If A Tree Falls, Does Anybody Hear?

"Felling A BC Fir Tree", 1920. Photo: University of British Columbia

Written in 1988, the hit single "If A Tree Falls" from the album Big Circumstance raised awareness of the destruction under way in the world's rain forests. Now, over 20 years later, the destruction continues.

If A Tree Falls, Bruce Cockburn (1988)

Rain forest
Mist and mystery
Teeming green
Green brain facing labotomy
Climate control centre for the world
Ancient cord of coexistence
Hacked by parasitic greedhead scam -
From Sarawak to Amazonas
Costa Rica to mangy B.C. hills -
Cortege rhythm of falling timber.

What kind of currency grows in these new deserts,
These brand new flood plains?

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?

Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of species every single day
Take out people who've lived with this for 100,000 years -
Inject a billion burgers worth of beef -
Grain eaters - methane dispensers.

Through thinning ozone,
Waves fall on wrinkled earth -
Gravity, light, ancient refuse of stars,
Speak of a drowning -
But this, this is something other.
Busy monster eats dark holes in the spirit world
Where wild things have to go
To disappear

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?

Quotes by Bruce Cockburn about his song If A Tree Falls:

"When I wrote that song they were cutting down the Amazon rain forest to put in cattle. But that didn’t work out, and the next thing you know they’re planting soybeans. But they’re still cutting down the forests, and they’re still displacing the natives. Corn for the biodiesel trade, that’s the new big thing. You can’t win. You create all this awareness about one aspect of the problem, but as soon as you think you have a foot on top of that, it squeezes out from under and morphs into something else." (2010)

"My exposure to rain forest, with the except on one brief day in Australia, has been in the Northwest, the western coast of North America, which is as much rain forest as anything else. It's just not tropical. So a lot of the time when people talk about the rain forest, they don't realize that they are also talking about the large groves that grow on the west coast of Canada and North America." (1997) 

"A lot of critics didn't like that song. They felt it was too pedantic and I was being too literal and I was 'stretching my metaphors too far'. I have a two-word response for those people." (1989) - source

2012 - The Year We End The Old Growth Slaughter

There are people who want to destroy all of the earth's original forests for short term profit. I, like Bruce Cockburn, have a two-word response for them. 

Actually I have several two-word answers, the nicest being, "Hell, NO!". 

Let's make 2012 the year that we stop the ongoing greedy, senseless, selfish, slaughter of our old growth forests.

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