Gliese Foundation
Gliese Foundation
Climate change, global warming, and the environment

Dying of starvation by the thousands

(Category: Poetry)

Dying of starvation by the thousands


They dwell in the Arctic.

With branches on their heads.

They do not cross the sky,

But migrate large distances every year.

Searching for food,

Always searching for food.


Reindeers are the gardeners of the North.

They devour grass, lichens, moss.

As they graze in mass,

The green mantle shrinks,

The white snow expands.

Less sunlight captured by the green,

More reflected back by the white.

Cutting and eating,

In such a fragile region,

They alter the albedo,

Reducing local warming.


But reindeers themselves

Cannot cope with global warming.

Now during Summer,

Ice disappears over the Arctic sea.

Sunlight penetrates the skin of the sea.

The sea becomes warmer,

The clouds too,

And their cargo to the land.

In the past, the land received mainly snow, 

Now it is mainly rain.

And the rain becomes a deep layer of ice.


The reindeers stamp their hooves against the ice,

As they have done for thousands of years,

Searching for the green food below.

They stamp and stamp,

But they cannot break the thick wall of ice.

Their hooves are not hard enough.

They can see the green food,

So close,

But they cannot reach it.

One die, then another, and another.

They are dying of starvation by the thousands.

Those who survive lose weight.

The calves are born smaller.


Earth is losing its gardeners of the North.

One day they would become a fantasy.

A fantasy to be remembered in old children´s books.


Pablo Rodas-Martini


Some of the science behind the poem: 

"80,000 reindeer have starved to death in Siberia because of melting sea ice," November 2016. 

"Reindeer shrink as climate change in Arctic puts their food on ice," December 2016. 

"Starvation killed 80,000 reindeer after unusual Arctic rains cut off the animal´s food supply," November 2016.