Now The Taps Are Dry: Environment Poem

She told us to plant trees
and we paid her no heed
And now the taps are dry.

They released
a water rationing schedule today,
a water conservation measure
they say,
Because the taps are dry.

We should have rationed our greed
and paid her heed,
when she told us not to cut down forest trees,
but we did not see the wisdom of her pleas,
And now the taps are dry.

We thought that the price of food was high
Until we had to choose what to buy,
Food or the liquid of life?
Yesterday, I had to explain to my daughter,
that the choice was between food and water,
Now that our taps are dry.

Who would have thought
That the day would come,
When we would stand under God’s glorious sun,
And buy water by the gallon.
We cannot say that we did not see it coming,
Because she gave us ample warning,
That soon the day would be dawning,
When we would wake up one morning,
And find that our taps were dry.

So now we are taking conservation measures,
A little too late
We are reclaiming our treasures,
That were squandered and plundered
To suit the whims of a few.
We lacked forethought,
And we should have fought,
Just as she taught,
To protect the liquid of life.
We should have been as far-sighted as she,
Who told us not to cut down trees,
Then perhaps today we would not be crying
Over the fact that our taps are drying.

~ Injete Chesoni

(The She in this poem refers to Wangari Muta Maathai.)

Wangari Muta Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1984, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005.

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