Mercy, Mercy, Me

24 Apr

It’s the day after Earth day, 2014. Earth Day has become an annual event, celebrated every April 22, when events are held to demonstrate the support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

In 1971 Marvin Gaye wrote a song entitled Mercy, Mercy Me and subtitled (The Ecology Song) in which he sang about the sad state of affairs that the Earth and the human condition found themselves in and how, on the Earth of 1971, “Things ain’t what they used to be”.

That was 43 years ago and after 45 Earth Day observances in which the world has come together to support and rally for environmental protection across the planet… how is the Earth doing?

In his song Marvin Gaye asked the question: Where did all the blue skies go? Today in China the sun hardly even shines and in its largest cities the morning sunrise is broadcast over giant televisions in efforts to cheer the population as they begin another workday. Smog alerts and air quality announcements are common in all major cities throughout the world and who among us can say that allergies and breathing ailments are not known to exist within ourselves or our families.

Mr. Gaye next lamented the oil slicks that could be found in the oceans of 1971 along with the fish contaminated with mercury. Today, in 2014, oil slicks and oil spills are still a common occurrence and when they occur they occur in amounts greater and greater each time and 43 years later we are still using oil and fossil fuels in increasing, not decreasing, amounts, while new and more imaginative ways for digging, sucking and fracking these substances from the planet’s very core are being pioneered each year and even as debate continues over whether or not we should invade our national parks and coastlines in the search for more and more.

As for fish and the oceans? Temperatures are rising, corral reefs are dieing, the ice caps are melting and fish are disappearing while plastic debris and garbage is replacing plankton within the fish food chain. Mercury continues to be a problem contaminant and tuna, perhaps the world’s most famous fish, are so contaminated with mercury that the FDA recommends no more than 1 can be ingested per person each week. And now many scientists predict that the oceans may be without fish all together by the middle of this century.

Radiation and air, water and ground contamination from nuclear power plants was a worry and concern back in the 70s and the subject of Mercy Mercy Me‘s next refrain, but back then the nuclear industry was promising safer standards and designs and yet years after this song was produced the very real scare of a melt down at 3 Mile Island occurred in 1979 in Pennsylvania. Then a real melt down happened at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986 and then again in Fukashima, Japan in 2011. Radioactive debris from that disaster is still in our oceans today yet many of our politicians are still championing nuclear energy as the panacea for our future…and safer… energy needs.

Mr. Gaye then concluded his song with lyrics that discussed the over population of the world in 1971, a year that would see the greatest percentage of population increase in the world’s history, and the great strain that mankind was putting on the planet Earth with a world population of almost 3 billion 800 million inhabitants… Today, we have almost doubled that number and the Earth now has 0ver 7 billion 228 million human residents with a total world population of 12 billion predicted by 2050.

So, what have we accomplished with our 43 Earth Day celebrations since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s ecology anthem, over 4 decades ago? Have these Earth Days been rallies to help raise awareness of the Earth’s plight and our complicity in its demise along with the sharing of a process for us to change our ways… or have they simply been a series of going away parties? A way to pay lip service to ourselves and our late, great planet Earth while we continue to pursue our ever more increasingly decadent and deadly ways?

Well, the only thing we can say for sure is that the most prophetic line of Mr. Gaye’s song was it’s first and it still rings true for each and every year that passes into the next…

Things sure ain’t what they used to be!

In fact, they are decidedly worse… and the only ones among us who could even believe it to be otherwise are oddly enough, Creationists! How ironic for this to all be part of an intelligent designer’s very intelligent…plan?

But just to brighten your spirits, I will leave you with a bit of 1971 trivia that is perhaps even more prophetic and of greater irony than Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me, the Hot Soul Number 1 Single on Billboard’s charts that summer… for what song did it replace at the top of the charts?…And you climate change deniers will just love this…

James Brown’s… Hot Pants!

