With financial support from Literature Wales, I am walking across Wales asking every person I meet three questions about climate change.
Following the route of the Heart of Wales line, I walk through villages, towns and countryside and my rule is that I ask everyone I meet my three questions. So, I have met all sorts of people, from 8 year olds to 80 year olds, from pilots to gravediggers, from men drunk by the side of the river, to prison wardens having a quick fag outside jail.
One reason for doing it is simply to begin conversations about climate change. I am amazed at how many people start the conversation by saying they know nothing about climate change – “you’d be better off talking to someone else” – and end up surprising themselves by talking at great length and in substantial detail about it. I feel that having conversations, and thus verbalising our fears, concerns, ideas, skepticism etc is at the heart of finding solutions. Without vocalising our own thoughts, without experimenting with climate change vocabulary, and digging into our personal reflections I feel that the process of readjusting our lifestyles will be particularly painful and isolating.
Another reason, is to create a body of work about responses to climate change. I’ve begun writing poetry drawing on the responses I’ve had, and I’ve recently written a play ‘Buoy’ which draws on the experience. ‘Buoy’ won the Pontardawe Script Slam and was produced by Pontardawe Arts Centre in July 2013.
One unexpected outcome is the absolute pleasure at meeting so many wonderful people on my walk. I have been amazed by the generosity and goodwill of almost all the people I’ve met – the exception is the farmer who threatened to shoot me ! (But he did come round to answering my questions in the end, so I am grateful for that!)
1. What images come to mind when you think of climate change?
2. How often does climate change come up in your conversations?
3. Is there anything you (personally) can do to limit the effects of climate change?