back to article Are you an ECO POET? Climate science needs YOU

The dividing line between creative writing and climate science - sometimes thin - has been triumphantly dissolved. A new postgraduate course at the University of East Anglia hopes to bring together "researchers in the environmental sciences, philosophy, history and literature to develop new ways of thinking about environmental …


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  1. Sean Inglis

    Wrong date...'s April 2nd today.

    I for one hope that many, many people take up the course, rather than dabbling any hard sciences, for which they would clearly be ill-suited, by the mere fact of having considered taking this course in the first place.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wandered lonely as a cloud...

    Poetry, which also links to science.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Eco limericks?

    They tell us the planet is warming

    and the cause is the carbon we're burning

    But no-one is sure

    If we keep burning more

    That the research will keep us in earning(s).

  4. Cave Dweller


    MA in Environmental Sciences and Humanities

  5. Chris Miller

    Assuming it's not a late April Fool

    Anyone who claims to be a scientist, but can come out with stuff like: "The new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future" while keeping their tongue out of their cheek, is clearly in need of help.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    This bloke is a scientist? And now he wants to move into conditioning people to love CC theory through poetry?

    Airy-fairy and

    ever so scary.

  7. Arnold Lieberman

    Climate "science"

    Just as the Age of Enlightenment gave way to Romanticism, so rational scientific enquiry is giving way to touchy-feely emotion-led decision making now. An easy bandwagon for politicians and other ignorati to jump on.

    Aye, we're all doooooomed.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is...

    ... the most compelling case for university tuition fees yet.

  9. g e

    "Hulme's motivation is that climate is too scientific"

    Obviously a budding comedian, too, then.

  10. philbo

    May I submit a couple of ideas?

    --Firstly, eco-haiku:


    If science fails to convince

    Maybe verse will work

    --Secondly, parody (to the tune of "Robin Hood"):

    CO2, CO2 you're not wanted here

    CO2, CO2 in the atmosphere

    Warming the earth, what will ensue?

    CO2, CO2, CO2

    Do I pass?

    1. frank ly

      Re: May I submit a couple of ideas?

      I think it needs two more lines between the second and third. Good effort.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn Your Planet

    Surely the best eco-poetry has already been written:

    Have a listen to the lyrics to the track "Burn Your Planet" on Metaltech's "burn Your Planet" album released last year:

    Warning - Explicit Lyrics

    1. rory alsop 1

      Re: Burn Your Planet - lyrics

      Plunder all the forests so I can wipe my a**

      Dig up all the deserts so I can ride in cars

      Dragnet the oceans so I can feed my face

      Rip open the ozone so we can heat the place

      Burn all the fossils so I can watch TV's

      Dissect all the animals to save me from disease

      Take all my rubbish and stuff it in the land

      Chlorinate the water so I can wash my hands of it

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      A wise man said leave nothing but footprints

      Carbon is the base of life, read the blueprints

      The next generation will just make it worse

      There's only one attitude to lift the curse

      So if you want to stop AIDS and you want to kill cancer

      You want to end poverty, war and hunger

      If you have any compassion for the human race

      Smash open your fridge and **** this place up

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

      Let's burn the world, set it on fire, let's burn your planet

  12. Why Not?

    we are not being Funny

    We need lots more Money

    The earth is getting hot

    or maybe now its not

    Switch off all of your lights

    Darn all your own tights

    While we burn Chinese Coal

    Making tat for brits on the dole.

    Can I have my certificate now?

  13. Blofeld's Cat

    My thesis...

    Some say the world is getting hot,

    But others say they're talking rot,

    Some say mankind's the one to blame,

    And research facts to back their claim,


    Some swear by their old hockey stick,

    And glaciers that will vanish quick,

    While melting ice and rising seas,

    Bring us sad tales of great unease,


    Others doubt the facts they claim,

    And say the climate's much the same,

    Their models won't predict the past,

    As science unveils its counterblast.


