WASHINGTON D.C., 12 October 2022 – We need stories of hope and ‘good trouble’ to animate and enliven climate movements around the world, according to policy groups, philanthropists, artists, and activists who gathered yesterday in the Busboys and Poets bookstore and cultural hub to celebrate the publication of the international climate anthology Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis (2021).

The intimate book event was hosted by the Agam Agenda and Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and co-presented by The Climate Reality Project Philippines and Oil Change International (OCI).

Renato Redentor Constantino, ICSC executive director, Harvest Moon co-editor, and OCI board member shared how Harvest Moon and other initiatives under the Agam Agenda aims to bridge the arts and humanities in movements and international policy spaces for climate action and energy transition.

“Our work on culture is very important because we not only have to speak to the public,” Constantino said. “It is very important to enable the public to speak to one another, to share their stories, to tell their governments and companies what is at stake.”

Harvest Moon spans 24 countries and 11 world languages, including Zapotec, Turkish, Swahili, Kankanaey, Filipino, Chinese, Binisaya, Bahasa Indonesia and English. The pieces in this collection counter tired stories of climate doom and gloom. Brimming with as much love and triumph as loss and grief, Harvest Moon makes the crisis legible for those of us most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“You could make an atlas of trouble out of this book…. We will need stories more than ever,” author and OCI board member Rebecca Solnit wrote in the afterword to Harvest Moon.

OCI executive director Elizabeth Bast, who opened the event, highlighted the need for more climate action and collaboration as the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) began in the US capitol.

Copies of Harvest Moon were sold during the event. Books will also be given this Sunday to the V20 Group of Finance Ministers, a coalition of 58 climate vulnerable economies which has supported the Agam Agenda, when they meet with IMF and WB leaders during their ninth ministerial dialogue entitled “‘When is Now?’ for a Fit-for-Climate Financial Architecture for a Planet on Fire.”

Nabiha Shahab, Indonesian journalist and tanahair.net founder, read passages from her Harvest Moon piece “Tenggelam” (“Sinking”) in Bahasa Indonesia. She also showed a video montage from her hometown of Pekalongan City, Central Java, one of the fastest sinking cities in Indonesia due to land subsidence and increased flooding.

Nazrin Camille Castro, branch manager of Climate Reality Philippines, shared her organization’s collaboration with the Agam Agenda, particularly on the Poets for Climate initiative that supports the When Is Now global creative campaign. She added that the poems and artworks produced with Climate Reality Leaders will be exhibited in next month’s UN climate conference in Egypt through pavilions and panel discussions to be hosted by the governments of Indonesia and Canada and the Global Landscapes Forum Africa. Castro read Harvest Moon excerpts along with Ben Sackler, Climate Reality community manager.

The late Sandra Smithey, former program officer of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and director of the Shine Campaign, was honored during the event alongside her fellow Agam Agenda and Harvest Moon champions Athena Ronquillo Ballesteros, ICSC founder and former board chair, and Tom Kruse, Rockefeller Brothers Fund program director.

“Art and literature are as important as policy, activism, movements. The Agam Agenda is a unique contribution to the climate fight because we needed unconventional and new messengers,” said Ballesteros, currently the managing director of the Climate Leadership Initiative.

AC Dimatatac, ICSC: media@icsc.ngo, +63 917 149 5649, +63 998 546 9788

Photos by ICSC