22 April 2006

Singing the Earth

Sea level has been rising cm/year, based on me...Image via WikipediaCelebrated Earth Day this morning by getting a little of the planet on my feet and legs. Saturday morning means either soccer or African drumming -- or, in the case of today, both. From the rhythm of feet to the rhythm of hands.

On this Earth Day, I'm thinking of things large and small.

Large: Global warming (aka climate change) is becoming a more and more dominant issue, as erratic and severe weather dominate the news and evidence of climatic change mounts. Polar ice sheets are melting, ocean currents are changing, and much of the world (minus a few head-in-sand deniers) is talking about impacts and solutions. I won't pretend to be an expert; read up on it yourself. And to see the potential impact of rises in sea level in your neck of the woods, check out this Google Maps hack. Different sources have different scenarios, but even a US government site (pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/) points out that a historically consistent 10-meter rise in sea level "would flood approximately 25 percent of the Nation's population."

Small: What can one person do about this? Eat locally (home-grown or locally produced in-season food), insulate, walk and bike more & drive less, eat more grains and veggies and less meat, note the climate changes you've seen in your own lifetime, talk to people, advocate for low-impact living (just don't become one of those holier-than-thou environmental do-gooders, please!). A big change for our household has been the home-heating transition from burning oil to burning wood pellets. I don't have the data on emissions, but our home is warmer, and we're not contributing (as much) to the political and environmental problems caused by fossil fuel extration and combustion. Thinking about such things takes some attention, but I feel better about my life, and know that I'm helping save resources for future generations. Now to go biodiesel with our car...

Read more on climate change at www.realclimate.org

Now, the fun part, a couple of Earth-centered songs from different traditions. Paul Wagner (aka Chiokten) is a Native American singer/storyteller who plays flute and mbira. I first caught him at the World Sacred Music Festival in 2005, and he's appearing again at the 2006 festival. You may know Ghana native Nii Tagoe from his work with Baka Beyond: composing, singing, playing percussion. African Roots is his first solo album.

[mp3] Paul Wagner: "Mother Earth Remembers Us"
From the album Journey of the Spirit

[mp3] Nii Tagoe: "Shipon (Earth)"
From the album African Roots

Finally, for more global music fun, check out La Onda Tropical.

Happy Earth Day!
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