In 1979, I was working with friends on a film called “American Odyssey” about Carl Orff’s approach to the teaching of music and movement in schools. One song in the film is Chick Corea’s “Song of the World’s Last Whale,” which addresses the issue of extinction. In the song, we hear the warning that, “It’ll happen to you, also without fail, if it happens to me, — sang the world’s last whale.”

The film was 36 years ago, “hammering out a warning” about our planet, our shared home, and what we’ve been doing to it for centuries.

Some 10 years later, a prominent scientist gave a disturbing lecture at Colby wherein he rather cheerily outlined various scenarios that would converge around 2040 when, he suggested, if we continue living as we do now, conditions on Earth will likely favor the extinction of our race. I was impressed with his reasoning, just as I am today with science writer Elizabeth Kolbert’s arguments in her recent book, “The Sixth Extinction.”

The international fossil fuel empire rules our planet, and those in command double down in their insistence to “burn, baby, burn,” until no oil remains. Meanwhile, their flunky, Fox “News,” the popular, Goebbels-esque dispenser of misinformation doles out “What, me worry?” reassurances that all is well and that climate change is a “hoax.”

And on top of all, the GOP proudly announces its intent to scrap the few environmental protections that still remain as restraints against this tide of destruction.

Me? I won’t be around in 2040, but my kids and grandchildren should be. How about yours?

Abbott Meader


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