'They talk ...COP out'

An original poem written and read by renowned ELT author and trainer, Alan Maley

We were pleased to meet Alan Maley again at the recent Humanizing Language Teaching conference, organised by GSS member The Bridge, in Bratislava. Alan is very passionate about the need for environmental action in our sector, and especially insightful on the role story telling, creative writing and poetry can play in raising awareness and shifting mindsets.

One of his most recent works is the poem 'They talk… COP out’ which is a powerful summary of the frustration felt by many of us following COP28. Alan was kind enough to recite the poem for us and you'll find the recording here: 'They talk ...COP out' by Alan Maley

We've also included the text below. Perhaps your teachers could use the poem as a springboard for a discussion with their students. 

The world burns

And they talk.

The world floods

And they talk.

The world starves

And they talk.

The world dies

And they talk.


The icebergs melt

The glaciers shrink

The crops shrivel

The flowers wilt

And they talk.


The forests expire.

The sea rises.

The air turns toxic -

A life of crisis,

And they talk.


As they drown,

they talk.

As they burn,

they talk,

And as they gasp

their last,

as they die,

they still try

to have

the last word.