Spoken Word Poet Shares Heartfelt Inspiration in the Face of Crisis (Video)

Video screen capture. Shane Koyczan, The Short Story Long & Johnny Jansen

It's been said eloquently before that this world needs more dreamers, lovers, and storytellers "of every kind" to passionately tackle the variety of crises we are facing now as a species and as a planet of interconnected life. It's easy for the deluge of negative news painting a bleak picture of habitat loss, extinctions and a general war against nature's balance to get us down; it's not that often we hear poignant words of encouragement to remind us that keeping positive and seeing the long view is half the battle.

Such are the words of Canadian poet Shane Koyczan in one of his latest video poems, titled "Shoulders." Best known for his viral TED anti-bullying video, Koyczan's "Shoulders" is also expressed as a spoken word poem, animated by The Short Story Long and done as part of The David Suzuki Foundation's Blue Dot campaign.

In Koyczan's poem, we hear a retelling of how to approach our collective situation. Instead of seeing the world's problems as burdens, we can see it as a "responsibility" that we can gladly take on together, as there are no second chances, "we have one" only. Here Koyczan makes an appropriate reference to the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan's "pale blue dot" metaphor -- that in the vastness of outer space, we still only have one home, and that we need to cherish it, rather than throw it away.

It's a beautiful poem (unofficial transcript is here), musing on the possibilities of collective change done in the spirit of cooperation and faith. It fits well in the The Blue Dot movement, a multi-year, grassroots campaign to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include Canadians' (well, really everyone's) rights to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat healthy food. Check out Shane Koyczan, and join the Blue Dot campaign.