By Mikail Yasir
9th grade, New Tech High @ Coppell, TX
With lines from "Cost of a KitKat: Big Brands Leave Sugar Farmers at the Mercy of Climate Extremes" by Arvind Shukla, Gurman Bhatia, Isabelle Gerretsen, Mayank Aggarwal, and Meenal Upreti, a Pulitzer Center reporting project
World's largest food and beverage company
2,000 brands from A-Z—
Hsu Fu Chi
Labor markets from the Arabian to the Caribbean Sea
Competing with the local petite bourgeoisie
Extracting resources like they extract labor
A capitalist market share would-be savior
Steal, exploit, enslave
Disorder: the real export this system craves
Achilles heel to the system—we contribute.
Automobiles, meals, and steel—it unevenly distributes.
Cruelty not in spite of, but because
Not fortuity, but a root cause
The system’s flaws
Dig in their claws
Unhinge their jaws
And consume everything in sight
Capital to pause
Not a bug but a feature
Nestle’s something of a creature
Capital’s disrupted ecosystem
Runs rampant reigning in Uttar Pradesh’s sugar workers’ late payments,
The Chief Executive of fair trade says
‘Exploitation breeds exploitation’
Unfair wages, late-stage capitalist traces
It stumbles and fumbles in phases
Putting communities up in blazes
The anguish of our ages
Nestle leaves people at the mercy of climate extremes
To which they contribute
118.68 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2021,
More than entire countries like the Netherlands, Austria, or Libya
The major exporters of emissions, not just nations—
but multinational corporations.
A billion-dollar industry unable to fulfill basic needs
Basic pay, timely payments, and helping climate-based losses
Governments are left to foot the bill to reform,
A small labour contractor from Ambajogai in Maharashtra,
told Climate Home that the latest reform scheme “is not functional yet.”
What to expect in a system based on multinational debt?
But we don't dare to make the systemic changes needed
How should we, when we benefit from that instability ‘we’ seeded?
So keep it going
Let’s keep running, reforming, while the wheels
of capital keep turning
Leave the stove running
the faucet on, and let us be surprised
When we find the world around us flooding and burning,
Or should we turn the other way
Make another way
Turn on the brakes
And break from the fate of this system we hate?
Mikail Yasir is a rising sophomore at Newtech High @ Coppell in Texas. He's ambitious in the pursuit of exploring new ideas and frameworks through art like this. He hopes a piece such as this can resonate with others and push to highlight systemic issues faced by people globally, despite how much of a shift it may take to change these systems. He's excited to work with the Pulitzer Center to put these global issues into a framework in which they may be one day reconciled.