    The truth is somewhere round about,

    But all sides claim they've found it out,

    Their dogma now is quite profound,

    And both sides claim moral high ground


    So to you folks at UEA,

    Please can I have a nice MA?

    1. Big O

      Re: My thesis...

      Well, get your wallet out first...

  14. Jonathon Green

    Just when we all thought Alan Sokal...

    ...had ended the whole "Science Wars"...

    ...nonsense for good it turns out that Social Constructionism is alive and well and living in East Anglia :-)

  15. g e

    Any space for a haiku?

    Spring leaves blossom

    Quoth you 'carbon strangles life'

    Your "Science" dismays me

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Audrey S. Thackeray

    Course details

    From the prospectus it doesn't seem that they want people to actually be writing poetry.

    Mind you, that week of the course does still sound like absolute toss, though other bits are more intriguing - I like the idea of "Thursday - Trying to think about the whole universe at once"; get that out of the way early on and the rest should just be coasting.

  18. PyLETS


    There once was a hack called Andrew,

    who bit off far more than could chew,

    when he cried "A Conspiracy"

    it was clearly derisory.

    At East Anglia they thought him quite rude.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: zeitgeist

      6/10. Must try harder.

      Suggestion: try "Andy" instead of "Andrew".

      Also: try rhyming. In limericks, it's not optional.

  19. Pantelis

    Wrong Date????

    I checked the data for this article and it said 2nd of April and not 1st...surely a mistake!!!

  20. Some Beggar

    Just a minor point of information - an MA or MSc course is funded by the student, not the tax payer.

    I mean ... every other thing in this article is just as confused or inaccurate ... but I'll only get rejected if I put yet another bee up Andrew's arse.

  21. TeeCee Gold badge


    A degree in eco-poetry?

    You'll feel like such a prat.

    All that time spent studying for;

    "Do you want fries with that?".

  22. Anonymous John

    Roses are red,

    Violets are blue,

    A poem will get them,

    To cut CO2.

  23. Steve Crook

    Actually sounds quite interesting...

    This is what the course description says:

    "firstly, the understanding and measuring of environmental change, using physical and historical evidence to put contemporary changes into context;

    secondly, how to deal with uncertainty and risk, analysing the practical and theoretical significance of these concepts;

    and thirdly, competing ideas concerning the value of nature and how those values might be reconciled, ranging from economic to aesthetic and ethical evaluation"

    Looks to be quite interesting if delivered in a balanced fashion...

  24. Tom 13

    Well, at least they've finally admitted

    they aren't doing science.

  25. disgruntled yank

    He's been there, done that.

    Tom Lehrer clearly deserves a named chair!

  26. Triggerfish

    My effort

    Practice science

    Facts, truth by method

    Politics easier

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. James Pickett

    "The new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future"

    I am submitting that to Pseuds Corner.

  29. proto-robbie

    Home alone...

    Roses were red,

    sky was blue:

    we had bees;

    and honey too.

  30. Keith DeHavelle

    Climate Poetry

    Indeed, I write on climate bits in rhyme

    But not, perhaps, the way they'd like to see

    If you would like examples, take the time

    And look at these, both poems and parody:

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  31. Burbage

    "The idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs."

    Did he deliberately omit "financial"?

  32. h4rm0ny


    Climate Change Haiku

    Words contrived to fit metre

    Like CRU data

  33. NomNomNom

    Man can't change the climate,

    because climate's changed before,

    climategate, taxes, lizard-people,

    world-government, Al Gore.

    What caused the warming?

    I haven't got a clue,

    But I'll try my best,

    not to accept,

    an answer that involves CO2.

    It's the Sun stupid,

    It's the Earth's core.

    It's AC Units,

    It's cosmic rays,

    It's ocean currents,

    It's urbanization,

    It's a Natural cycle,

    It's all of the above,

    No wait, it hasn't warmed at all.

  34. Irony Deficient

    with apologies to Edmund Spenser

    And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,

    Ioying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,

    Which therein shrouded from the tempest dred,

    Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.

