A net loss

Today, my brother-in-law, Bubba, emailed me with this question: “What is humankind’s greatest contribution to earth?”

I paused for a moment or two and gave it some thought. Not surprisingly, I came up blank. It seemed to me that the only positive contributions on our part have been band-aids to fix the things that we’ve already destroyed. I thought for sure Bubba would come back with an answer, since he is an Environmental Science/Geology professional of sorts. But he drew a blank, too. That’s when Ray Manzarek’s organ intro and John Densmore’s high-hat started playing in my mind. The Doors’ ‘When the Music’s Over’ is about many things – anarchy, social unrest, death – but I’ve long held firm that it’s the first song to tackle the theme of environmentalism. I didn’t live through the 1960s, so I could be wrong. Maybe Country Joe & The Fish broached the subject. Maybe Peter, Paul & Mary did. However, I don’t recall ever hearing an environmental plea set to music until a friend turned me on to The Doors when I was 14 (Mike Dunlop, if you’re out there, drop me a line here on The Diatribe). Here’s the reply I wrote Bubba, which (pardon the egotism) I thought took care of my blog posting for tonight…

We cut down trees. We pave over grass. We eradicate the rain forests.
We eat or kill (for sport) every animal we find. We poison the soil.
We poison the water. We poison the sky. Listen to ‘When the Music’s
Over’ by The Doors. Jim Morrison wrote the first ever song about
environmental awareness (well, it includes a section about that topic
anyway).

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences
And dragged her down!

2 thoughts on “A net loss”

  1. I am also at a loss for an answer…

    I don’t think humans are necessarily bad for earth the planet, because the activities we do on its surface have little to do with earth on the scale of the solar system or universe. However, when you consider earth as gaia, as mother earth, as the living breathing planet, then I would say humans do harm to themselves and the rest of life here and the future prospect of it.

    So I don’t have an answer as to the greatest thing. Maybe it will be something like causing the next Ice Age which forces earth into a rebirth of sorts…..

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