Eliza Schiff

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, ‘19    “As a young person of the world who has experienced first hand the danger of a changing climate, I live in perpetual awareness of the threat that faces my generation. I know that speaking out about climate change is one of the greatest powers we have to combat this danger, and we must use our voices to the best of our abilities.”   Eliza lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a neighborhood strongly affected by Hurricane Sandy. She is inspired by the youth climate change movement and the natural world. She has a passion for theater and has written and produced shows for her school’s drama department. This passion, combined with her interest in environmental science, has led to her desire to pursue a career in which she can communicate environmental themes through performance art.

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, ‘19

“As a young person of the world who has experienced first hand the danger of a changing climate, I live in perpetual awareness of the threat that faces my generation. I know that speaking out about climate change is one of the greatest powers we have to combat this danger, and we must use our voices to the best of our abilities.”

Eliza lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a neighborhood strongly affected by Hurricane Sandy. She is inspired by the youth climate change movement and the natural world. She has a passion for theater and has written and produced shows for her school’s drama department. This passion, combined with her interest in environmental science, has led to her desire to pursue a career in which she can communicate environmental themes through performance art.

Off Beat 

I didn’t know wind could scream.

I’d heard it whisper, coo, call out to the world,

even cry,

But never, in all of its ever-presence and all of my ever-presence, did I hear it

Scream.

Not until the sky was green and stale

As if the blue I knew like the creases of my mother’s eyes,

Like the twirl of my brother’s hair

Had never never painted the world above and I had never stared up at it- lost.

The wind screamed and Power lines- broke

Branches- broke
Windows- broke

The perfect stillness I always knew of the night- broke

And I thought for a time, maybe I broke too.

I wanted to see it. To look out of the window as rain fell...or maybe rain took.

To look out and brace the storm sung by satellites and weather balloons and

channel 4 that sent us undercover; left us wrecked, crying out to our earthly

Mother.

Fallible and delicate and defeated just like Hannibal-

Our waiting has made an icarious out of animals.

I’ve heard

A band played along as the Titanic went down

A sad and mournful tune as hope ran aground.

Now our ship is sinking, our world is burning, our cities languish as they gasp for

Air.

But who is dancing to this melody?

Is it you Charles and David Koch, who sit behind a desk in an office, holding back

the remedy?

You, idols of the older generation who sit with the blinds drawn shut-

Who sit with the windows sealed?

Is that why you can’t hear the wind screaming?

Or maybe it is that you won’t hear the wind screaming.

But me? We? Us. We have grown weary of this worn out beat, this wreckage

Waltz.

If forever could be measured by the meter of your music

And if your music was the ricochete of “they will fix it some other day,”

Or the piercing cacophony of D.C, and C.F.O, and B.P, and tired greed,

You’re counting in fours, and we can’t stomach it anymore.

one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

It’s the sound of drilling, and pumping, and filling, and dumping

CO2 in the atmosphere

that promised us

     the air we breath.

It’s the sound of storm surges clawing at the only home we’ve ever known.

The neglect of a planet whose life you bemoan.

This is the silence of change that has left us weeping in vain.


Not the absence of noise, but the deafening cry of a silenced protest, too known to

hear over.

Well

Hear us now- congregated and aggravated and syncopated.

Our beat is not like that of the past.

We’re counting in threes nows

You and me and us and now.

You and me and us and now.