Future

we saw the future before we lived it,
we learned new definitions of the word “apocalypse”
we screamed chants that rang out like machine gun fire
when we pulled the trigger of our lips,
gun cocked and ready,
like my tongue; cocked and ready.
fire, aim, steady —
the message can no longer get lost in translation,
the message is known and spans every nation,
“hey hey, hey ho, climate change has got to go.”

my father was apprehensive about raising a family
he didn’t want to have to take my hand as we looked out upon a dying world and say:
“you know? all of this will be yours some day.”
my mother knew she wanted to have a family,
she’d show me our broken world and then on bended knee would say:
“i know it’s not going to be easy my love, but look at what you see,
you can change this darling, you are the key.”

because the future is a storage locker our grandparents didn’t know how to unpack,
emissions, fumes and our impending doom.
the future is a skipping record that can only play one track,
extinction, humanity and our incongruity.
the future is empty words and the promises that were made but not kept,
ghosts that haunt the halls of the burning house we stopped calling home,
the future is the secrets that are again and again swept,
underneath the carpet and yet they hang in the air with the every growing carbon.

a million footfalls echo as one,
a million heartbeats sound at once,
as through our bodies resound the pounding of war drums,
a united voice thunders:
“hey hey, hey ho, climate change has got to go,
hey hey, hey ho, climate change has got to go,
hey hey, hey ho, climate change has got to go.”

we cannot be stopped,
for we are unstoppable,
our movement is momentous,
our movement is colossal,
we are the ocean that brings the tides of change,
we are the young who bring new voices to the table again,
we are the message and the mouthpiece our voice knows no range,
we are the forests will herald fresh growth,
we are the future,
not the one that you know.

Listen to Katia Bannister performing “Future” at the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019:

Katia Bannister

About Katia Bannister

Katia Bannister is a Grade 11 student at Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan, BC, taking sciences as well as Model United Nations. She developed a deep ecological awareness and concern at an early age, probably by tagging along on fieldwork, conferences and events with her ethnobotanist mom. She the leader of the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians, an environmental and social activist, a grassroots organizer and volunteer, and a speaker and poet. She lives on Thetis Island with her family and faithful dog, Jessie.

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