World on Fire
Wind on the water, fire in the hills. Am E7
All sway to the rhythm of satanic mills. E7 Am
Ghost trees on the shoreline stand in their graves, Am E7
And maritime cities return in the waves. E7 Am
The reek of a smokestack darkens the sky, F C C G
And rolling in thunder, a voice from on high E7 — Am
My world is on fire, you’re fanning the flame. F C C G
Do you really believe I don’t know your name? E7 Am
Behold in the mirror the web you have spun.
This world I created unraveled, undone.
Your throne of the hour is not what it seems.
Your riches and power dissolve in a dream
I made you a garden, you played me a joke,
Betrayed me for carbon, ashes and smoke.
You poison the water, lay waste to the fields,
And people grow hungry when all is revealed.
Choose death or choose life, choose blessing or curse.
Stand up for the living or fatten your purse.
I set these before you, now hear you my voice
Call heaven and earth to witness your choice.
And I’ll write on your bones forever this day:
Who belongs to the living, and who walked away.
©Doug Hendren 2021
What’s it about? As 2021 draws to a close, it is obvious to anyone paying attention that our global climate has become increasingly and dangerously unhinged. In my yard in central Virginia, lilacs bloomed at Thanksgiving, and now there are magnolia blossoms in mid-December. Last week tornadoes ripped through 8 states including Kentucky. Wildfires grow larger and more destructive each year, as climate-driven tree mortality turns forested areas into increasingly dry and flammable material. Humans and our livestock now make up 96% of all mammals on earth by weight, encroaching so heavily on habitats that we have increased the extinction rate to between 100 and 1,000 times the normal rate.
This song is based on a short passage in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy (30:19), where mankind is given a choice between life and death, a choice between blessing and curse, with the admonition to “therefore choose life, that you and your children may live.”
What could be a plainer choice than this? How well this passage applies to the present moment! Yet how fiercely our leaders cling to making financial calculations, falsely claiming that we cannot afford to take the decisive actions necessary to steering this fragile, leaking boat to safety. Choosing life means dropping these worthless, fatal arguments to face a clear and present danger head-on. Can we do it? Yes, if we act now and act together. What can you do? For a general introduction to where we are, and what is possible, have a look at the two resources below. I guarantee you’ll find some surprises.
DRAWDOWN: The world’s leading resource for climate solutions. https://drawdown.org/
REGENERATION: The world’s largest, most complete listing and network of solutions to the climate crisis. https://regeneration.org/home