Figuring out how to answer this question is perhaps one of the greatest difficulties faced by people distressed by the rapidly changing environment, says Devin Jacobsen, M.Div. ’18. Jacobsen served as editor for “Weathering Change,” an anthology of art created in response to climate change and been released by Harvard’s Office for Sustainability (OFS).
The compilation of poetry and art was sourced from a range of 21 diverse students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It includes original work from renowned writers such as writer-in-residence Terry Tempest Williams and Amanda Gorman ’20, America’s first Youth Poet Laureate. For other contributors, such as Christian Schatz ’18, it was the first time their poetry was selected for publication.
“The art in this small volume evinces humanity’s commitment and ingenuity in searching for an answer to ‘What am I supposed to do now?’” wrote Jacobsen in the anthology’s preface. “My hope is that rather than drowning in despair or letting ourselves become charred with anger, we begin to unearth some kind of answer by asking the question together.”
Flipping through the pages of the anthology uncovers a range of emotions and experiences. The OFS commissioned the collection to amplify the voices of artists across campus, and to “reinforce the important role that the humanities play in helping us understand and advance our collective responsibility to address the global sustainability challenges facing this generation and future generations,” according to OFS Managing Director Heather Henriksen.
Contributor Aaron Ellison, the senior research fellow in ecology at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and senior ecologist at the Harvard Forest, touched on a theme in many of the anthology’s pieces in the last sentence of his introduction. “In the face of change, Nature has been, is, and will be, resilient. Can we learn to be resilient, too?”
“In the Eye of”
Listen to Gorman (pictured) read:
a hurricane ripens / like an iris / gasping clumps / of air, heat / coiling thick / like a dirge / soon enough / a basket brimming / with destruction / swoops across ocean / and country one wind / bleeding into / wet earth / i tell you / i see / cows bobbing / bodies drowned pale as damp / paper and / electricity nowhere / to be found / sky heavy / with deaths and thunder / laughing bitterly / at its drunken / self when / will they learn these disasters aren’t natural