Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

Ballad of the Golden Goose

Well, once there was a golden goose,     G
And every day she did produce                C
An egg of 24 carat solid gold.                 D  G  D
You’d think that we’d be satisfied          G  G7
With all that wealth she did provide.     C  C#dim
But some stories just don’t get old.         D  G

People started getting sore,                         C
Thought that we deserved some more.     G
She’s  keeping too much for herself!         G Em D
“Let’s kill the golden goose,” said we,       G  G7
“See how rich we’re gonna be.”                   C  A7
Counting on our fingers all that wealth.    D  G

Now, God gave many things to men,          G
But patience wasn’t one of them.                 C
In a while, the truth began to dawn.          D  G  D
For after all was said and done,                  G  G7
Only feathers, blood and bone.                   C  C#dim
And just like that, the golden goose was gone.   D  G

Story we’ve all heard before,                         C
But more than just a metaphor.                   G
We’re making the same mistakes today.   G  Em  D
And a sadder, but a wiser man,                   G  G7
I’ll sing the story best I can,                         C   A7
And hope that we can find a better way.    D  G

The golden goose is everywhere –                  G
The earth and water, fire and air,                  C
And worth its weight in gold, I guarantee.   D  G  D
It’s the apples hanging on the trees,              G  G7
Salmon swimming in the seas,                        C  C#dim
All the little things you get for free.                D   G

And it only takes a few degrees.                      C
Earth’ll shake us off, like fleas.                        G
The other animals as well.                              G  Em  D
She’s all fed up with our abuse,                     G  G7
Trying to kill that golden goose,                    C  A7
If we keep on turning heaven into hell.         D   G

And while we wobble back and forth,              G
Animals are moving north.                                 C
The forests and the fields left behind.          D  G  D
And I recommend a list you make,                 G  G7
Of things for granted that you take,              C  C#dim
And all the ways they’re intertwined.              D  G

Hoping that we still can learn,                           C
And still some acres yet to burn.                       G
And every story’s got to have a catch.            G  Em  D
So if I didn’t make it clear,                                 G  G7
There really is a moral here.                              C  A7
Don’t count your golden eggs —-                      D
Before they hatch!                                                  G

                                                                          ©Doug Hendren 2023

What’s it about?  Well, who doesn’t know the story of the golden goose? I well remember it being read to me as a child, and even at that tender age knowing that killing the goose was a bad idea.

Yet, how blithely we go about destroying our own life-support systems on Spaceship Earth, continuing to base our global economy on fossil fuel combustion, even while we have disrupted a 12,000 year winning streak (the Holocene period) of stable, life-sustaining, predictable global seasons which enabled us to grow food and develop global civilization? Even as we recognize that melting ice caps and rising seas begin to threaten coastal cities, and epic droughts, fires and floods set new records daily in all corners of the world, we still allow special economic interests connected with coal, oil and gas extraction to make the rules. A child can understand how stupid this is, why can’t we?

Climate change is just the most alarming symptom of our time. But the combustion of fossil fuels is the underlying disease. We know better. And we have the means right now to do better.

This is a fine planet, and worth fighting for. Let’s not kill it!



  1. I heard a piece on NPR related to Black Friday and overconsumption (aka GREED). Added a new acronym to my vocabulary and have heard it twice in a few days: FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Applies to bargains, keeping up with others, etc. Applicable to killing the Golden Goose, too

  2. Well done and sung, Doug! So true,
    Vote Blue.

  3. Tom, in response to your “vote blue” comment, you may enjoy this piece I wrote on the way home from the “pussy march” in DC several years ago. Lyrics taken mostly from all the clever signs: You’ve Got to be Good

  4. “It’s the apples hanging on the trees,” May they always be Macintoshes, dear Doug. You are a saint.

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