Weekly Roundup “Vacation Edition” 7/27/2018

The Weekly Roundup of Climate and Energy News is briefly interrupted for a well-deserved week of vacation! In its place this week is a “Vacation Edition” of “Climate Music” from Doug Hendren.

About “Climate Music”:  About 5 years ago, I came to the disturbing conclusion that climate science, no matter how compelling, was no match for the remarkable psychological defenses people have against threatening information. Music was a powerful force in the 60s, why not today? Equipped with Apple’s “GarageBand” program, a quiet room and a few instruments, I started writing simple musical stories about climate change, water, clean energy, and of course various villains and heroes in the climate movement. It’s all up on my website, MusicalScalpel.com and meant to be shared freely. I think of these songs as “painless education,” and also entertainment for hard-working activists. Here are a few old and newer pieces. I hope you enjoy them!

THE BALLAD OF POPE FRANCIS Based on a true story– related by Michael Shank. While preparing his encyclical “Laudato Si” in 2015,  Pope Francis convened climate scientists and church leaders at the Vatican. Marc Morano, professional climate denier employed by the Heartland Institute, tried to disrupt the proceedings. He was caught by the Swiss Guard and shown the door. In considering the devious tactics and misinformation of the fossil industry, I was reminded of the folk wisdom about Satan’s verbal cleverness, for which “Get thee behind me!” is the only effective response.

THE SOLAR SPILL.  Somewhere I came across a bumper sticker reading “A Solar Spill is Just a Nice Day”, and I ran with it: “Who’s gonna pay the bill for a solar spill?”  We have gotten so desensitized to images of oil spills that it’s difficult to imagine a world free of them. Think of how many different “externalized costs” we have been putting up with related to fossil-fuel pollution!

BIOSPHERE.  Written as a “children’s song”, this one addresses the common misperception that the world seems so enormous, how could people possibly be changing it? The key point is that the biosphere is actually smaller than we think: “The space we’re living in / is as thin as your skin.”

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? This was written to demystify some of the straightforward numbers associated with climate change. In particular, it challenges the misperception that a few degrees are insignificant: “Ninety-eight point six, or a hundred and five / can make all the difference in staying alive.”

FAKE WEATHER was written to try to capture the absurdity of Texas politicians being in the front ranks of climate change deniers, after five feet of rain falling on Houston last year. “We might have a problem here – the storm of the century every year.” Jeff Heie came over and shot an iPhone video on the patio.

SCOTT PRUITT’S EPA is a parody of the 1927 classic “Ain’t She Sweet”. I just put the finishing touches last week on a new CD containing this song: “Everyone Pollute America – E.P.A.!”  Asking some friends whether I should pull the song after Pruitt’s resignation, the verdict was to leave it in, since his ghost will probably be with us for some time.

THE SUNSHINE STATE is about Florida Power and Light, which is a lot like Dominion Energy – an 800-lb gorilla that likes to get its way. In this case, the Florida Tea Party beat FPL by framing solar energy as a “freedom” issue, popularizing the term “energy democracy”. As Bob Inglis, Erik Curren and others have long been saying, solar energy is a quintessential conservative issue! “It ain’t the Russians or Chinese / keeping people on our knees / It’s the way that corporations squeeze / clinging to monopolies!”

I’ll have another climate music CD coming out in a month or two. If you enjoyed this “vacation program”, email me your name and address, and I’ll be happy to send along a CD when they arrive. I like to make them available to promote climate education and activism. Sing loud!

Doug Hendren, MD
dhhendren [@] gmail.com