Hey-uh!                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooooh! Bring it home!
One more! Hit me! Aaay!
Bring it home! Bring it home!
Oh uh! Bring it on home
Bring it on home…


9 Responses to “Mercy, Mercy, Me”

  1. makagutu April 24, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    This is a brilliant post. Things to think about mother Earth

  2. avwalters April 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    A pretty grim assessment, not incorrect, but grim. On the lighter side, air and water pollution regulation in this country has dramatically improved our skies and waters. The Cuyahoga River isn’t burning. There is a movement afoot to protect our precious groundwaters from the dangers of fracking. We can regulate our impact, if we wake up to the dangers. There’s much to do, but people finally are addressing the hazards of global warming–we are a species who seem to put off change until we can’t anymore. (Let’s just hope we guess right!) Of all the concerns listed, the most serious is radiation–Fukushima being dreadful evidence that we have no business tinkering with toxicity that will definitely outlive us (and at the rate we’re going, the planet). Can we wake up in time? We don’t know yet. Oh, Mercy, Mercy, Me.

  3. ontyrepassages April 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    I was 12 years-old and I was a fool. I actually thought people wanted to save the environment. Shame on humanity for poisoning its own home. We live upon the greatest jewel in the galaxy and treat it like costume jewelry. Shame.

    • Uncle Tree April 27, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      “We live upon the greatest jewel in the galaxy and treat it like costume jewelry.”

      That line is a gem.

      • ontyrepassages April 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        Thank you. My happiness over having crafted the line is bittersweet, of course. 🙂

  4. A Voice April 24, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    First, take a look at the uncensored video for ‘Things are Messed Up’ by The Offspring.

    Now, to something that tends to frustrate me as much as militant Atheists:

    “In fact, they are decidedly worse… and the only ones among us who could even believe it to be otherwise are oddly enough, Creationists! How ironic for this to all be part of an intelligent designer’s very intelligent…plan?”

    It’s far, far more often the case that non-dogmatic, critical notions of intelligent design aren’t so much as mentioned in favour of pounding on dogmatic, uncritical Creationism. Both offer a number of different explanations but it is in how it’s done: the former offering hypotheses with epistemic humility with the latter offering fiery explanations often attached to ‘God went *click* and it happened’. It seems to me that Atheists are often in the same camp as the Creationists, opposing them with equal force and an awkward reliance on scientific hypotheses that claim epistemic humility while the speaker demonstrates none.

    Various hypotheses for intelligent design would allow for the possibility of any technologically advanced species to fist-fuck itself into extinction and, for the religiously inclined, even accept conceptions of God still being ‘good’.

    It seems to me that the greatest issue is that philosophy (which every religious system truly falls within the realm of) and science require real education. Not necessarily some cold, Ivory Tower sort of thing but the trained and nurtured abilities to think critically, approach strong statements of fact with caution and to exist with real empathy for life. But we as a species simply lack not this capacity but the will to see it out. I’d go so far as to say that nearly every culture has a point where learning comes to a dead stop, where there is the belief that ‘there is no more to know or no more one SHOULD know’ and often involving religio-political rationale that emphasises power for a particular class over prosperity for the whole of the culture…and NEVER for the whole species.

    Much like the in the above-mentioned song, “I’m tellin’ you shit is fucked up” and it comes down, as ever, to education and care.

    • Uncle Tree April 27, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      You hit the nail on the head here, methinks. Freewill does reign,
      but if it, too, is good, then we have no one to blame; not God, not
      the Mother Of Natural Selection, nor The Father Of Natural Destruction.

      “We live on a temporal globe that exists in space.
      Dependency is a worldly part of the game.
      Our loving, benevolent sun’s existence
      depends on our intelligent perceptions.
      The nuclear clock tick-talks-tick-talks,
      not caring if ears can hear.

      Humanity is destined to live elsewhere. We will navigate
      and gravitate to another heavenly place. Our world is
      transferable, surely as our souls do transmigrate
      to and through all inevitable eventualities.”

      Uncle Tree

      • A Voice April 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

        “Humanity is destined to live elsewhere…”

        None of this was implied or said directly…

  5. Uncle Tree April 27, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    You have asked the right questions, good sir.

    Oh, how I’d love to quit my factory job and become a spokesman…er, a speaking tree
    that picks up roots and hits the circuit preaching in a style reminiscent of
    a Johnny Appleseed/Hunter Thompson type character. 😉

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