Words for the Wild began as a politically-inspired mission: to object to the destruction of ancient woodland in a corner of Hampshire to make way for an enormous housing development. We did so in the best way we – Amanda and Louise – knew: with poetry and prose celebrating the natural world and warning against the consequences of its loss. Those words generated an energy that was bigger and more powerful than we’d ever envisaged. This is thanks to everyone who shared our vision and submitted to our site, whether we published your work or not, and to all of those who read the work of our talented writers. We remain deeply grateful to you all.
In the end, we couldn’t keep up with the success that Words for the Wild became. We closed submissions and took a long break from the site. In all honesty, we weren’t sure we would ever reopen it.
Now, however, we feel the fire again. Even if you’ve never seen a David Attenborough documentary and just the mention of a “nice walk” brings you out in hives, the current UK “government” proposes deregulation policies that should bring us all to the barricades.
It isn’t only that the polar ice caps are melting and the Amazon rainforest is burning. If Liz Truss and cronies get their way, we’ll see so-called “investment zones” introduced even in the UK’s national parks, AONB, SSSIs, World Heritage Site buffer zones, and designated greenbelt land. Imagine your rivers silted up or contaminated with deliberate sewage spills. Think about your hills and dales scarred by fracking, the playground where your children yomp covered with houses, the nutrition leached from the over-stressed soil where your food is grown. Then refocus and consider the forthcoming COP27 summit. At the time of writing, the only confirmed UK delegate is Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose long-standing support for fracking and the expansion of the oil and gas industry suggests not so much a risk of “green-washing” as “green-erasure”.
We want to know how this makes you feel. What do you want to say in response? Do you trust that a requirement on local councils to “mitigate environmental impacts” on investment zones will preserve the green spaces you love and ensure they survive to thrive. If, like us, as a member or supporter of environmental groups, you’re proud to be part of Liz Truss’ “anti-growth coalition”, please join us to help remind those in power that out-of-control or mismanaged growth is not only cancerous in the body.
So, what do we want?
We want your political poems, your paeans to the natural world, your slash and burn words. Feed our fire and we’ll use it to light beacons of warning, of praise, of despair and – we hope – of celebration.
We’re only looking for 20 pieces. That’s one for each member of the Cabinet – and, who knows, we might send them the results. We’re happy to receive poetry or short prose pieces (no more than 1000 words for prose). Ideally, we’d like unpublished work – but we reserve the right to make exceptions. We’ll get back to everyone who submits as soon as possible and will close submissions as soon as we’ve chosen our 20 pieces.