From “Dream On” to Climate Action

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When I’m working through something complex I gravitate towards certain songs. I play them over and over as if the cadence can help me weave or unweave the threads of an idea. I find myself in this mode right now. The three songs I currently have on repeat are “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Indomitable” By DJ Shub and the North Cree Singers, and “You Can Never Go Home” By Ganstagrass.

What’s interesting is that I had to look up who sings “Dream On” because even though I knew it was one of Aerosmith’s earliest hits it doesn’t sound like the Steven Tyler were used to hearing. I looked up the Wikipedia page on the song. It references an authorized biography of the band called Walk This Way By Stephen Davis. In it Steven Tyler describes how he liked to lay under his father’s piano while he father played when he was a small child and something in that experience prompted the first catalyst for the song.

As a child, I too loved to lay under my Grandmother’s baby grand piano while she played! What a funny thing to have in common with a Rockstar! Both Steven Tyler’s father and my Grandmother were classically trained pianists. The final elements of the song came together when he was 14. In the biography he says the song is sung in his “real voice” which he was insecure about on how it sounded on tape. This is also interesting to me. I always try to get under or around “the Public face” that we all tend to wear when we’re out and about in society. Authenticity has always been important to me. I find it easier to bond with people when we’re both being “real” with each other. So now I know why this song appeals to me so much.

The next song I’ve been playing a lot is called “Indomitable” By DJ Shub and the North Cree Singers. This attraction feels natural to me. Growing up some of my very closest friends are Indigenous Americans and our friendship continues to this day. As an Ally, I care deeply about Indigenous issues like the Murder and Missing Indigenous Women whose cases don’t get the same attention as Gabby Petito. Once again mainstream media deserves to be called out for its own systemic habits of “missing white woman syndrome.” If my best friend goes missing you better damn well give her case the attention it deserves! By choosing which stories get the most national attention, the media signals what our collective values are supposed to be. Indigenous people are still here! Many live in cities, not on reservations, and yet the broader collective consciousness of our nation sidelines their voices to historical archetypes or reservation/tribal “issues” as if what happens there doesn’t have relevance to influence the rest of the country, but it does. Who took bold action against the XL Keystone pipeline project? The Standing Rock Sioux tribe! That’s who! This is one of many examples of how environmental and social justice issues are woven together.

Finally, we have the last song I’ve been listening to a lot by a band called “Ganstagrass.” The name and band is a combination of Gangster Rap (urban music) and Bluegrass (rural music.) I really like one of the comments someone named Patrick Riot made, “When the hood and the woods unite, we’re unstoppable.” That’s what I believe too! I’m frustrated and disheartened by the current US political climate and animosity in the public sphere, but I have to believe that we can still bring people of different backgrounds together. Our democracy is at risk and what are we without our democracy? I’m trying to think of a framework for a new path forward that is relevant to people’s lives where they can feel heard and push through the politically divisive rhetoric. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I’m willing to try.

I’m ready for action! I’m now obsessed with the idea of creating a “regenerative society” as a path forward. This prompts the questions: How can we create a “Regenerative society?” and What would a “Regenerative Society” look like?

Call it serendipity or stream of consciousness, but of course I’m not the only one to pull these two words together. My short working definition is – a society that works towards restoring the basic needs of the people and the environment; Food, clean water, shelter, access to healthcare, sanitation, education, and a sense of community.

I feel that a regenerative society would have equality and social justice as intrinsic values built into its DNA. Education for all. Period. Not just the rich, not just the men, not just the people in the cities…etcetera, etcetera,.. everybody! Educated people doing meaningful work on behalf of themselves and their communities. Working with purpose and being valued for your place in the world because of it! By “educated” I mean a society where everyone has a basic primary education (reading, writing, and basic math skills) with opportunities to do advanced academics, trade schools or apprenticeships to find your social-environmental niche. Any society can work towards being a regenerative society. Several countries are already ahead of the U.S. on that. The area where I grew up was poisoned by a government project but we, the people, are expected to pay out of pocket for the health consequences of it until the day we die. More on that in a future post.

I was debating with a friend who argued greed was good because it motivated people to competitively innovate and take risks. My point was, why should greed be the motivator though? I’m motivated to innovate and take risks to make life better for me, my family, my human community, my wildlife community, my plant community, and my soil community. She told me I was being delusional. I told her she was being lazy if greed was her only motivation for existing. We laughed and left it at that.

