It’s Earth Day ... the most important day on my calendar.
A day we set aside to celebrate our lovely little planet each year.
Considering our conduct and the impact we have had on the Earth there is not much to celebrate.
And that is indeed a shame because that would not be the case if we understood our place here.
It came to my attention when I was writing the song Sweet Mother Earth, that the metaphor I was using at the time ... as if the Earth was our mother ... is not a metaphor at all ... it is reality.
At the time I was also taking in several documentaries about the evolution of life.
The Earth according to the best information we have gathered so far is approx 4.5 billion years old ... and from what we know, life bloomed on this planet approx 3.5 billion years ago.
This data is not just idle speculation, it is based on factual information collected by scientists.
And they have gathered an abundant amount of info about when life started ... as simple single celled organisms ... that then gradually over a very long time evolved into more complex beings.
Science has over time collected all sorts of artifacts to illustrate this process ... fossils, remains.
How life started and why ... if there is a why ... is and may remain a mystery.
But the fact that this is what happened and how is indisputable in my less than humble opinion.
That being the case it occurred to me that The Earth is indeed our mother and with some help from the Sun ... our father ... our planet is the mother of all living things upon it.
If we could only think about our planet in those terms ... in the way we think about our human mothers ... it might go a long way to inspire us to behave in a much more considerate way here.
While I consider myself a spiritual person, I do not adhere to a formal religion of any kind.
But the one set of religious and spiritual ideas that resonates with me are those of the indigenous peoples of North America who saw the Earth as their mother and to whom they had obligations.
They understood that they were part of the community of life all around them, that it was incumbent upon them to show respect for the dignity, integrity of all living & non living things.
They gave thanks to all the animals they hunted for giving up their lives so they could live.
They regarded things like lakes as living beings ... they had a point as any canoeist will tell you. Every lake has its own ambience, its own character and its own set of living beings within it.
They understood clearly that were were only part of this system and not in dominion over it.
In my view we have a lot to learn from their vision, their understanding of the nature of reality.
In honour of this important day we are sharing a song with you that we have never shared before.
I wrote this song ... Who Knows ... with my dearly departed brother in music Larry Leishman.
Larry was a very funky blues guitarist but on this occasion his guitar never came out of the case.
He had bought himself a new Apple computer, discovered the program Garage Band on it and he came across all sorts of samples taken of real instruments so he started experimenting with them.
A while later he sent me a track of the outcome of his adventures which was a series of clips he had put together ... seemed he was also very funky using technology as well ... it was great.
But it was a collection of phrases, kind of connected but not something you would call a song.
However many of the sections of music he had created really appealed to me and I was listening to his track of phrases one night very late when I was working on other stuff on my computer.
At that time a melody to certain parts of what he had done started to occur to me but there was no way I could sing them to what he had sent ... but I was wailing away anyway at 2 AM or so.
Then one line of lyric fell down from the sky ... Who knows, somebody tell me, how will we look them in the eye. Who knows, next generation, what will be our alibi ... we don’t have one!
So I called a former student of mine who became one of the best recording engineers in the country ... Scott Campbell ... and asked him to help me create something I could sing to.
I gave him “the recipe” for the song which he then cut and pasted together seamlessly.
Then I took that, went to Chalet Studio where we always record and recorded the vocals.
The lyric for this song were inspired by the “final lecture” by Dr. David Suzuki ... who is still on television every week so I guess it wasn’t that final after all ... in which he stated that he felt that the message he had been trying to deliver for many years had fallen on deaf ears about which he was very disappointed and understandably somewhat disillusioned ... how could he not be!
He also said that he was always searching for ways to bring his message home to people.
The main theme in Who Knows is intended to get folks to understand that what we (they) are doing to this planet will have a profound impact on the world we are leaving for our kids.
Surely that would be a message that would resonate with a great many parents I thought.
As another line from the song goes ... We tell them that we love them, care for them in every way. While they are watching their world crumble, what are we gonna say? Who knows ...
So we decided to send the song to Dr. Suzuki as a gift to be used in any way he saw fit.
Eventually got a lovely e mail from him directly thanking us for taking the time to do that.
This recording of Who Knows is not at the same level of professional production as the collection of our material on Spotify or iTunes but I think it says what we wanted to say.
Every time I listen to it I get a big smile on my face and warmth in my heart and it brings back many fond memories Larry and all the fun we had making music together over the years.
I do hope you enjoy the song and that you will give some thought to the message here.
We are consuming this planet at a horrific pace, there are far too many of us on it and we are in the process of leaving our children and their children a terrible mess to deal with.
We must learn to show far more respect and consideration for our Sweet Mother Earth.
And darn quick! ... have a meaningful, transformational Earth Day.
Let’s all pull together, turn things around and do better for Sweet Mother Earth.