Grøndahl, Cathrine

BY CATHRINE GRØNDAHL / Translated from Norwegian by Roger Greenwald

 

 

Can trees file suit? Trees can’t file anywhere

Nature encloses them in laws, which others are the keepers of

It’s like talking to a wall

If the walls had ears. Lay your ear against the wall and listen:

The cry in the forest, the rain for days on end, the tree that keeps falling

One day a door may open in the law, and in goes a whole forest

and raises hill after hill of cases. Listen:

We indict all nation states. We stand in the tragedy of the commons

and you don’t notice. The poisons take effect everywhere

The nations dole them out in quotas to the whole world. They always land

here, and you don’t detect it. We’re losing our breath in the Amazon,

leaf by leaf, overdosing in the Black Forest, and in Pasvik we’re dying

of the nickel we’re drinking from the Kola Peninsula

We are the cry in the forest, the rain for days on end, the tree that keeps

falling. Lie down under a tree. Look:

 

//

* Based on “Should Trees Have Standing” (1972), by Christopher Stone, a key article in environmental law.