Hiking up the hill this morning, headphones plugged into chilly ears, I thought of the alternative facebook profile (click Placebook_Profile–blank to view) I created last night for Campus Ecology. Beyond helping me to realize how little I actually do to protect the things and places I love, the activity had me pondering my music choice. I have always been a lover of lyrics, and the Placebook query about songs that represent my values and ideal earth left me scrolling through my itunes library for a significant period of time–google searching the lyrics of songs I forgot I had.
This morning I found a song that should have been included in the section of my Placebook profile that asks for “Music that expresses my values and hopes for my earthly home.” This song, “Ill With Want” by the Avett Brothers, represents how I felt as I completed the Placebook designed to portray ecological values and networks rather than shallow social screen time. The lyrics of this tune play on our cultural illness of greed, and play on the idea that we allow everything we cherish to be lost and the belief that we can get “everything we want” if we have just “a little more.” The Avett brothers lament the loss of identity and sense of self to a greedy consumer culture. Listening to their melodic cries, I feel like I’ve lost myself a little as well. I have opinions and values, but I need to do something with them. This is why the lyrics for this particular song fit into my “hopes for my earthly home.” I don’t hope for a poisonous greed, but I hope that by acknowledging it I will be able to begin to cure it. I turn the pages of the morning newspaper, and I want to feel the desperation of the Japanese people who have been struck by a colossal earthquake and tsnuami beyond a simple passing comment to a friend sitting at my sun-drenched table enjoying a filling breakfast and largely worry-free morning. I don’t want to spend 10 minutes a day thinking about what I should wear tomorrow, or why I need another something new. I want to have meaningful conversations about what we can do to make things better for those who have less than we do. About how we can leave a better world for the next generation than the one we were handed and told to fix. If we are going to survive the inevitable catastrophes ahead, we have to use natural disasters like the major shifting of tectonic plates as a warning sign. That could have been us. That will be us. What are we going to do to stop it? Obviously earthquakes are not exactly easily prevented by humans, but we can help to curb global warning and instill a sense of environmental awareness in our youth. We talk the talk, but if we really want to make great change we should re-structure our entire society to be more ecologically friendly. We should take technological steps forward by looking back. We should work toward mass transit, and doing away with cars. We should probably look to nuclear energy (though the failures of nuclear power plants and seeping radiation at the moment are admittedly alarming) and other alternative sources of energy. We can’t continue to live the lifestyles we do for much longer. Something’s got to give.
Here’s the link to the Avett Brothers song “Ill With Want:”