In the face of the climate crisis, the world needs more ways to open up spaces of dialogue that reimagine solutions and fortify hope. Artists, writers, and storytellers of many kinds can help us do that.
During this year’s Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), the science-art-activism group Agam Agenda brought poems and stories about climate change to life. Through two special events, Agam Agenda exhibited their latest anthology Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis, published by Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and Milfores Publishing in 2021.
Spanning 24 countries and 11 languages across Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and Latin America, Harvest Moon is an anthology of poems, stories, and photographs that reckon with and reflect on the climate crisis.
The Harvest Moon anthology is a book of poems, stories, and images on the climate crisis, by award-winning writers and photographers from all over the world. It is published by Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and Milflores Publishing.
At the opening ceremony of the MIBF, Agam Agenda made a splash with a rhythmic, creative performance led by musicians of Drum Circle PH. Book-lovers in the audience were transformed into co-performers and drummers, as they were invited to drum, pause, and confront the shared experience of climate change. Celebrated Filipino poet and author of Ang Kartograpiya ng Pagguho (Ateneo Press, 2022) Ralph Fonte also collaborated for this event.
Book-lovers in the audience join as co-performers and drummers for this Harvest Moon performance at this year’s MIBF.
The performance featured Harvest Moon poems such as “Priere d’un Enfant du Monde” (“Prayer of a Child of the World”) by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, prolific Congolese writer; “Pangwani” by Gawani Domogo Gaongen, award-winning Indigenous writer recognized for her poetry in Kankanaey; and the prose piece “The Others” by Yewande Omotoso, celebrated novelist based in South Africa.
The Agam Agenda also hosted a multidisciplinary panel discussion about climate science, eco-poetry, and the arts. During this unique event, poets, artists, scientists, and activists came together to reflect on our ecological as well as cultural crises.
“We have a narrow window of time to shift course on increasing global temperatures,” said Dr. Rosa Perez, a climate scientist and one of the lead authors of the Contributions of the Working Group 2 (WG2) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Perez highlighted the need for more ambitious efforts to build resilience, raise climate finance, and address the vicious cycle of loss and damage for climate vulnerable countries.
Climatologist Dr. Rosa Perez, artist Derek Tumala, poet-physician Joey Tabula, and climate activist Ferth Manaysay, came together to reflect on the ecological status and to share their insights on the climate crisis and the urgency for everyone to act on it now.
The climate scientist suggested a lifestyle change among people, including food waste reduction, mangrove restoration, and shifting to renewable energy. Dr. Perez said that food waste reduction is essential as rotten foods emit methane, which is a long-lived greenhouse gas. Mangrove restoration improves the capacity of mangrove forests and swamps to absorb greenhouse gasses and protect the coastal areas. Finally, shifting to renewable electricity helps restore and protect nature.
Transdisciplinary visual artist Derek Tumala also joined the panel discussion. Tumala shared his latest online artwork in the intersection of art, science, and technology titled Tropical Climate Forensics: an expansive diorama that provides a visual language of the climate crisis.
Drawing from a spectrum of studies and narratives on climate change, Tumala’s artistic approach is about “creating solidarity among institutions and communities,” focused on the science behind biomes, or the world’s bioregional landscapes. He also shared his collaboration using the poetry of Harvest Moon.
Agam Agenda’s anthology Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis held a multidisciplinary panel on climate science, eco-poetry, and art was featured last September 17, 2022 at the Manila International Book Fair at SMX Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
On climate activism, Ferth Manaysay, the Deputy Branch Manager and Programs Lead of Climate Reality Project Philippines, spoke about the ongoing collaboration for global poetry workshops with Agam Agenda. In the spirit of creativity and solidarity, Climate Reality and Agam Agenda gathered individuals from across the world to reflect on shared bioregions and environmental challenges.
Harvest Moon contributor and medical doctor Joey Tabula concluded the multidisciplinary panel with poetry readings and insights on eco-poetry.
“Para sa akin ang eco-poem ay tula kung saan ang tao… ay di sentro ngunit kanilalang ng mundo,” Tabula explained. (“For me, an eco-poem is a poem where humans are not the center but a part or companion of the world.”) He then read his own Filipino translation of the piece “Farol de Combate” by Marjorie Evasco, originally written in Balak sa Binisayà, from the anthology.
Harvest Moon continues to be exhibited as a living book of poems and stories on climate change, sharing the lived experiences of vulnerable communities and reimagining the conversations about climate.
The limited Philippine edition of Harvest Moon is available at a significantly marked down price of PhP599. Purchase a copy on Shopee and Lazada via Milflores Publishing, Fully Booked, Ayala Museum Shop, Mt. Cloud Bookshop (Baguio City), or Solidaridad Bookstore (Manila).
Feature Photo: The Agam Agenda exhibited the Harvest Moon anthology of climate poems and stories at this year’s Manila International Book Fair. Photos by AC Dimatatac © Agam Agenda/Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.