This week, poet and performance artist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner stood before the world leaders at the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Summit. She was one of 4 people out of 544 chosen to address the Summit. She says she wanted to “bring my people’s message out to the world, that climate change is a threat we need to take more seriously.” Poetry has been part of her life since she was young and she uses her poetry to address social and environmental issues.
On her blog Iep Jeltok , she writes: “My poetry mainly focuses on raising awareness surrounding the issues and threats faced by my people. Nuclear testing conducted in our islands, militarism, the rising sea level as a result of climate change, forced migration, adaptation and racism in America.”
In one such poem, The History Project, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner expresses the frustration she and her people have felt over the nuclear tests run by the United States on their island home in the Marshall Islands.
Here’s the video. She delivers a powerful, passionate performance: