on end.
    A storm in June had dropped a field of snow
    Where heat and dust would normally extend.

    The sediment the current carries through,
    En route to its rare meeting with the sea,
    Has isotopes that could provide a clue
    To how unusual the silt might be.

    For has it traveled from its normal source?
    Or have we now a brand new watercourse?

    Hour 22: “Notes from the Underground”
    Source: “Common fungi spreading as climate changes” (Richard Gray, The Telegraph, Sept. 18, 2011).

    Notes from the Underground

    The British forests hold a mystery,
    As once restricted fungi farther spread.
    A mushroom might have joined a single tree,
    But now likes several types of wood instead.

    The jelly ear has started to expand
    Its taste past elder branches, and is found
    On twenty added plants throughout the land.
    And elsewhere, under mulch against the ground,

    The butter cap has switched from oak to beech.
    The chanterelle has moved from beech to birch.
    Fly agaric as well extends its reach.
    Does changing climate make those fungi search

    Beyond established boundaries of old?
    Their doubled growing season breaks the mold.

    Hour 23: “Depth Perception”
    Source: “Deep oceans may mask global warming” (Sarah Kellett, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sept. 19, 2011).

    Depth Perception

    If global warming energies abound,
    Then why do we still wrap ourselves in wool?
    U.S. and Aussie scientists have found
    That surface temperatures may well be cool

    Because the sea absorbs that excess heat.
    The warming cycle just appears to slow.
    A decade-long hiatus could repeat,
    But temperatures keep climbing down below.

    And if the simulations prove correct,
    Eighteen percent is the expected rise,
    When up above, a countering effect
    Appears like a La Niña in disguise.

    The ocean’s circulation is the key
    That might unlock this deeper mystery.

    Hour 24: “Climate of Invention”
    Source: “Extra, Extra: Getting a Headstart on Oktoberfest, and Kickstarting Green Ideas” (Meg Campbell, Torontoist, Sept. 19, 2011).

    Climate of Invention

    From ways to see that traffic idles less,
    To contests for the greenest balcony,
    Toronto’s ClimateSpark may well impress.
    Its social venture challenge strategy

    Calls citizens, non-profits to combine
    And innovate a climate-saving plan
    That has a sound financial bottom line.
    The public votes on which suggestion can

    Advance. Perhaps compressed air power train
    Or zoo-fueled biogas will strike the mood.
    An app for finding parking without pain.
    An urban carbon neutral neighborhood.

    Investment, loans, and grants will be the prize.
    The object is to revolutionize.

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