In honour of the poet Shane Koyczan – and my hero , our Blue Planet. By Deborah Greaves

In the name of business, progress, and rational thought

it turns out we feel as though we can’t talk

about or cry about the heavy price we people exact from the world.

You’ve heard it all before, you’ll go insane if you don’t ignore

At least half of the trouble we cause this planet – and one another.


This world was designed, engineered, created

to function well without mining, logging, dredging,

To work efficiently without humans and their complications.

The earth didn’t need human agriculture.

Earth worked well without irrigation and irritation.

She did not need wetlands drained or rivers siphoned into oblivion.


There’s no reward to our beautiful Earth for clear-cut forests,

and natural grasslands ploughed into history.

There are scars on her slopes, her meadows, riverbanks and marshes,

and more scars in the unfortunate places that attract a certain

breed of human beings – savages riding wheeled vehicles!

Human beings over recent centuries want to do everything mega –

To raise and graze too many animals caged and fenced.

To net and drag for too many fish and too many creature neighbours.

Even to sew and dye more garments, build more vehicles make more stuff

than all the people of the world can ever buy or dispose of.


We want as a species to overbuild, over think, over-excavate.

We want to convince other humans To Go Big or Go Home,

even though this one lovely planet is our home.

We commit crimes against the waters, land and air,


And Oh! The awful treatment of animals both close and wild –

Furbearers and ‘vermin’ trapped, snared, poisoned, shot and skinned.

Domestics confined, experimented on, flown on aircraft to slaughter.


There are the mega, mega projects like the Site C dam – not needed Site C.

And fracking! Sending chemical soup into the ground – do we need LNG?

What will the beings of the future say to us?

If we live long enough to see the results of all we’ve said Yes to?


I am exhausted now from years of restrained conversation,

From years of messages that preach ‘economic activity’

as uttmost importance to all civilization,

from repeated witnessing of chronic devastation.


I’m tied from years of knowing that beneath misleading words

like ‘Greenfield’ lies the actuality, the brutality

of draining marshes and building over natural lands,

again and as obliterating trees, mosses and cattails,

all the places the wild things would’ve used to build nests, dens and survival.


We in this small town, tucked so safely away from the massive sprawl,

the traffic and hectic complexity of big settlements across the Sound,

here we’re not protected from social difficulties, the inequities,

but we are more closely linked than some to both the harms of the past

and the quiet benefits of being here, by the forest and the clearwater sea.


Here in this safe and lovely place, we watch the electronic news and marvel

at how others suffer – beaten by winds, waters, fires and quakes,

as well as soldiers sent by their own governments to burn up their lives.


This Earth is precious, but there isn’t enough respect.

Planet Earth has taken whatever we’ve dished out,

Whatever we have blasted, mined, drilled, cut, and harvested out of it,

Whatever we wanted to change – to drain, to torment, to pave over or kill.


It’s time to scream.

Yell support for inventors who make the things that can make amends,

like water cleansers, plastic reducers and ocean cleaners,

like waterwheels and wind turbines, the cisterns and solar panels – support

for the people who try to save crops, trees, animals and oppressed humans!


The Blue Green Planet rocks and shudders with perpetual change,

with its inner tumult, surface conflicts, and a renegade species.

She is my hero, this planet.

I’ve cried for her, prayed for her.


Now that six decades have gone by and I remain so lucky and alive,

I want to more than dream for her. I want to scream for her.

She is my hero, this planet. She suffers, yet remains beautiful.

She suffers, because the Renegade Species wants everything mega.



  1. Well spoken. Too bad we can’t live like indigenous people who in the past lived in harmony with the land for 1ooo’s of years and continue to fight for the land.

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