Sustainability Poem by Wilson Oryema

Not all stories begin with perfection

Not all stories begin with perfection
Or great luck
In many
we stumble early, we stumble often
But improve as time goes on

I for one fall into the latter...

My pursuit of sustainability
Is wrought with mistakes
Some way back in the day
Some even yesterday

Maybe chasing after things I may not need
Maybe not checking how things were made
Maybe many more things that I cannot remember today

All I can say is
Better days are here and more are on the way
For me and you

I found myself
On the way to work
With curious thoughts of play

So I explored my surroundings
And also my mistakes
As a result I found my careless actions
Were part of a much larger play

Like the flap of butterfly wings
Causing tornados across the seas
Continuously piling straw on a camels back
Will lead to a snap

In turn
If we arenʼt careful about our clothes, like...
Where they were made?
How and if the workers were paid?
Are the materials even safe?
And will the production process lead to more waste?
How can we look anywhere else to try and place blame!

So I take a stand
With intent and feet facing forward
To highlight problems
To highlight solutions and better options
And do what I can

Finding those with similar plans
Taking steps in tandem
Walking or running
With no plans to abandon

Whether we stumble here
Or over there
Only once
Or a thousand and one
Weʼll help each other up
Brush each other off
And continue on.

Wilson Oryema is an artist, writer and sustainability expert. His work focuses on consumption; its effect on human behaviour and the wider environment. This is explored through a variety of mediums, including; short film, documentary, image and most notably in his first book, ‘Wait’. The theme runs through his poem for COLLUSION, which details part of his own experiences with consumption, his interests in sustainability and which steps can be taken moving forward.