21.06.2012 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Giant Poem expresses feelings from the entire world about the oceans

© UNESCO/André Lima

A giant poem, written with emotions and ideas of people from all over the planet, covered on, Thursday – 21 June, Copacabana Beach, one of the most famous in the world. Brazilians, Americans, British, Japanese, French, Spanish and people from different nationalities participating in the Rio +20 came together to reflect on the need for the conservation of our oceans.

An unprecedented initiative in South America, created by Spanish artist Angel Arenas, was launched by UNESCO, at 10am, on the sidewalk of Copacabana, nearby Lido Square and Copacabana Palace Hotel, where a 150-metres long sheet was extended. Immediately, the Giant Poem path started to be covered with thoughts and emotions, handwritten and in different languages, about the oceans.

"Last week, inspired by a sweet dream, half awake, I dreamed of a generous and conciliatory world where everyone would be citizens of one nation, living in one land and one ocean," wrote, in French,  by the Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information, Eric Falt, who was the first to record his ideas on the Giant Poem.

Falt said that the initiative is a way to draw attention to one of the central themes of the mandate of the Organization, "Countries do not really remember the importance of the conservation of the oceans, they talk about solving the problems of forests and pollution, but they forget the oceans". He warned that we still must raise awareness to the fact that "oceans are interconnected and everything that happens in an ocean interferes on others”.

"Love Overboard", summed up the Publicity student Bruno Augusto de Assis Barbosa, 20, who develops a project in Rio disseminating the importance of taking care of the beaches in Rio.

"A life connected through the water that we are. If we protect the ocean we take care of ourselves", said another sentence, in Spanish,  by the Chilean Juan Gonzales, an environmentalist who participates in the Rio +20.

The garbage collector Maria de Fatima Santos, 30, who lives in the favela Maré, also could not resist, and stopped cleaning the sidewalk to express her sense of "passion" for the sea.

"The poem is a giant space for all the feelings from those who are not heard," reported the project author Angel Arenas, clearly moved by the writings, who has already implemented the project in 45 countries. "I've been in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, slums and places punished with misery, where people have nothing, but feelings. Poetry is more than a literature genre, it is our inner voice. Many believe poetry is not for everyone, but this is not true, "said Arenas.

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