Today I’m kicking off two weeks of Song Stories, sharing the tales of the inspiration behind the music and lyrics on our newest album, EARTH. I’ll offer a free download of that song each day, too! You can have the song for free, or “Name Your Price” and support independent music if so moved.
I’d like to start with track number 3 on the album, “Earth Day”. Earth Day 2016 is now over, but that doesn’t mean we should shift our focus away from protecting, defending, caring for, cherishing, and honoring Mother Earth for another 364 days until Earth Day returns! The opposite is true.
At this stage of environmental and societal crisis in the world, our attention absolutely needs to turn toward caring for our planet and ALL her beings (humans, animals, plants) and ecosystems (air, water, land) in every action and intention, every thought and word. It goes beyond “every day should be Earth Day” at this point. For some time now, our refrain should have been, “every day MUST be Earth Day.”
This song is a singable testament to this truth. I love watching the children in my camps and classes and at my concerts sing along with these words. I imagine the words themselves, like a mantra, planting seeds of intention and compassion in their hearts. May this generation grow up KNOWING, deep in their bones and bodies, the necessity of treating Earth (and each other, and all beings) with love, kindness, care, and respect.
My own consciousness around these issues was broken open in middle school when I read the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. That book — and Ms Carson’s insistent, poetic, and true rendering of the damage we were doing to our Earth (our own body), and the necessity of shifting away from this dynamic — brought up deep emotions (grief, anger, shock, sadness), inspired a turning point in my understanding of my place in the world, and became a beacon for me.
We never know where and when the possibility of transformation will manifest for our children. So the more we can expose them to books, art, music and experiences that underscore these truths, the higher the chance they will retain a sense of the interconnectedness of all things, from which will automatically flow a natural desire to care for others and care for the planet, because of the realization and deep understanding that they and it are literally a part of oneself.
So the reason I write music like this, and attempt to put these truths into language that will resonate (I hope) with children and families, is to provide a tool for helping this process along. Our kids already get so many messages to the contrary…why not provide some that contradict the current story that Earth is here for our plunder and abuse and consumption? Whatever we can do to counteract this pervasive energy, we must, as parents and teachers, be doing it. And we teach ourselves in the process. It’s a beautiful cycle.
With this song, I wanted to tell a magical, child-mind story with the lyrics…Earth as an old, wise being — “this old Earth’s been around awhile, she knows how to smile, she knows how to cry”. Earth as one who cares for us, and one who also relies on us to care for her — “she’s happiest when we care for the soil and the water and air that feed us all”. A sense of geologic time — “how long does it take for a mountain to grind all the way back down to a grain of sand and then become a mountain again”. Earth as home for the beasts and plants — “some take root, others walk, some even fly, some even talk”. Earth as our trusted vehicle through the universe. Earth as friend, home, mother. Earth as recipient and giver of love.
I also wanted to create in the song a statement that could serve as an intention we set every time we listen to and sing along with this song. This happens in the bridge:
Now is the moment to open our eyes
And our minds and our hearts and realize
The Earth is our friend, the Earth is our home
The Earth is our Mother, we are never alone
We must protect our only Earth
Every action and intention affirming her worth
Let’s do no harm and take good care
Of every life, everyone, every thing, everywhere…
And the chorus is a sweet little singalong….”Every Single Day Should Be Earth Day!!!”
Musically, we ended up with an acoustic feel, a cute but propulsive beat, and lots of awesome melodies in the bass. And some fun “la la la la” harmonies, a bright piano groove, and some percussion to round it all out. It has an overall happy vibe, but there is both joy and seriousness in the message.
ACTIVITY IDEA: Listen to the song with your children, watch the video, and sing and dance around! Then, with your family, start an Earth Day Journal. See if you can come up with an action or intention every single day that is a way of caring for Earth and her beings. Write or draw about this intention or action in your journal. These can be big things, or small things. Even just going outside to play under the trees can be an expression of our love and care for Earth. And don’t worry if you don’t complete an entry every single day…the idea is to have the intention to keep Earth in your consciousness as you go about life. And see what happens!
I’m positive I wasn’t the first person to come up with the phrase “Every day should be Earth Day!”, but I’m happy there’s now a song for us to sing, every day, to help us remember the importance, the necessity, of this sentiment. I hope you enjoy the song, and find ways of sharing it with the children and also grown-ups in your lives! Please share your stories in the comments section below.