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So how about this climate crisis and what’s it got to do with music?

I’ve asked this question of myself many times over.

Last summer, my partner, Matthew Lie-Paehlke, thought to provide ideas for decreasing our individual and collective carbon footprint. We founded Climate Pledge Collective to help people choose actions that lead to a sustainable lifestyle.

Then, the IPCC Report (short version: Office of Climate Education – for teachers) broke the news on the dire state of our climate. The authors of the report, which was released in 2018, stated that we must keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in order for future generations to have anything resembling a habitable planet.


March down University Ave. Canada-wide Fridays for Future Student Strike for Climate, May 3, 2019


At Toronto City Hall – Canada-wide Fridays for Future Student Strike for Climate – May 3, 2019

Our patterns of consumption, a complex tangle of global interdependencies that have relied on yet another entanglement of human oppressions, must be drastically changed — arguably, overturned — to ensure the survival of species beyond our lifetime. This includes our own human survival.

To date, carbon emissions are still rising, and regions around the world are reporting the hottest temperatures recorded. In Ontario, wild fires are still burning, as they are in Alberta and have been in BC. Communities have been evacuated by floods.

9 million people have run out of water in Chennai, India.

Recently, we were surprised to hear that our friends, academics among them, had not heard these facts.

GoFundMe Post

This is part of why I’ve cooked up a Climate Crisis Facts Campaign (we’re deciding on July 15 if we’ve raised enough) to put this information on TTC subway cars. Matt and I have been working hard all year and see a need for information to reach more people.

BUT WHAT DOES MUSIC HAVE TO DO WITH IT? Music has always been a way for me to reach people. I personally don’t know right now how my music-making can help fix this, or even make it better.

What I do know is that through music, I have learned to empathize deeply with people through joy, pain, and everything in between. And music still provides a means for communicating or gesturing beyond words.

Through music, I have learned about cultures, and the colonialist forces that thread through the ways I (we in the “Western world”) have been able to thrive (sure, my family had to immigrate for that to happen — a story for another time).

Those sounds that met my ears, those beats that replaced my heartbeat, called me to listen for life. It’s time for us to save life.

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