James Barber
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
...is a Wellington based teacher, writer and political activist. He has written for the student magazine Salient, Environmental and social justice websites and journals, and produced crazy Wellington based comedy for the VBC and Human FM.

Another Conference of Parties

Each year it comes around
A talk-fest taking up a town
Or city-state or big resort,
The latest COP-out or UN rort.

Speeches before, and banners fly,
Activist meetings on the sly,
It all comes down to two weeks' race
Of seas of men, each with a wearied face.

All moan and say the same old rot
Of all the problems they have got
And why they cannot make a change.
It makes the whole thing bloody strange.

Big oil, coal, and gas men too,
Their presence makes us really blue,
And their power questions the very point
Of talking ‘til 4am in this conference joint.

Outside the police in riot vests
Club protesters with astounding zest.
They stand strong and defend the status quo
Forcing the plebs to be handcuffed or go.

A backroom deal struck in the early morn
Brings a declaration with the dawn:

“We’ll do it next year my good friends
And from then on we’ll make amends.
We’ll begin to sort this problem out.
Activists? They’ve had their lengthy shout.
We’ll save the planet, and big business too.
We’ll keep capitalism from being flushed down the loo.

The status quo must be maintained
We don’t want civilization completely strained.
It’s time to think and talk, not time to act,
We must go slowly, not radically change our tact.

Slow and steady it wins the race,
And the first world will go at just such a pace,
About the others, to be honest we don’t really care,
We’ve already got most of their share.”