Only Action

We’ve left it late.

Far too late to stop
Horrendous damage from being inflicted.

Even now,
Even now that we know,
Even now that we know about the potential
Scale of the damage

And the threat that continuing
In our business-as-usual fashion
Poses to all life on earth,

Even now,
Things are still getting worse.

It has taken us a long time to know
And we’re sorry

More than sorry –
Lamenting for all our losses
All your losses

All the losses
and grief and destruction and death
that our not-knowing
has inflicted on you
and future generations.

Our not-knowing.

For too long,
We were simply not able to conceive of the fact
That our rulers,
So-called captains of so-called industry
Would be prepared
In their ruling
In their dominion
In their dictatorships
To drive the planet
This planet
Our only shared home
To the brink of destruction
And beyond.

We couldn’t conceive it
Wouldn’t entertain it
Didn’t want to believe it.

And now
The passenger pigeons of our not-knowing
Are calling us home to roost.

Our ignorance
Is an expensive ignorance.
One that may still cost us the earth.

Our ignorance
Is a painful ignorance,
For us,
And you and you and you.

Ever since the first of us said out loud
This cannot go on
This is killing the earth,
Treating living things as expendable commodities
Treating the natural world as a resource to be plundered
All of this
Is killing the earth
And all life on it.

Ever since those first words
Were spoken
We thought
That the saying of it would be enough
That the knowing of it
Would be enough.

For how could anyone know
And allow it –
want it even –
To continue?

But we were wrong.

Our not-knowing
Was a deadly waste of time.

The past thirty years  –
Thirty years of wasted time
Wasted lives
Thirty years of extinctions and degradations
Have taught us
That knowing it is not enough.

Only action is enough.

The rich and powerful
Have known all along  –
Exxon knew
Shell knew
BP knew
The military knew
Governments knew.

They knew
And they buried the truth.
Bury it still.

That knowledge was as nothing
Compared with their power
Their privilege
Their money
Their business as usual.

And all the time
We still had the hope
That someone somewhere
In power
Would see reason
See the light of day
Feel compassion
Do something.

And now
At this late hour
When the earth stands abused
When we can contemplate
Without fear of exaggeration
Her death
And ours
At this late hour
We are finally disabused
Of our foolish belief
That someone else
Will do this for us.

At this late hour
Already an hour of destruction
We finally know
That only action is enough

At this late hour
We finally know
That our only hope
Lies in ourselves, and in others like us:
To put our bodies on the line
To put our bodies into the streets
To stop the machines
Of filthy industry
To stop the machines
Of filthy power.

Only action is enough.

At this late hour
We must rebel
We cannot know the outcome
But we are already
Paying the price
Of our ignorance.

At this late hour
We know
that the price of inactivity
Is death.

At this late hour
We know
That in the face
Of extinction
We choose life.
That in the face of
And oil, and industry,
Only action is enough.
Only action – action now –
Can ever be enough.