LONG HAS THE EARTH

Long has the grass been growin’,
And the wind been blowin’,
Long has the earth been rolling ’round.
And long has the rain been coming down,
Long has the rain been coming down.

But you know, I can’t remember
Trees blooming in December,
Though we pretend to disagree.
Just can’t burn in one night
Million years of buried sunlight,
As if we got it all for free.

So it’s goodbye gentle seasons,
Though we all know the reason,
It never ceases to amaze:
While tempests toy with cities,
We argue with committees
To see if man can change his ways.

Long has the grass been growin’,
And the wind been blowin’,
Long has the earth been rolling ’round.
And long has the rain been coming down,
Long has the rain been coming down.

Worshiping power and freedom,
Prisons of our own creation,
Locked full of poor and angry men.
Can’t see that what they’ve started
Will leave ’em broken-hearted,
Locked out of Eden once again.

Long has the grass been growin’,
And the wind been blowin’,
Long has the earth been rolling ’round.
And long has the rain been coming down,
Long has the rain been coming down.

Words and music ©Doug Hendren 2014

What’s it about?  This song was inspired by a line from Walt Whitman’s stirring American hymn: “Song of the Exposition” (1871).  His first section ends: “Long has the globe been rolling round”, as if awaiting the advent of America, a nation of truly free men and women.

What happened?  Intoxicated by our very power and freedom, we have gotten ourselves in deep trouble. Worshiping “freedom” like the proverbial “golden calf” our frontiers are now gone. We have led the world to new heights of extraction and consumption, long ago passing prudent limits to growth in population, resource extraction, and fossil fuel combustion. We have altered the chemistry of the oceans and the atmosphere, now facing a fork in the road. Our very survival as a civilization now depends on changing our ways, acting in the common good, and rapidly adapting to the new world that is already here.  Bill McKibben calls it “Eaarth: a tough new planet”.

It is difficult to grasp just how suddenly this has all happened. In the course of only about 200 years, humans have burned many millions of years’ worth of “buried sunlight”, enough carbon fuels to raise atmospheric CO2 to levels not seen for 600,000 years. By comparisons, human farms and cities only appeared about 10,000 years ago. As old as the earth is, we have decisively altered our biophysical environment in the blink of an eye.

But isn’t there still a lot of debate about climate change?  In a word, no. Check out this simple graphic. Among qualified scientists there is essentially 100% agreement that humans are causing climate change.  Even the climate deniers in Congress and the oil industry know perfectly well what is happening. Does anyone think the U.S. Navy hasn’t noticed that an ordinary ship can now sail unobstructed across the North Pole? If your favorite source of news is telling you something different, if might be misleading you on other subjects as well. Why do they do this? It’s been going on since the infamous “tobacco science” of the 1970’s. There are companies getting very rich from causing us all harm, and they don’t want anything to change.

What can we do, then, about climate change? The United States is the single biggest force in the world today preventing effective international climate response. As long as fossil fuel interests are in control of our government, there’s not much we can do.  To do something about climate, first we have to get our government back.

Let’s Recognize our Common Interests:  While our two political parties in the U.S. fight over social issues, they are completely united in giving the economic elite (“the 1%”) complete control over our government and our economy, siphoning off more and more of our national wealth and productivity into their own private bank accounts, which they move offshore to evade taxation.  They get away with it all in the name of “freedom” and “deregulation”. The result? An astonishing level of economic inequality in the United States, foreclosed homes, declining education and bankrupt cities. And the loss of democracy in the United States.

OPPORTUNITY:  There is an alternative, and we can do it. Success will require recognizing that, liberal or conservative, we want our country back, and we want our world back:

1) Get money out of the U.S. political process. This includes overturning the notorious 2010 Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision, which has turned American democracy into a system of legalized corruption.   Find out more:  Move to Amend.

2) If we are able to establish a true free energy market, we will solve much of the climate crisis.  Renewable energy technology is now cheaper than fossil fuels, if we take away ALL subsidies, and make them all pay ALL their true costs. After all, that’s what a real market is. For an excellent video explanation of this idea from an arch-conservative viewpoint, watch: Changing the Dialogue on Energy and Climate: Bob Inglis at TEDx. You may be surprised!

3) Get educated about climate change, who is responsible, and how to change it. Share this information with your friends. Climate change, and the fact that human activity is behind it, is indisputable at this point. There is no debate. It’s time to stop arguing and start acting.

4) Help wake people up to what an exquisite and fragile world we inhabit, and how fast we are unraveling it. Check out Pachamama.org for beautiful films and learning / teaching resources.

Other Resources:

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, 5th ipcc report.

Citi Report: Energy Darwinism: The evolution of the energy industry

Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature.

Billion-Dollar Climate-Change Denial Network Exposed.

The Guardian: Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change.

Carbon Tax: New York Times 12-5-13 Large Companies Prepared to Pay Price on Carbon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Susan Weems says:

    Thank you so much for that beautiful earth music. I have shared it with many and I know each of them will share it with many and —
    What does one need to do to sing it in public and/or professionally?

    • Doug Hendren Doug Hendren says:

      My music is all free for the using (Creative Commons). Attribution is of course appreciated. But I do it for one reason only: to help our poor, impaired species wake up and act while we still can. Thanks for helping! Let me know how it goes.

  2. Thank you so much, Doug. for the beautiful music and the incisive, important ideas it conveys. I appreciate what you’re doing.

  3. How do we get 350.org to use this as a theme song.
    It is SO singable and the message is right on.

  4. Laura Dansby says:

    So beautiful! The visuals with the music and poetry are heartbreaking. The little birds on the branch really got to me. Thanks for another great one!
    Laura

  5. As always, creative and just plain excellent.

  6. Ruth Stoltzfus Jost says:

    Doug, The song really touched me. The TED talk by Inglis that you linked to near the end of your commentary was the most hopeful thing I’ve seen in years.

  7. spaceis411 says:

    your best yet… keep it up!

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