An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of May 23, 2004
Issued from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

SUSTAINABLE ROCK & ROLL

Not since I was a kid in rural Kentucky listening on my transistor radio to pre-Elvis rock on constantly fading WLS Radio out of Chicago have I been interested in pop music. By the time I got to college during the 60s, my taste was solidly classical.

Still, most of my life has been conducted in the spirit of rock and roll. During my late 30s and all of my 40s I traveled almost constantly, eventually doing freelance writing, photography, artwork and botanical work in about 40 countries. I did it all on the cheap, winging it, living out of backpacks and making barely enough money to pay for gasoline, jet and bus tickets, Eurrail Passes, and an awful lot of cheap oatmeal. Sometimes I must have looked pretty scroungy as I banged into things, took chances, and generally felt like a Viking gone exploring.

I'm saying this because I've come to a conclusion that might seem out of character for the sedentary hermit Newsletter subscribers know. Here it is:

We need to rescue the Earth in the spirit of rock and roll.

In the same dynamic spirit with which a nice suburban kid shakes off the conservative, easy-going, complacent attitudes of his or her family, gets an eyelid pierced and starts a rock band, we need to give a razz to this stockmarket and mall-walking world, the double-talking politicians and preachers, and rely on our own intuitions about what's right, what's real, and what we need to do about it.

It's clear that our current governing and administrative structures are controlled by powerful vested interests for whom discretionary wars and environmental destruction are prime tools. Corporations, a few rich, well-connected families and good-ol'-boy networks call the tune now.

The way to deal with this is to become clear in our own minds about which communities we should belong to -- communities no longer defined by geographical boundaries but by belief systems held in common -- and to become invisible to those who would manipulate us to their own advantage. Drop out, and tune in to the wisdom the Creator has put inside each of us, and written into the manner of being of the Universe at large.

The spirit of rock-and-roll can save us. And I am confident that the new wave that's coming will recognize intuitively that the ultimate rock star is the Creator of the Universe, that the Four Commandments are to love and cherish earth, water, air and fire (life is fire), and that sustainability is the main melody for anyone wanting the beat to go on. <Facebook Icon