The Charge of the Sparks Brigade

February Great Story by Amaury Berteaud, Bay Area North Fellow

The goal of this poem was twofold. First, to find a collective name for members of the CivicSpark program (beyond Sparkies). Second, to remake a tragic poem by Lord Tennyson (The Charge of the Light brigade) into a hopeful and hopefully humorous poem about what I feel CivicSpark is about.

The Charge of the Sparks brigade

Part of the AmeriCorps, none more fearless then they
The Sparks Brigade, rising to the earth’s defense
Here to fight climate change and build resilience
Each helping in their own expert way,
To eventually win the day
“Forward, the Sparks Brigade!”
“For the climate!” they said,
The forty eight, each surging to lend their aid
For climate change would not so easily be unmade

“Forward, the Sparks Brigade!”
Although they knew he fight would be long,
And the wages low; they had taken a vow.
Theirs always to investigate and to mitigate
Theirs always to help their community, to build resiliency
Theirs always to adapt, and foremost, always to act
The forty eight, each following this humble pact

Faced with climate change, this grave threat to humanity
Faced with climate change this blight on biodiversity
Faced with climate change, this exacerbator of poverty
Threatened with increased weather activity and rising seas
The forty eight swore that it wasn’t too late,
Dived Into the jaws of energy inefficiency,
Leaped Into the mouth of water wasting Hell
But with climate change being such an urgent plight,
How could they ever hope to win this fight?

Armed with patience and determination they charged
With their energy efficiency programs laid bare,
With their alternative commutes and reduced bus fares
Retrofitting the businesses here, upgrading homes there
And, although, under the paperwork’s yoke,
Right through the red tape they broke
Home and business-owners alike,
Freed from energy dependency in a single stroke
The forty eight no longer,
The legions of those they had helped
Forming a force the world had not yet met

Faced with climate change, with societal instability
Faced with climate change, with ever increasing inequality
Faced with climate change, with this prolonged adversity
threatened with crop failures and water shortages,
The forty eight vowed this would be a fight for the ages
Through sheer perseverance and heroic courage,
came through with energy efficiency upgrades
With determination and thoughtful communication,
Shattered the illusion and pushed for water conservation

Where does the Brigade’s story lead?
Every day, they are still tenaciously fighting
And with their efforts the tides may yet be turning
So have hope and take heed!
Your actions may just be missing link,
To bring society back from the brink
Now don’t meditate, don’t hesitate
Herculean efforts must still be made,
Join the Sparks Brigade!