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Int’l anthology on climate change launched

Int’l anthology on climate change launched

Int’l anthology on climate change launched

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and Milflores Publishing recently launched “Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis,” an international anthology on the lived and imagined experiences during a time of environmental crisis.

This large compilation contains 306 pages full of images of people from vulnerable areas of the world as well as stories about fragility, man-made devastation, and generational value in relation to climate change. The book is free from the jargon and confusion that climate change often brings.

“You will not encounter the words carbon footprint, mitigation, finance or neoliberal in this book,” writer and anthropologist Padmapani Perez said during the online launch of “Harvest Moon.”

The international anthology featured award-winning photographers, established authors and climate scientists as well as emerging voices. Perez was joined by South African journalist Rehana Rosouw, Alexandra Walter, a Colombian poet, and Renato Redentor Konto, a Filipino author. The editors selected 30 photos—not exactly images of devastation, but ones that “showed a place or space with people or traces of humanity in them,” that inspired the verses.

Sparkling imagination

The images were then handed to the writers who chose the one that inspired them and used it as the basis of their work. The contributing writers also received a list of 32 words and phrases that they were not allowed to use, like “global warming” and “climate change.”

“The language around the crisis is riddled with jargon cliches and hot keywords that we all use all the time. But the new works in this book counter this with language and stories that make the crisis legible and that bring it home for those of us who are most vulnerable to its effects,” said Perez, who also leads Agam Agenda.

This is exactly the objective of “Harvest Moon,” to use the power of images and literature to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis, to hasten the response and to involve ordinary citizens in this crusade. Perez and other collaborators on the book believe that poetry, essays, and images that evoke human emotions is just as important as science and policies.

“[Literature] is not the only response and it cannot be the only response, but it’s an important one because for so long we’ve been given the science and the policies around climate change and the climate crisis, which have been insufficient to move us and to bring the crisis home when so many of us are already experiencing it,” she said.

“Many others are also in denial, and perhaps through the force of art and literature and poetry, we can tell the story as we’re living it these days. Literature speaks to us, art speaks to us, and we often feel compelled to act or move by our emotions more than logic or reason. That’s why this is one way in which we can respond,” Perez added.

“Harvest Moon” is a follow-up of the groundbreaking anthology “Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change.” Where “Agam” was composed of verses in eight Filipino languages, “Harvest Moon” is a global undertaking featuring 30 works written in 11 languages (Zapotec, Turkish, Swahili, Kankanaey and the like). The 30 images that accompany the verses were captured in places like Latin America and Southeast Asia.

More easily accessible

Among the contributed works is “I did not get it,” an amusing short story by Leonardo Padura. A photograph taken by Lisa Lorenzo of two men in the middle a conversation just before Manila Bay prompted the Cuban novelist. The story discussed the global crisis at the surface level, but also the generational value that contributed to it.

Xiaojun Wang from Manila, a Chinese journalist, was inspired to write this article by Vinai dithaijohn’s photograph of the visible moon over a Thai train station.

Wang wrote a short story about coal mining and farming. He also discussed the dangers that low-income workers face in order to feed their families.

“[The photo]It was simply beautiful. It was so peaceful and lonely. I was immediately struck by the fact that life is full of surprises. Life can be full with good surprises, bad surprises and heavy surprises. The moon is almost always predictable. And that’s pretty much what we want out of our climate as well,” he said during the launch.

Perez said that they are in talks with other regional publishers to translate the book in Chinese, Bahasa, Spanish and other languages to widen the reach of “Harvest Moon.”

Constantino, ICSC executive Director, said that ICSC would subsidize the cost of the book for as long it takes to make the material accessible to more people. Their goal is to convince people to act on climate change.

“Science and policymaking are essential to the entire enterprise, but they’re insufficient. They have not been proven to be the essential things that motivate people to act. This is in the realms of the humanities. History has shown … arts provide and fulfill the role. People actually don’t just participate, they derive meaning in trying to fix what they know there will be a bad future if they don’t do something about it,” said Constantino. INQ

“Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis” is available at the subsidized price of P599 from,, Shopee, Lazada, Solidaridad Bookshop in Manila and Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Baguio City

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