Back in 1990 I made an album called Leap of Faith. One song on that album, co-written with Guy Thomas called Conviction of the Heart, stood out for me. It chronicles one man’s path, from his illusion of separate-ness to somehow understanding his connection to everyone and everything around him. The chorus of that song, “One with the earth, one with the sky, one with everything in life,” became an important defining moment for me. I have to admit, at first I didn’t understand how those words connected to the rest of the song…
I had, in fact, dreamed that chorus. I woke up with that refrain playing over and over in my head, like a message in a bottle the morning after Guy and I had written the verses. At first it seemed like an odd, almost disjointed musical section, yet I knew it belonged there. It somehow defined the importance of that song to me, and over the years, to many other people as a kind of environmental anthem.
It took me many years of performing that song before I finally understood why it mattered so much. I slowly began to realize that the so-called environmental movement was really about a mass cultural consciousness shift. That until each of us understands that we actually ARE connected to every living thing on the planet, including the planet itself, until we realize that our very existence is inextricably dependent upon the health of the planet’s bio systems, (which the science clearly, simply supports), mankind is literally doomed.
In 1990, when I first started educating myself about the environmental movement, I read that, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, we were already standing on the precipice; that it was the 11th hour before no action we take could reverse the damage we have done to the planet. As scary as the news was back then, (and it’s way worse now), I believed that mankind would at least be willing to do what must be done to save themselves.
I hadn’t yet realized that those words that I wrote, “One with the earth, one with the sky one with everything in life,“ was a spiritual challenge to each of us, not actually a political one.
I confess, for the last 20 years I’ve been in the process of losing my faith in mankind. Instead of joining together to use our ingenuity, our powers of invention, our commonality and will-power like I expected us to, we have bickered over the cost and politics of “saving the planet,” not able to understand the true meaning and implication of those words.
Last night I watched David Attenborough‘s “A Life on Our Planet,“ and it all came flooding back into me. I once again remembered why I’d been so optimistically drawn to the environmental movement in the ‘90’s.
“A Life on Our Planet” is Mr. Attenborough’s eloquent and beautiful love letter to the earth. He has dedicated his life to exploring and filming the earth’s wild places, from the early 1950’s to present day, and now at the age of 94, this, his last testament, is gorgeous, totally spellbinding, then terrifying and disheartening, but ultimately, paradoxically hopeful; offering us a clear roadmap that every country, including ours, could follow towards a rebirth of the planet. And for me, even a rebirth of hope in humanity and our possibilities.
I cannot recommend this movie more highly. It not only spells out very clearly the predicament we are presently all in, but even more importantly, the path out. All we need now is the will and vision to survive.
And yes, the leadership.
We can no longer afford to pretend that this isn’t happening. Moving backwards into fossil fuels, as if our best days are actually behind us, will be our undoing. Thinking that the earth and all its plants and animals are somehow disconnected from us, that they are simply here for us to squander as the spoils of our supremacy, is the surest way to our own extinction.
All of us were born into this time in history, in this place, for this very ultimate challenge. We must step up and take it on, or perish in our greed and arrogance.
This is our moment. This is why we’re here. We truly ARE all connected, as Mr Attenborough’s powerful movie clearly shows; and I STILL believe we can survive if we only have the will to.
I urge all of you, all of us, to believe in each other one more time. To know that together, with a common purpose and a belief in an even better future, we still have time to create the change needed to survive.
It’s time to wake up, to realize that our leadership reflects our consciousness. If we embrace our connectedness and our common needs, if we take action now, we could usher in a time of visionary leadership unprecedented in human history.
It’s never been clearer. Please, for the sake of our country, our lives, our world, Vote!
Vote for each other and the future of your children.
And vote for this planet and all the beautiful plants and animals that are still on it.
Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.