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Myths, Maths, Moths

Monday, 3 August 2020  | Oscar Delaney

Storm and drought, flood and fire;

The situation’s looking dire.

But at least it’s raised the public ire,

Made us pause, look up higher.

Now a picture says a thousand words:

Facts and figures are for nerds.

Crisped koalas, battered birds.

Now are homeless, like the Kurds.

Photos, anecdotes, here and there.

But shouldn’t we look everywhere?

The bigger picture, if we dare,

Would surely force us all to care.

Dying insects, long names or none,

Not just the cute and the fun.

Every species under the sun,

Slowly killed by my next carbon tonne.

And how do the Bangladeshis feel?

Their homes and future we do steal.

Their pain the telly doesn’t reveal,

But that doesn't make it any less real.

Millions of empty stomachs induced

By farming productivity reduced.

The meat on our plates, emissions produced.

Leads others to starve – ‘tis easily deduced.

So can IPCC science staff,

Win you over with a graph?

Or would a story and a laugh,

Always work better by half?

And if I’m just a rational machine,

A data-driven, heart-hidden teen,

Life loses its lustre, dullens its sheen,

Becomes impersonal, calculating and mean.

So will we bipeds diurnal,

Be ephemeral or eternal?

At least of hope there’s a kernel,

To restore our ecological fraternal.

Oscar Delaney 18, grew up in a poor neighbourhood in India where his parents were social and development workers, and is now a second-year biology student at the University of Queensland. He is also involved in climate activism and helps run the youth group at his local church.

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