Hard Change

The apocalypse will not be televised.
The little glowing rectangles
that frame our world
carry on at length
about the spring storms
tearing cities limb from limb
and the summer sun
scorching endless acres of corn
but they must be careful
oh so careful
not to connect the dots
not to imply for even a moment
that something may be wrong.

in the world beyond the frames
the temperature’s rising
and the oceans
are rising
and the oceans
are soaking up so much
of our car exhaust
and smokestack soot
that they’re becoming
too acidic
for life.

At what point
do we start talking about it?
At what point
do we admit we have a problem?
Is it when
entire island nations
are consumed by the rising tide?
Or do we wait
until the streets of London
and Tokyo
and New York City
start slipping beneath the waves?
Or do we wait
until the cities of the world
are choked with millions of refugees
from the drowning coasts
and the barren fields
and the raging walls of flame
sweeping across the land
where desert scrub and mountain wood
once stood?

But the jobs, they say!
Jobs, jobs, jobs!
Coal will bring us jobs!
And oil will bring us jobs!
And natural gas will bring us jobs!
But what good are jobs
when the corn won’t grow?
What good are jobs
when our homes are destroyed
by inland hurricanes?
What good are jobs
when the ocean’s dead
and the world’s on fire
and the oil runs out
and we don’t have a Plan B
and we have no one to blame
but ourselves?
Can you eat that coal?
Can you drink that oil?
Do you think those jobs
will even be there anymore
when the shit hits the fan
and the men who own that mine
or that refinery
flee to the Cayman Islands
with all of the profits
from your labor?

We don’t need any coal jobs.
We don’t need any oil jobs.
We don’t need any fracking jobs.
We already have our work cut out for us
the work of admitting that we have a problem
and solving that problem
one person at a time
one politician at a time
one local farm at a time
one solar panel at a time
one city at a time
one state at a time
one nation at a time.
It’s time to stop whining for easy jobs
and start working for hard change.

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