Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner spoke on behalf of civil society during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Summit in New York City. Check out this high-quality version of Kathy’s poem with footage of climate action around the world.
Kathy, 26, is a co-founder of an environmental NGO and a teacher. She is also a journalist, poet and spoken-word artist. She was selected from hundreds of people to address the opening ceremony.
“My poetry mainly focuses on raising awareness surrounding the issues and threats faced by my people,” she writes on her blog. “Nuclear testing conducted in our islands, militarism, the rising sea level as a result of climate change, forced migration, adaptation and racism in America – these are just a few themes my poetry touches upon. Besides these, I also use poetry as a means of understanding the people and the world around me.”
Her selection was the culmination of weeks of effort that followed an open call from the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) in July for nominations of civil society speakers and attendees for the Summit. By the 15 August deadline, 544 people had been nominated from 115 countries.