Keeps On Coming Down
Can’t believe I used to boast, A D E
Living high, up on the coast. A D E
Nothin left now, just a ball and chain, A D E ADE
Gray Atlantic took it all,
Ripped right through the old sea wall.
Ain’t no way to take it back again.
And the rain keeps on coming down. D E A F#m
The rain keeps on coming down. D E A
Lesson learned when I was young:
Just build it back and twice as strong.
No one’s gonna make you leave your home.
But bluffs and beaches disappear,
And more goes missing every year.
No one here that I can blame it on.
Carolina, people say, D D#dim Amaj7 A#dim
Mighty hard to up and walk away. B7sus4 E7 A A#dim
Sweet New England, count your days. D D#dim Amaj7 A#dim
Rich man profits, and look who pays! B7sus4 E7 A E7
Say the ocean’s gonna climb,
Stay up for a long long time.
Nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
Your patriots in days gone by,
Your history to touch the sky,
And not a trace remains upon a shore.
And the rain keeps on coming down.
What’s it about? I wrote this song in response to images of Hurricane Florence flooding North Carolina in 2018. Extraordinarily heavy rains and flooding have become much more common along the East Coast and Gulf Coast in recent years, as a result of global heating. Warmer waters heat the air, increasing the power of storm systems. Warmer air holds more moisture, causing heavier rains. Re-insurance giants like Munich RE and Swiss RE have shown large increases in insured losses as the earth grows hotter. Most losses, however, are not insured, bringing countless families to financial ruin.
In coastal areas, global warming is also causing rising sea levels and bigger storm surges, eroding coastal properties and threatening some of our great coastal cities, including Miami, Boston, New York and New Orleans. Mid-Atlantic coastal lands not have “ghost forests,” as salt water intrusion kills trees but leaves them still standing. Some of the first farms in America are now the first to go under water, their history vanished into salt-water marshes.
It’s happening all over the world. Even inland areas which are normally dry have seen disastrous flooding recently. Large human populations live in areas within only a few feet of sea level, and rising water will drive migration on an enormous scale in coming decades. US military experts call climate change “a threat multiplier,” and are keenly aware of the humanitarian, starvation and global security risks posed by such forced migrations.
Nancy and I were married in 1975 in a white New England church not far from Plymouth Rock. It’s an area steeped in rich history, and much of it soon likely to be lost to rising seas.
So much of our most celebrated American history has taken place on our coasts! Losing this history is one more consequence of failing to respond in time to what climate science has been telling us for forty years. Do you care enough to act?
NASA: Rising Tides: Understanding Sea Level Rise
National Geographic: Sea Level Rise Explained