In my last post, I introduced the track list for the upcoming album, M.E. VI (a requiem). In this post, I’d like to share a narrative from the album’s liner notes that provides context for the songs and insight into how they fit into the structure of the album. (Don’t forget to follow me on Bandcamp and other social platforms for up-to-the-minute updates on the release.)
Here’s a Little Thought Experiment…
Imagine for a moment – regardless of your preferred worldview – that scientifically indicated climate change – regardless of the cause – is real. Since the very beginning of the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere has risen to the level of the Pliocene epoch, three to five million years ago, when the world was 5 to 7 degrees warmer than today1 and the planet was experiencing global sea levels 25 meters higher. The scientific consensus is that the rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases is trapping heat, causing the planet to warm and climates to change.
At the same time that CO2 levels have risen so dramatically, major U.S. – and eventually trans-global – corporations have created wealth at a rate unheard of in the history of mankind. And yet, that wealth has concentrated primarily in the hands of a very small percentage of the global population who exploit planetary resources with little regard for people, societies, ecosystems, and – importantly – the life those ecosystems sustain.
Life’s a Gas in the Greenhouse
As warming has accelerated, the most dramatic changes can be seen in areas that are, or were recently covered by ice that had been in place since the last ice age, some 11,700 years ago. It has been estimated that 95% of the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic is already gone. Around the world, glaciers, which are – literally – rivers of ice, are receding and disappearing at astonishing rates of speed, devastating and eliminating habitats that have existed for thousands of years. It has been estimated that a third or more of the remaining glaciers will melt in this century. We are, in fact, redefining…
Next, consider that reported die-off of significant numbers of vertebrate and invertebrate life across the planet is indicative of the leading edge of a new mass extinction event – the Sixth Mass Extinction, M.E.VI. This has been reported by organizations like the World Wildlife Fund2, and in scientific journals, including The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science3, Biological Reviews4, and many others. The main causes proposed for this die-off have been climate change, loss of habitat, hunting and harvesting beyond a species’ ability to reproduce, poisoning of the environment both deliberately and accidentally (or incidentally), and general stress.
Consider how this must appear from the point of view of those species experiencing the die-off. In particular, imagine sentient, or self-aware species whose members mate, sometimes for life, live in large groups or societies, raise families, or make impressive regional or global migrations to specific areas where they eat, mate, breed, and thrive. Now, their experience is increased isolation, loss of habitat, loss of thier societies and families, loss of life. They look around at the devastation and incomprehensibly wonder where “everyone” has gone.
So Still, My Love
Scientists have broken down the history of the earth into geological epochs, defined by the dominant geological factors that influenced climate and the environment, and therefore, the development of life during those periods. Scientists have named the current epoch, the Anthropocene because, for the first time, the dominant factor influencing climate and the environment is not a geological factor, but the influence of humans.
As human beings on this planet, we do not communicate with non-domesticated animals and are not able to understand their possible range of reactions to this reality. Aside from song-birds, when we see wildlife in our neighborhoods, our cities, our suburbs, our parks or yards, our reaction is to exterminate them. If an animal or an insect is not expressly permitted, it is considered an invader.
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
Again, imagine that you are one of those animals. How would you feel about the dominion of the human species?
Imagine further that scientific reports are true that of all the animals (including human beings) on the planet today, just 4% are wild animals. 4%! Now imagine that you are one of those wild animals. Again, how would you feel? Like your world is receding?
Receding Without Rest (Run for your lives!)
Then, there is that moment of realization. When you look around and realize what has happened. That you have ignored the consequences of your actions because you denied the value of the lives that were being lost. When you look around and take it all in, the more you see, the more you…
And so you take a look around in panic. You think that there still must be time to do something about it. All our lives, we’ve been told we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. But you don’t know where to start. You don’t know how to start. You don’t really know if there’s anything that you can start. The tipping point has been crossed and the echoes of those lost singing…
And how will you feel when what’s left of the human race is alone – or nearly alone – on the planet, and you are left with the knowledge that it was within your power to prevent the Sixth Mass Extinction? It’s judgement day. You stand accused and found guilty of sentient genocide as the lost souls plead their case and call out your anthropo…sin.
M.E.VI (a requiem)