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Words by Juliette Huygen

Rise: From One Island To Another

Poets Aka Niviana and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner in Greenland. Photograph: Daniel Lin/

What do you do when your heritage turns to water or when your homes are flooded by that same water on the other side of the world?

In this poem a "sister of ice and snow" and a "sister of ocean and sand" join forces to shout back, to rise up. They bring forth objects that convey their traditions, their ancestors and their stories, and lament the forced change and disappearance of their ancient ways of life.

The poem and it's message tie in beautifully with the Taking Care project. Daily dispatches from across the globe appear to confirm the suggestion that precarity has become the defining condition of our time - extreme weather, melting ice caps, devastated ecosystems, resource exhaustion, mass displacement and migration. The looming figure encompassing this global moment is the Anthropocene: the epoch of humans as a (catastrophic) geological force. Needless to say, many species, habitats and humans have not fared well under this modernizing regime, and they are forcefully speaking and acting back.

This poem is also part of the exhibition Things That Matter at our Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam

“We’re also creatures of emotion, intuition, spark – which is perhaps why we should mount more poetry expeditions, put more musicians on dying reefs, make sure that novelists can feel the licking heat of wildfire.” - Bill McKibben

Be sure to listen to the poem and read the article by Bill McKibben for The Guardian on