Stories of loss, resilience, and restoration delivered at #COP27

Indonesia and CVF-V20 host Poems for Climate roadshow 

Sharm El Sheikh—Creating spaces for culture and the arts in the decision-making arena for climate action, Poets for Climate opened two (2) exhibits on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.

[From L to R] Phyllis Cuttino (President and CEO, The Climate Reality Project), Nazrin Castro (Climate Reality Philippine Branch Manager), Lia Zakiyyah (Graduate Research Assistant at George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication), Alue Dohong (Indonesia Vice Minister of Environment and Forestry), Amanda Katili Niode (Climate Reality Indonesia Branch Manager), Silverius Oscar Unggul, (Vice Chair for Environment and Forestry of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) posed during the talk show, where the book "Menjalin Ikhtiar Merawat Bumi” was also launched.
Poets For Climate is a collaborative project between the Climate Reality Project branches in Africa, Canada, and the Philippines that aims to harness humanities and the arts in amplifying the vicious cycle of loss and damage experienced by vulnerable communities. It is a response to When Is Now, a global poetry and art movement initiated by the Agam Agenda with 58 vulnerable countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
The Poets for Climate Digital Exhibit, which is hosted by the Government of Indonesia in its COP27 pavilion, was launched on November 7 during the talk show entitled “Narrating Endeavors to Tend the Earth.”
“Both the Global North and the Global South are starting to see the limits to adaptation and how the climate crisis is compounding the risks for communities with limited resources and access to social safety nets. Poets and other artists, especially from the youth sector, play a crucial role in opening up the conversation on the realities of climate change on the ground and the urgency of real systemic changes needed,” Nazrin Castro, Climate Reality Philippines Branch Manager, said during the launch of the digital exhibit at the Indonesian Pavilion. 
The Poets For Climate exhibit at the CVF-V20 Pavilion featured poems by Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria), April Mae Evangelista (Philippines), Aditi Garg (Canada), and Ewi Lamma (Cameroon).

The second exhibit, hosted by the CVF and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance, was launched on November 11 with the title “The Making and Unmaking of Places: Stories of Loss, Resilience and Restoration Using Poetry and Art.”

“Science and policymaking are essential to the climate change [movement]. But science and policymaking are also insufficient. We need more of the humanities. We need more of the arts. What we’re doing today is nothing less than calling for a global poetry rebellion so that the public has more ways to contribute, to link arms, and to hold hands to drive world leaders to do what they have to do,” Renato Redentor Constantino, CVF-V20 Advisor and Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Executive Director, said as he thanked the Climate Reality branches of Africa, Canada, and the Philippines for the support of Poets for Climate to the When Is Now campaign.

Launched in July this year, Poets for Climate has conducted five (5) virtual Pebble Poem Workshops and has generated more than 100 poems for When Is Now from around 75 youth leaders, climate advocates, and poets from Cameroon, Canada, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zambia. It has also unveiled murals in the cities of Johannesburg in South Africa, Montreal in Canada, and Iloilo and Isabela in the Philippines.

Bridging the gap between the Global North and the Global South

“In engaging in these [Pebble Poem] Workshops with the Philippines and Canada Branches, it was a privilege and an experience of a lifetime bringing Climate Reality Leaders and activists together,” Amy Giliam-Thorp, African Climate Reality Project Branch Manager, said.

“What we realize is that the power of the When Is Now campaign lies in its use of climartivism (climate, arts, and activism). That powerful combination of arts, poetry, and activism enabled people to showcase and tell their stories, their lived experiences, as a way of creating meaningful spaces that bring more people into the conversation,” she added.

The Poets for Climate roadshow at COP27 aims to create connections and solidarity between the Global North and Global South by integrating stories of loss, damage, and resilience into policymaking and decision-making spaces.

“Canada is an economy that relies so extensively on fossil fuels while also exploiting people around the planet, as well as indigenous people [in Canada]. We have this history and we have the responsibility,” said Andre-Yanne Parent, Climate Reality Canada Branch Manager, during the CVF-V20 event.

“[Through Poets for Climate], we are able to give a space for Canadian Climate Reality Leaders to connect and build relationships so that they could come from a place of empathy, compassion, and understanding of other people’s reality and also understand what they share in common,” Parent added.

Noting that the COP27 roadshow is just the beginning, Parent announced during the CVF-V20 event that Poets For Climate will also be at the  15th  Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity happening in Canada in December. A series of light projections featuring  Poets For Climate poems across Montreal and Canada are in the works to demand urgent action from world leaders and decision-makers.


Andre-Yanne Parent, Climate Reality Canada Branch Manager, during the Poets for Climate roadshow at the CVF-V20 pavilion, which brought together Climate Reality Leaders and youth climate activists from all over the world attending the two-week climate change conference.

The youth’s message to world leaders

Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, CVF Global Young Peace Ambassador, also graced the launch of the CVF-V20 exhibit to deliver a message from the youth to world leaders and decision-makers.

Highlighting the impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing countries, Sam urged the leaders of developed world to step up. “When we talk about When Is Now, the answer is the time is now,” she said. “Please, let us come together as one people,” she added.

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Marshall Islands Climate Envoy and CVF Ambassador for Culture, highlighted the need to provide spaces for the youth within climate movements. “Highlighting unique youth perspective through art work has been a valuable part of the When Is Now initiative,” Jetñil-Kijiner said.

Aside from messages from Sam and Jetñil-Kijiner, the CVF-V20 event featured poetry reading by Ewi Stephanie Lamma, Climate Reality Leader from Cameroon and recipient of the UN Agora Award for Climate Action; Jefferson Estela, Youth 4 Climate Strike Philippines Co-Founder; Nabiha Shahab, Climate Reality Leader from Indonesia and Harvest Moon Contributor; Enoch Anyane, Climate Reality Leader from Ghana and Strategic Youth Network for Development Campaigns and Organizing Coordinator; and Nikka Gerona, Climate Reality Leader from the Philippines and delegate to the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth 17.