A Grandmother Trying to Help the Planet
by Margaret Duda

With my advanced age and seven grandchildren,
I often worry about the world my generation
is leaving for our descendants and what more
we can do to help them inherit a better one.

Shorter and weaker than I used to be, I still leave
a carbon footprint destroying the planet I love.
Too arthritic to hike, and too unsteady to bike,
I look for new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

I limit my driving to necessary trips and events,
and lower thermostats for both heat and cold air.
I am a vegan, trying to save the animals I love from pain
and the environment I love from greenhouse gas emissions.

I refuse to use plastic containers that cannot be recycled
or to spray toxic pesticides linked to cancer on my weeds.
I continually downsize items I no longer want, need or use,
giving them to the less fortunate or to sales for charities.

I travel less, using a train or a bus instead of a plane,
donate to organizations who clean up the oceans,
give clean water to villages in impoverished nations,
and attempt to save animals on the verge of extinction,

But frequent fires and floods still demolish thousands
of acres of forests, vineyards, entire communities
as tornados and hurricanes destroy all in their path
while ice caps melt, sea waters rise, and droughts kill.

How will my grandchildren remember me some day as they sit
beneath the tree I bought each of them for Xmas this year?
Will they enjoy its shade, singing birds, scampering wildlife,
and remember I loved the earth I left them and tried to help?

PAINTING: Birds on Branches by Lin Fengmian.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As a senior citizen, I am limited as to how much I can do to help the planet heal, but it is a subject that interests me greatly since I have seven grandchildren and I worry about their future and the future of the planet. The climate changes and disasters have escalated so rapidly and I worry that my grandchildren will not be able to enjoy traveling around the world as much as I did and my children did.  As a travel photographer for the New York Times for 10 years, I traveled to 40 countries and loved the people, scenery, and culture in every single one of them.  I would love to see my grandchildren travel as much as I did,  as I learned so much on those trips and made lifelong friends.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a poet, Margaret Duda has had numerous poems published during the past year in Silver Birch Press, THE  POET (UK) anthology entitled Friends and Friendships, Around the World: Landscapes and Cityscapes anthology, A Love Letter (or Poem) to... anthology, several poems on Connections and Creativity in Challenging Times, and three poems in Viral Imaginations: Covid-19. As a short story writer, she has had short stories published in The Kansas Quarterly, the University Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the South Carolina Review, Fine Arts Discovery, Crosscurrents, Venture, Green River Review, and other journals. One of her short stories made the Distinctive List of Best American Short Stories.  A collection of her short stories is now under consideration in a contest. She has written five books of nonfiction, the latest are Four Centuries of Silver and Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charms. Listed in Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2021, she is currently working on the final draft of an immigrant family saga novel set in a steel mill town from 1910 to 1920.