Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

Only Love Will Save this Place

In the ashes of the garden, In the zones of sacrifice,
These harsh, polluted places Once passed for paradise.
You’ll never see the GDP Save a soul from waste.
Only love will save this place.

When corporations raise the flag, When blighted empires rise,
When bankers, squeeze, extracting fees From anything alive,
In mercenary madness, Its hungry, hollow face,
Only love will save this place.

Some wait upon the  technology, Some wait upon the Lord.
And some believe we are naive To think we can afford
To tame the love of money, And its dark embrace.
Only love will save this place.
Let it not be forgotten There were others here before;
And many Native nations here are Silent now no more.
The rivers and the mountains Are in their DNA,
Who never yielded sovereignty, Nor gave their land away.

The ancient ones long buried here, They still appear in dreams,
To hearts untamed and unashamed To name what they believe
Can heal the power of madness, By the power of grace.
Only love will save this place.

Words & music ©Doug Hendren 2014 [Guitar, vocals, djembes: Doug Hendren]

What’s it about?  The title is borrowed from “Love Will Save This Place.” Chapter 10 of This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein’s new book on capitalism and the climate crisis.  The title is slightly misleading.  In truth we face multiple, interwoven crises of democracy, social justice and climate, all driven by the entrenched structure of an unregulated capitalist economy. “Extractivist” economies have thrived only by creating “zones of sacrifice”.  The “dark, Satanic mills” of England’s and America’s Industrial Revolution, for example, necessitated Dickensian ghettos of displaced and disenfranchised laborers, many of whom were children. Globalization has hidden much of the ugliness of our contemporary overconsumption by outsourcing the dirtiest jobs, and most of the associated pollution, to Mexico and Asia. We all now live in a “zone of sacrifice.”  Having exploited the world, “the 1%” has now turned on its home turf to maintain profits and privilege. As a result poverty and inequality are rising rapidly in the United States; Many municipalities are in or close to bankruptcy, seeing no strategy except cutting basic services and selling off public assets at pennies on the dollar. In this ugly manifestation of “free market” philosophy, Starting in Detroit and places contaminated by fracking (like Dimock, Pennsylvania), many American citizens are even losing access to drinking water. These events are not accidental. The economic distress and dislocations we now experience are the direct result of a strategy carefully crafted by the economic elite over decades. Outcomes of this strategy include the dismantling of New Deal banking policies of the 1930’s and the recent Supreme Court (“Citizens United” and “McCutcheon”) decisions that have allowed unrestrained flow of private and corporate money virtually complete control over US elections. Earth is the ultimate zone of sacrifice.  By now, most people, the world over, are aware that climate change is real, serious, and urgent. Our beautiful planet, graced by clean air and water, and a gentle, predictable climate fit for human civilization, can no longer be taken for granted.  The world economy is now controlled by a tiny group of exceedingly rich and powerful people and corporations, fiercely opposed to any policy limiting their freedom to extract and burn fossil fuels and dump their waste at no cost into our atmosphere. With current world fossil reserves estimated at nearly $5 trillion, fossil-fuel companies aggressively block any meaningful responses to climate change.By controlling all three branches of US government, and our media, these companies have been cultivating confusion and misinformation for many years.  Surely, sane people would never endanger themselves and the whole world just to keep the status quo? Unfortunately, history is rife with such examples.In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond chronicles many historical examples of precisely this behavior. The marketplace will not save us. Technology will not save us. Our (corporate) government will not save us.  Only massive public uprising, forcing our governments to adopt immediate clean energy policies, and taxing rather than subsidizing fossil fuels, will allow us to meet today’s challenge. One such policy, advanced by the the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has been shown to boost the economy, save lives, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Native American communities in the US and Canada never lost their deep connection  and respect for Mother Earth, and are now emerging as spiritual leaders in the climate crisis.  They have shown remarkable resilience and organization, despite generations of poverty and marginalization.  “Idle no more”, native peoples have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in both the US and Canada. Their First Nations status has provided them legal powers far above those of ordinary citizens when it comes to opposing the fossil-fuel industry’s ever more destructive methods of extraction. They are bringing determination and great moral power to the battle to preserve a habitual world for us all. Thanks to my wife Nancy Beall, and good friend and author Dave Pruett for editorial input!

Stanford Energy Study. The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today’s technology, in 20-40 years.
Into The Streets.  Video (9:21) of the recent People’s Climate March in New York
We fought apartheid. Now climate change is our global enemy. Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The Guardian.
Citizens Climate Lobby. A fun, smart, serious and very well organized group intent on making our Congress respond effectively to the climate crisis. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.  The global climate movement.
Bold Nebraska and the Cowboy and Indian Alliance have so far successfully stood up to TransCanada’s infamous Keystone XL Pipeline project.
Army Times: New report outlines national security threats of climate change.
US Budget Director warns: “Denying climate change will cost us billions”.
Viral Video Shows the Extent of US Wealth Inequality.

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