I think most people would agree that the biggest thing on our collective agenda is Climate Change.
It is a matter of profound gravitas and complexity that requires all of our intelligence, wisdom and ability to find macro and micro solutions from changing government policies, business and industry practices to conscious and mindful actions as private individuals.
Honorary recycling is not enough anymore. Where possible, we need to eat local, up- cycle, think consciously about how we travel, what we buy, consume, how we do business and how we keep one another encouraged to make a difference, however small. And, probably, because I am not an expert – a host of other things that could make a difference too.
There was something about those walruses in David Attenborough’s recent series that really got me. Those desperate great big bodies with nowhere to rest because climate change and rising water levels have taken their usual resting places. All of those bodies just falling, sadly and uselessly to their deaths from the cliffs of an island because there was simply no room for all of them.
They became a bit of a visual metaphor for me of the effects of climate change, and perhaps a prophetic image for other creatures and some humans around the world.
Much of the change needs to happen on a macro scale – governments and corporations need to put their brightest minds and conciliatory specialists into creating new systemic structures that work without the effect of creating more social imbalances. On a small personal level we can tinker round the edges with various initiatives that fit our personal situations and lives.
Sometimes we can feel that there is little we can do- but growing in our midst is a movement which echoes the social justice movements of the past, that created needed change at the time. The suffragette movement, the movement against racism and apartheid. This movement is Extinction Rebellion which has mushroomed around the world. It is the one avenue that I can see that ordinary people can lend their voice to in order to put pressure upon our slothful, self-interested capitalistic blinkered governments. If enough of us give our voices then the pressure builds on the systems of power to take notice and accelerate change for the better.
I have only, so far, been to one local Extinction Rebellion meeting so I am no great expert. But its tenets – read out at the meeting – are fair, inclusive and aim to be non-religious, not aligned to any political party. What is particularly attractive to me is its emphasis on the Gandhian principles of non-violence. A group that is about the care of the planet and all who live on her has to have non-violence written into any of its actions, otherwise it would be a hypocritical paradox.
The red rebels in the extinction rebellion protests serve as an artistic and poetic mimed metaphor to bring us back from anger to mindfulness, from destruction to pathos. I am also hoping that this platform of humanitarian and environmental protest can be a space where other art forms with meaning can be showcased.
As a songwriter, there is something I can do beyond my recycling once a week. I can write a song. So, here is my song to encourage the listener to add their voice to the mass that are calling for change to environmental policies on a global scale. If enough of us join in, then we will reach a point when the powers that be are forced to act – that point is called “The Tipping Point”. Ironically, there is also a tipping point for climate change when eco systems stop working and negative loops of increasing heat etc are created. So, we need to reach one tipping point before we reach the other.
A tipping point for us all
To fall, fall, fall
Or rise, rise anew- and stand tall.
The map is shrinking
As pieces of puzzle fall
Ice to water: land to sea
No place, no place, for them or me.
Oh Ah EE Ay EE Oh ( In two part harmony)
The clock is ticking
The timer has all but gone
Deserts grow, forests burn
No-where, No- where, for them or me.
Oh Ah EE Ay EE Oh ( two part harmony)
The land is thirsty
Migrations as species fall
Crops to dust, rootless, homeless
Everywhere, No- where, Somewhere, for them or me.
Oh Ay EE Ay EE Oh (two part harmony)
Small instrumental Break
But life is beating
Our blood is rising, searching for unity
Together we stand or together we’ll fall
One world, our world, a home for us all (this line in two part harmony)
Some of my songs have experimental and unusual ideas for instrumentation. This one really doesn’t! I want it to be a song that a performer/singer shares with the audience/protestors. The chorus is actually the starting point which we return to and is for everyone to sing along to. Each verse ends with a simple two part harmony for everyone to do. I imagine all the men taking the lower part and the women the upper part. It would be easy to teach as you went along. It is in E minor, is simple and folky and I imagine simple guitars and possibly a violin for instrumentation. Basically, instruments that are not difficult to move if this is a song that is performed in the streets. The last verse has a slight alteration in the melody to represent hopeful change.
I am going to a small party tomorrow night of friends who have been tracking my song-writing journey – I am going to take it along with me and teach it to them. Many of them are also key members of the local Extinction Rebellion meeting so perhaps they have ideas of how I could further use it. Perhaps it will go further than the local town- I hope so. I hope it can be used in whatever way to create the positive ‘Tipping Point” of pressure on the government rather than the negative one of environmental cycles that have fallen apart.
It is one small action that I can personally do…
First published on Abi’s World of Music site