Ukulele Songs about Real Things

Ukulele Songs about Real Things
  1. “Where Is Away?” is a love song to the Oceans and a song about plastic pollution in those oceans. I know that plastic is not the only issue, but I find myself a little uncertain about how to write about EVERYTHING…

I’ve debated whether or not to publish this video because my goal is not to preach – but this chorus kind of wrote itself and the song came after and I decided, well, I just can’t hold onto the song any longer. I hope you enjoy it…

Where Is Away?

I was asked to post the lyrics, so here they are:

Whale Song Excerpt: “Songlines Maia” by The Oceania Project (http://www.oceania.org.au/index.html), https://soundcloud.com/iwhales/maia,is licensed under creative commons with attribution

All video footage (excluding whale footage) licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0), Public Domain Dedication

Whale Footage by VIDEODIVE used under license from Shutterstock.com

Here is a link to donate to The Oceania Project (which I am not affiliated with – I just think they do phenomenal work): https://www.gofundme.com/theoceaniaproject

2. Oh, CO2

Oh, CO2

I have held onto this song for more than a year. I wrote it for a gig, recorded it and then didn’t release it because it felt was too… angry (also, since I am not a scientist I was worried that I had gotten some of my interpretations wrong.) The more I learned, the more I also realized that CO2 is only part of the problem – the rabbit hole goes much deeper and is much more horrifying and basically forced me to question everything. But in the past few months I had a few realizations that made me think “maybe it’s time to let this song go”:

1. we are currently being ruled by deeply corrupt humans and,

2. as an artist, I tell stories, perfectly imperfectly. I take what I learn, what I am interested in and filter it through whatever medium I am using. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but the only thing that stops it from working is if I stop it.

So, yes, this is not a “cheerful, happy, hopeful song.” I have, by now, read too many climate reports to be optimistic. An IPCC report , recently released, said we have to drastically cut emissions within the next 12 (well, 11 now) years to not exceed 1.5C or we are heading for an existential crisis – and dragging pretty much every other species on planet earth down with us (the IPCC is a conservative body – so this 12 year window may well be optimistic – especially since in June 1989, Noel Brown for the U.N Environment Program said “Governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control” source). Seeing who is grabbing power around the world and recognizing that money and greed rules the day, I have no belief that the people “in charge” are going to do anything at all to stop this. Especially since we are all being held hostage by a perpetual growth economy, which always brings to mind the quote by Edward Abbey “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell”.

I realize that a song isn’t going to change anything, only action is – but since I have musical skills, I have decided to use them for this as well (while I figure out what else I can do.)

As I said, I wrote this song more than a year ago – there are a lot of things I have learned since then (things I might have included if I had known them at the time). Since I didn’t, I have linked a few things down below that have helped me immensely.

One of the best books I have read on this topic is a book by a man named Dahr Jamail called The End of Ice. Dahr Jamail also does monthly climate reports for an online site called Truthout, which are always worth reading. Here is an interview with Dahr Jamail by a journalist, Chris Hedges, whom I also deeply admire, as well as an interview on Democracy Now!

Here is an interesting conversation about Scientific reticence with James Hansen (a leading climate change expert).

Indigenous communities around the world have been and continue to be, some of the biggest protectors of life.  These are cultures that those of us who were only raised in “extraction economies” can learn from. An excellent book I read on this topic is called “Columbus and other Cannibals” by Jack D. Forbes. I have also linked to a site here: https://www.amazonfrontlines.org/chronicles/indigenous-women-ecuadorian-amazon-solidarity-brazil/

In Germany, this is happening: https://hambacherforst.org/

For Evangelicals, who don’t believe humans have such a devastating impact on the climate, here is Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical who is also a climate scientist: http://katharinehayhoe.com/wp2016/

And, for Catholics, I recommend reading the Pope’s “Laudato Si“.

And, of course, there are the children’s marches, started by Greta Thunberg. We are now watching kids leaving school, begging adults to do something.

Really, I don’t know how to look at all this and not feel hopeless – but maybe, when hope dies, that is when we begin to see things clearly.

Who knows?

I’m certainly not there yet.