It’s now or never. According to the latest IPCC report, to keep global temperature rise under 1.5C means that carbon emissions from everything that we do, buy, use or eat must peak by 2025, and fall rapidly after that, reaching net-zero by the middle of this century. The total amount of CO2 that the world has emitted in the last decade is the same amount that’s left to us now to stay under this key threshold.
In this third and final collective project of my Writing the Climate residency, we are inviting you to write (and send) a letter about your take on the accelerating climate and ecological crisis. As writers, our superpower is a way with words, and words are energy – they make a difference to the world we live in. Here is a chance to harness your creativity and skill to lift the way we use our energy, to express your feelings and ideas on this crucial subject, affecting all our lives now and looming over our children’s future.
It’s up to you who you choose to write to – your MP, the PM [ I wrote this before the latest developments!…L ], the Dalai Lama or the Pope, the CEO of Exxon, BP or Shell, a wildfire fighter in Australia or a reindeer herder in the Arctic, your best friend, your descendants or your ancestors. When you write, you hold the whole world in your hands.
Send it in whatever format you like – via email, postcard or letter – whatever might help trigger a small change in how you feel about climate change and mass extinction, as you articulate what really matters and clear a space for active orientation and engagement.
This will inevitably make a difference to your letter’s recipient too and, alongside all our participants’ letters, will contribute to the momentum for change and deep shift in our collective awareness and imagination that we need.
As well as sending your letter out into the world, please send a copy to us and we’ll gather them together to be shared more widely. I will choose a selection to form part of an installation at this year’s Durham Book Festival in October, and they will also appear on a special Writing the Climate webpage.
Find words for the inexpressible, what’s on your mind, in your heart, on the tip of your tongue, and shout them to the rooftops or whisper them in a loved one’s ear. Share your voice not just with one other person but with the whole trembling, fragile world… If not now, when?
Please limit your letter to maximum A4 page length in whatever form and font you like – prose, poetry, cartoon, storyboard. You can hand-write it and scan it in, or send us a physical copy or a photograph. You could write it on a postcard or type it up on your computer (or even share it on social media: tag us @newwritingnorth and use the hashtag #TheClimateLetters). Whatever your letter looks like, just make sure it reaches us by Monday 22nd August.
To send us your letter online, fill in this form.
Or send it by post to:
3 Ellison Terrace, Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST (by post).
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
We look forward to reading your letters and setting the power of your words to work in the world.