Fresh from the Field: Using Poetry to raise awareness during a pandemic

While COVID-19 caused much of the world to slow down, if not stop completely, nothing could stop the participants in our Creative Foundations online course from continuing to develop creative ways to raise awareness about environmental issues prevalent in their communities. During the course, 22 participants representing 18 organizations in Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize, met each week to learn a wide range of creative methods to build decisive leadership, develop the capacity for creativity and innovation, and inspire behavior change at the individual, community, and systemic levels.

In one session, participants worked in groups to use art, such as songs and radio dramas, to examine environmental challenges they face in their communities. One group composed poetry (see below), to raise awareness about the lack of environmental education in their community. Through this powerful and evocative art form, the group examined the ways in which the pandemic highlights and exacerbates their community’s lack of education about environmental issues.

Poem Illustration by Evelyn Blondeel, a participant from the nonprofit E-Tech.

Fantasy or Reality?

A period of calm existed

Before the misery of the soul

A virus making its presence

Affecting the whole world

Health, profession, economy

Social disruption at a day's end

Families exposed to shortages

Valid state contributions lacking

Pharmaceutical industries selling themselves as superheroes?

Do the rich take advantage of resources scarcity?

Every home providing for themselves

Divided communities by consumption disparity

Half the world in quarantine

Hunger, sleep, and others' concerns

An increase in domestic violence

Women, children – aesthetics affecting all

A pandemic has been unwrapped

The world reacting differently

Social and environmental impacts incalculable

When will we gain back normalcy?


¿Fantasía o Realidad?

Existía un periodo de calma

Antes de la desdicha del alma

Que se presentó por un virus

Afectando al mundo entero

Salud, profesion, economía

Disrupción social al final del día

Familias expuestas a las carencias

Sin el aporte estatal con vigencias

¿Industrias farmacéuticas se venden como superhéroes?

¿Se aprovechan los ricos de la falta de recursos?

Cada hogar viendo por sí mismo

El pueblo dividido por la disparidad del consumismo

Medio mundo en cuarentena

Hambre, sueño, y la preocupación ajena

Ha incrementado la violencia doméstica

Mujeres, niños — todos afectados por la estética

Se ha desenvuelto una pandemia

El mundo reaccionando diferente

Con los impactos sociales y ambientales incalculables

¿Cuándo recuperaremos las normalidades?