Music for a Warming World tells the story of how humans,
through burning fossil fuels and massive land clearances,
have raised the temperature of the planet,
changing the climate ... and the future
and how this changes everything
This story has four parts ...
PART 1: STORM
“We are the first generation that through its neglect could destroy the relationship between humans and the planet and perhaps the last generation that can prevent this”
(Lord Nicholas Stern, 2014)
1) Before the Storm
A dark, rhythmic and roots based stomper exploring the emotions of the singer as dark clouds appear on the horizon (metaphorically and literally)
By releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases, we are artificially changing the atmosphere. This mostly instrumental song brings us back to the basis of atmospheric chemistry through the use of videos clips and aural experience. Performed in a style Simon refers to as ‘world music’ with an unusually tuned 12 String guitar at its core.
2a) The Atmosphere
A brief visual encounter with the atmosphere, this remarkably thin layer of gases that keeps the planet at the right temperature for human civilisation to flourish.
3) CO2 and its Discontents
Another instrumental to accompany some powerful visual images of the extraordinary accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Not for the faint hearted! (see Carbon Visuals)
4) A Song for a Warming Planet
An instrumental, originally composed by cellist Daniel Crawford, where each note corresponds to the average global temperature from 1880 to 2012. Hear the original version here. We added the last 4 years of data to update the piece, up to the 2016 global surface temperature, the hottest in the record.
Ok, so CO2 is rapidly accumulating at dangerous levels, and planetary temperatures are rising faster than scientists expected, ... but, really, what is wrong with a slightly warmer world? This upbeat country style tune simply asks, 'what's wrong with a bit of warming?'
6) Greenhouse Gases for the Masses
A partly spoken-word tune in a rap/folk style, this tune lays out the basic facts of planetary warming in a simple way; the rapid increase of carbon in the atmosphere and the temperature increases that parallel the CO2 levels.
PART 2: LOSS
To suffer loss is to mourn. But through mourning we are transformed
In thinking what is being lost in our world, this song arrived from somewhere, a haunting but beautiful tale about a bear, a human and a time machine (of course!)
“The world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us” (Pope Francis, 159, Encyclical on Care for our Common home’)
This issue becomes personal when we think of our children and grandchildren who will inherit the world from us. This song was released on Simon’s 2011 Album ‘Sweet Lover’ and was written as a love song for future generations
9) Our Beautiful Dream (A Eulogy)
A musical and visual meditation written in anticipation of a future without the great barrier reef. It uses extraordinary slow-motion footage of coral with the generous permission of BioQuest Studios in Port Douglas, Australia
PART 3: CHANGE
10) One cheer for Coal (A Capella)
What's coal ever done for us? Oh, that's right, quite a lot really. It powered the industrial revolution, built our wealth, supported our scientific development, made us much wealthier, given us better health, longer lives and so on. So lets acknowledge our debt to fossil fuel ... and then say farewell forever!
A fun tune requiring mandatory audience participation
In 2015, Christine and Simon saw the giant redwoods in Yosemite National Park (California). It was a powerful, almost spiritual experience, being in the presence of the largest living entities on Earth. This got us thinking about how coal comes from the bodies of dead plants from millions of years ago.
In some ways we’re digging up the ghosts of the dead. See the music video.
12) A little Story about Divesting and a Song
One powerful and achievable thing to do it is take our money out of any institution that still invests in fossil fuels, and put it into a responsible institution
This song is called 'Won't give my money', and a cunning reference to Market Forces
13) We need a Miracle
Want some good news? There are some unanticipated miracles taking place in the world of renewable energy, miracles that no-one anticipated. This story is supported by an upbeat acoustic funk tune!
14) Moving a Big Sky
A song in praise of wind energy, and indirectly all clean energy, from Simon’s 2014 album, Never Gonna Die
This song was inspired by Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Cheap fossil fuels have powered our economies and lifestyle, and made some groups very wealthy. But dangerous climate change means that the poorest will bear the highest costs. Those currently benefiting most will not easily give up their hold on power. We need significant change to the global governance of our atmospheric commons.
And this changes everything!
PART 4: HOPE
The risks of dangerous climate change are extremely real. But fear will not help us cope with this uncertain future, the Anthropocene, we are entering. There is hope for our future. There is much to celebrate in life and we can still thrive as communities and individuals, even in challenging times
These final tunes and visual stories are a type of meditation on hope
16) Imagine the World
The future is not fixed. There are huge changes underway in technology, energy economy and civil society and there are grounds for hope. But only if we decide what sort of future we want
This is in an acoustic stomp style, as yet unrecorded
17) Simple Things
Living simply is not only good for the planet, but is remarkably good for the soul. This popular reggae sing-along tune is from Simon’s 2011 album, ‘Sweet Lover’
To flourish in the face of climate change is to live well in the midst of uncertainty. This tune is off Simon’s first album (2007) Voyager, and suggests that we can find emotional anchors even in the midst of uncertainty and change. The link is to a new arrangement of this tune by the Simon Kerr Perspective
The most recent addition to the set list, a hip-hop driven anthematic call for climate consciousness and engagement by all those who care about the future we are creating though dangerous climate change. We ask audience members to consider what they can do to make their voice heard.
(All songs, except for 'Song for a Warming Planet', have been written by Simon Kerr and are subject to copyright)