Stories From the Bow Seat

2017 Winner: There is Nothing We Can Do (High School Poetry)

2017 Ocean Awareness Student Contest: Notable Submission Award in the High School Poetry Category

Niamh Ní Iceadha
Age 18
Dublin, Ireland

“There is Nothing We Can Do”

There is nothing we can do
So please don’t tell me
We can fix the problem of ocean pollution

And I hope you agree that
We have no power
And It’s not true that
if we work together
We can change the world
But if you really think about it
We are powerless

They say

Our ocean creatures will die
Our seas will overrun with plastic
Our oceans will become a wasteland
If we care only for ourselves
We don’t care about our planet
And don’t listen when they say
There is always hope

Give up hope of a clean, renewable future
And never
Listen to the voices of those who care
Listen to politicians who ignore climate change
Do not
Show your support

We do not care
And it’s not true that
We can save the ocean.
Oil spills can’t be stopped
Birds can’t be saved
Acidification is unavoidable

Ignore those who believe
We can change the future.

Now read this poem from bottom to top.


Student Reflection

I believe it is our choice whether we save or destroy our oceans. We are the ones who pollute, who wreck, and who damage our precious seas, yet we are the only ones with the power to save them. I wrote this poem to show that a simple switch in perspective is all that it takes to initiate the change from hurting the oceans to saving them. Reading from top to bottom, my poem illustrates how easy it is to be discouraged by the vast and seemingly insurmountable problem of ocean pollution. We can be caught up in the negativity of those who feel that the situation is hopeless. If our focus is only on the problems facing us, we will never have the courage to change. But change is possible. Reading from bottom to top, my poem shows that, by looking at the same problems from a different viewpoint, we can create solutions. It is up to us to be the change we want to see in the world. But this can only happen if we transform not only our habits, but also our attitudes towards ocean pollution.

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