The anthropocene — whether it began with agriculture, the colonization of the West, the Industrial Revolution or the atomic bomb — was born of human ingenuity. That’s what empowered us to create this mess, and what empowers us now to see it.

That’s the riddle. To grasp the problem, we have to slow down. To respond to it, we have to act fast. We have both no time and more time, says climate scientist Kate Marvel. Climate change is a slope. We can ease our descent. But we don’t think about it this way.

Hold the problem in your mind. Freak out, but don’t put it down. Give it a quarter-turn. See it like a scientist, and as a poet. As a descendant. As an ancestor.