QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – Reading stories and poems, watching movies, listening to music, and seeking out art kept people sane at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns in the country, making these creative works matter more than ever. The arts and humanities carry us through times of hardship.
A new anthology on climate change, titled Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis, turned to art, photography, and literature to weave stories about the planetary crisis.
Launched today by the Agam Agenda and Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), “Harvest Moon is a book that heeds the call to reimagine how we are going to survive and thrive in a time of painful planetary transformation,” said Padmapani L. Perez, lead strategist for the Agam Agenda and Asia editor of the book.
“Through Harvest Moon, we hope to show that art and literature have a role to play, not just in communicating climate change, but also in accompanying us through the crisis, providing solace, companionship, and opening portals to new possibilities,” she added.
Perez likewise said that the authors behind the entries of the new anthology veered away from the usual storytelling, which makes use of jargons, cliches, and hot keywords.
“The new works in this book counter this with language and stories that make the crisis legible and that bring it home for those of us who are most vulnerable to its effects… This book is a gathering of diverse voices, thanks to the work of my co-editors Rehana Rossouw, Alexandra Walter, and Red Constantino,” she said.
ICSC’s executive director Redentor Constantino, meanwhile, noted the importance of writing in narrating complex phenomena like climate crisis, and at the same time urged all stakeholders to compel the government to put in place measures that will address the problem of climate crisis.
“It’s time we wrest power from the tiny few intent on causing us harm today if only to secure their narrow interests in the long run. We need the public to convince our governments to serve the interests of the intergenerational majority, to acquire more courage, and to once and for all discard the hesitation advanced by the powerful and ignorant minority—willing tools each one paid and purchased by fossil capital and the dictatorship of accumulation and consumption,” Constantino said.
“We will resist. We must resist. And we will win. But first, we must write. First, we must tell our stories. First, we must encourage others to tell their stories. And yes, before we write, first, we must read, we must sing, and we must live,” he added.
During the virtual book launch, select excerpts of the book were read by its authors and contributors, including internationally-recognized and multi-awarded Filipino poets Marjorie Evasco, PhD. and Dr. Joey A. Tabula, who read their own contributions to Harvest Moon. Drs. Evasco and Tabula read the poems of Irma Pineda, Zapotec poet and member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, and the Cuban poet Roberto Manzano. Also featured in the launch were Luisa A. Igloria (Philippines/USA), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo), Xiaojun Wang (China), Leonardo Padura (Cuba), Yewande Omotoso (Barbados and South Africa), Gawani Domogo Gaongen (Philippines), Yuvan Aves (India) photographer Vinai Dithajohn (Thailand), photographers Veejay Villafranca and Lisa Lorenzo (Philippines), artist Fara Manuel-Nolasco (Philippines), book designer Felix Mago Miguel, and renowned essayist Rebecca Solnit.
The narratives and photographs in Harvest Moon span 24 countries and 11 languages, specifically Zapotec, Turkish, Swahili, Spanish, Kankanaey, French, Filipino, English, Chinese, Binisaya, and Bahasa Indonesia. The first Philippine edition of Harvest Moon is published by Milfores Publishing.
In keeping with the vision of a beautiful yet accessible book for diverse readers living in a time of climate crisis, ICSC is offering the limited Philippine edition of Harvest Moon at a significantly marked-down price of PhP599. The book is now available on Shopee and Lazada via Milflores Publishing, Fully Booked, Ayala Museum Shop, Mt. Cloud Bookshop (Baguio City), and Solidaridad Bookstore (Manila).
The Agam Agenda brings together diverse voices and new narratives on climate change in the Harvest Moon anthology. They also invite writers, artists, scientists, activists, and storytellers everywhere to join the global collaborative campaign When Is Now to demand urgent climate action for the planet.