What would a Regenerative Society look like to you?

Please share your thoughts below or email me.


Here are the songs mentioned via links to YouTube:

Dream On – Aerosmith:

DJ Shub and the Northern Cree Singers – Indomitable:

Ganstagrass – You can Never Go Home:

Additional Links:

Dream On (Aerosmith song) – Wikipedia

Home | MMIW USA (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Official Website)

FBI missing persons cases list: 43 unsolved cases that need leads (usatoday.com)

18 thoughts on “From “Dream On” to Climate Action

    1. It’s true that many of these ideas have been floating around throughout generations with varying degrees of success. My biggest weakness in getting lost in the inertia of too much research and not enough action. I’m trying to move beyond that, but make my own community? Jeepers! I don’t have the right people around me yet. I need to find an extroverted business partner who thrives off all the people-y stuff I find draining.

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  1. Thanks, Melanie, for this thought-provoking post!
    I agree with much of what you write here but will have to read it again! The music was good too, especially “Indomitable”, the video is brilliant with its gleaming colours and rhythms! Special! In fact, I’m playing it again now, as I write. I’ve been aware of the poor treatment of Indigenous Americans for a long time but have not done much about it or my feelings! Recently though, after reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Grass, I tried to find out more but have not been too successful. One book on my shelf, still to be read is Unworthy Republic by Claudio Saunt. I don’t know why but from a great distance, I live in NI, I feel very close to Indigenous peoples wherever they are!
    Something I subscribe to is Population Matters, I’ll add a link below; their message is that the human population will soon outstrip the earth’s resources. It might impact my life, I’m 71, but it will certainly create problems for my children and grandchildren!

    https://populationmatters.org/

    Lots to think about in your post, and surely, lots to do! Have a great weekend. 💐🙋‍♂️

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    1. I love Braiding Sweetgrass! It made me laugh, cry and angry. Rarely does a book take me through the full range of emotions. I feel her words in my soul. I have a half written post around here about how we were all tribal once and how the poor treatment of Indigenous Americans magnifies the treatment that we had all once experienced in our collective history, but now we look away and say, “I’m glad it’s not me.” I say, they just don’t remember. Aboriginal peoples in other countries face similar treatment. In some of those countries overt acts of genocide are still taking place.

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      1. Braiding Sweetgrass is special! It helped to further raise my awareness of what you call “collective history”. Years ago, I read Bruce Chatwin’s book Songlines about Australian Aboriginals who “sang” their history, they had no writing, in fact, they had no maps so through songs they could navigate the land, over vast distances. I read that book in 1987 after it was first published and my copy is still on my bookshelf, a bit faded now. I’m only returning to those themes now in my 70s!

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      2. That’s great! I’ll have to see if I can find that book at my library. I took a college class that what something like “Indigenous peoples of the Americas and beyond” which should how first peoples were both different and similar in many ways. Other than Environmental Science and Quantitative Logic it was one of my favorite classes.

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  2. One thing that came to mind when you mentioned the regenerative society and your conversation with your friend was an economic impact theory known as the donut economic model by Kate Raworth. As much as I wish the theory was something like if we had more donuts in the world it would be a better place. It is more about that there are minimal basic needs/limits and ecological need/limits and between those limits is the space where humanity can thrive. Raworth’s website and TED talk are pretty informative in case you are interested. Be well!

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    1. Thank you, Mark! I look forward to checking her out. I have often felt paralyzed to act because their is SO MUCH information that one person can’t possibly keep up with. It’s overwhelming. The economics of how we proceed in the future is certainly a vital factor in how we proceed. People need jobs and opportunities to expand beyond themselves. Basically like I said to my friend, anyone who poopoos the idea that we can do both (have a viable economy and save the planet) just isn’t thinking big enough. Fortunately, I can resist doughnuts, but chocolate-caramel anything…drooling at the thought.

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    1. Exactly! We don’t need more “stuff” we need to remind people to value what they already have. I place a lot of the blame on targeted messaging from marketing and advertising with their insidious messaging about what *they* think we all need, ie their product or service. They don’t say, “This product will make your life better because of xyz features.” They say, “You need this, you deserve this, our product is here for you because you deserve it.” In the late 1990s there was a big boom in the number of “behavioral analysts” (psychologists, sociologist, etc) hired by ad/marketing agency and we wonder why their is an explosion in poor mental health…but that’s a whole other post.

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