Filipino American poet Isabella Avila Borgeson, a recent UC Berkeley graduate in ethnic studies, is one of four spoken word artists chosen to perform in conjunction with climate talks now going on in Paris.
She was chosen from among candidates who entered a worldwide contest sponsored by the Global Call for Climate Action, a coalition of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world aimed at mobilizing civil society and the public around climate change.
Borgeson’s winning video is “Yolanda Winds,” a piece she wrote in response to supertyphoon Haiyan (also called Yolanda), which devastated much of Southeast Asia, including her mother’s hometown of Tanauan, Leyte, in the Philippines, in November 2013. Her mother barely survived the storm, one of the strongest on record.
“I moved back to Tanauan one month after the typhoon to help my mother rebuild our home, and stayed for the next two years working as a community organizer on relief/rehabilitation projects” throughout the region, she writes in the text accompanying her YouTube video of “Yolanda Winds.”