A Draft Acknowledgement of Climate

For the past couple of years, I have been part of Writers Rebel – a group within Extinction Rebellion.

One of the things that membership entails, according to our statement of beliefs, is that:

We ensure that all our public appearances and conversations make clear the urgency of radical and rapid change. Even where our work does not address the climate crisis directly, we use our public platforms to spread awareness, and encourage creative and dynamic ways to approach our common, global problem, the climate and ecological emergency.

From the Writers Rebel website

And that’s what I’m doing here, in this post.

As you’ll see over the coming twelve months, A Writer’s Diary does address the climate crisis both directly and indirectly. Even when it doesn’t seem like it’s all that present, it is.

Recently, I have been wondering whether – as part of any public platform involving people committed to that radical and rapid change – there shouldn’t be something for climate equivalent to the Acknowledgement of Country you would hear at the beginning of a literary event or local government meeting in Perth or Noongar Boodjar.

And so I’ve been drafting something that might work, in that context:

We begin by acknowledging the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Although we may speak about other things, that is our subject, that is our ground. We know that the culture into which some of us were born, and within which some of us live, is founded upon and funded by colonial and commercial exploitation of other cultures and their people, animals and wealth. We are the inheritors of stolen lands and the beneficiaries of genocide and ecocide. Given this ground, we pledge to do whatever we can toward justice, repair and revival for the whole earth and for all lifeforms.

I am more than aware that this sounds awkward (‘lifeforms’ – what is this, Star Trek?) and starchy (‘we pledge’). I know that, within the Culture Wars, it’s taking a definite side. To some, it’ll seem like the signalling of modish virtues rather than the recognition of historical facts. But it is, at least, a start towards drafting something that might serve a purpose – to place even seemingly escapist fictions and performances firmly upon the ground of climate emergency.


I’ve already had some very useful comments on this, particularly on the use of ‘we’ – which I agree is problematic. I’m reposting this in the original form, however.

I’ll be interested to any thoughts you might have on this. Please do leave a comment.

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