    Much can they prayse the trees so straight and hy,

    The sayling Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,

    The vine-prop Elme, the Poplar neuer dry,

    The builder Oake, sole king of forrests all,

    The Aspine good for staues, the Cypresse funerall.


    The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours

    And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still,

    The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours,

    The Eugh obedient to the benders will,

    The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill,

    The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound,

    The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,

    The fruitfull Oliue, and the Platane round,

    The caruer Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.


    Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,

    Vntill the blustring storme is ouerblowne;

    When weening to returne, whence they did stray,

    They cannot finde that path, which first was showne,

    But wander too and fro in wayes vnknowne,

    Furthest from end then, when they neerest weene,

    That makes them doubt, their wits be not their owne:

    So many pathes, so many turnings seene,

    That which of them to take, in diuerse doubt they been.


    At last resoluing forward still to fare,

    Till that some end they finde or in or out,

    That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare,

    And like to lead the labyrinth about;

    Which when by tract they hunted had throughout,

    At length it brought them to a hollow caue,

    Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout

    Eftsoones dismounted from his courser braue,

    And to the Dwarfe a while his needlesse spere he gaue.


    Be well aware, quoth then that Ladie milde,

    Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash prouoke:

    The danger hid, the place vnknowne and wilde,

    Breedes dreadfull doubts: Oft fire is without smoke,

    And perill without show: therefore your stroke

    Sir knight with-hold, till further triall made.

    Ah Ladie (said he) shame were to reuoke

    The forward footing for an hidden shade:

    Science giues her selfe light, through darkenesse for to wade.


    Yea but (quoth she) the perill of this place

    I better wot then you, though now too late

    To wish you backe returne with foule disgrace,

    Yet wisedome warnes, whilest foot is in the gate,

    To stay the steppe, ere forced to retrate.

    This is the wandring Carbinnd Yoxides den,

    A monster vile, whom God and man does hate:

    Therefore I read beware. Fly fly (quoth then

    The fearefull Dwarfe:) this is no place for liuing men.


    But full of fire and greedy hardiment,

    The youthfull knight could not for ought be staide,

    But forth vnto the darksome hole he went,

    And looked in: his glistring armor made

    A little glooming light, much like a shade,

    By which he saw the vgly monster plaine,

    Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,

    But th’other halfe did womans shape retaine,

    Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine.


    And as she lay vpon the durtie ground,

    Her huge long taile her den all ouerspred,

    Yet was in knots and many boughtes vpwound,

    Pointed with mortall sting. Of here there bred

    A thousand yong ones, which she dayly fed,

    Sucking vpon her poisonous dugs, each one

    Of sundry shapes, yet all ill fauored:

    Soone as that vncouth light vpon them shone,

    Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all were gone.


    Their dam vpstart, out of her den effraide,

    And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile

    About her cursed head, whose folds displaid

    Were strecht now forth at length without entraile.

    She lookt about, and seeing one in mayle

    Armed to point, sought backe to turne againe;

    For light she hated as the deadly bale,

    Ay wont in desert darkness to remaine,

    Where plaine none might her see, nor she see any plaine.


    Which when the valiant Elfe perceiu’d, he lept

    As Lyon fierce vpon the flying pray,

    And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept

    From turning backe, and forced her to stay:

    Therewith enrag’d she loudly gan to bray,

    And turning fierce, her speckled taile aduaunst,

    Threatning her angry sting, him to dismay:

    Who nought aghast, his mightie hand enhaunst:

    The stroke down fro; her head vnto her shoulder glaunst.


    Much daunted with that dint, her sence was dazd,

    Yet kindling rage, her selfe she gathered round,

    And all attonce her beastly body raizd

    With doubled forces high aboue the ground:

    Tho wrapping vp her wrethed sterne arownd,

    Lept fierce vpon his shield, and her huge traine

    All suddenly about his body wound,

    That hand or foot to stirre he stroue in vaine:

    God helpe the man so wrapt in Ciötwos foule bane.

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