An Assembled Climate

By Sam Illingworth | October 8, 2020

Image courtesy Markus Spiske/Pexels

The poem below is taken from the (anonymized) transcripts of questions asked during the recent Climate Assembly UK, an assembly designed to bring together a diverse group of people to discuss how the United Kingdom can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Transcripts and notes from the subsequent discussion sessions are unavailable, with only the recordings of the speakers’ presentations and the question-and-answer sessions made public. The materials were made into a 556-page report outlining the assembly’s recommended path to net zero; the poetic inquiry presented here offers an alternative interpretation of the assembly.

We see councils,
doing a lot
towards climate change
and they’re taking,
they’re really not taking,
the lead from the government.

How can we inspire people
who have power and influence
to make the necessary changes
when the current information
hasn’t been enough so far?
Will government seriously consider
all of these issues
or merely pay lip service to it—
what changes could we make
to what we eat?

How can people
in poorer communities
eat healthier alternatives;
who decides who’s fair,
what’s fair, and how?
It’s like we hadn’t started
the Industrial Revolution in Britain
and this is another Industrial Revolution;
now that we’re leaving the EU,
what is more carbon friendly
British beef or avocados?

Is it possible to have a sufficiently nutritious vegan diet
when the tube
is still being so polluting?
Is it possible to have a sufficiently nutritious vegan diet
and how could it work?
Is it possible to have a sufficiently nutrititious vegan diet
if we try to tackle climate change?
Is it possible to have a sufficiently nutritious vegan diet
and economic redistribution at the same time?

Coal mining towns in the 80s:
What went wrong there?
Why didn’t it work?
Do we need to look elsewhere?
Do we have the right people
in the UK?
What is more carbon friendly
British beef or avocados?


Together, we make the world safer.

The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent nonprofit organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.

Get alerts about this thread
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments