Skip to main content

Stan Rogers' Northwest Passage -- an achingly beautiful song about striving and glory and loss -- is nearly anthemic to Canadians. If you're American, you may have heard it as well.

If you haven't, a great rendition of it is available on Youtube. Without a passing knowledge of the tune, the new eco-lyrics below may not be as "hearable" to you.

Last weekend I went to a Transition Towns training (which I'll be diarying about soon). It's probably the best bottom-up community approach to changing the world, in the face of predictable climate chaos, peak oil, and economic carnage, that I've ever seen. Resilience through community and creativity gives me a ray of hope.

What does that have to do with Stan Rogers and the Northwest Passage?

The only thing missing from the Transition Towns movement was great music.

Any great revolution must have its music. Since we must make revolution together to save our world, we also need to sing together.

So over the last week, I've tried to rethink Stan Rogers' fabulous a capella rouser through the lens of Transition, as well my other magnifying glass.

Last night, at a rural Canadian coffeehouse/gathering, we tried the new lyrics out, to general surprise and delight.

It's Creative Commons copyrighted -- feel free to pass on to anyone, with attribution (see below).


The New Northwest Passage


Chasing one thin dime,
   we have made the Northwest Passage,
We've warmed the Arctic waters
    far from where they ought to be
We've got not much time
   to save all that's wild and savage
and bring the Arctic ice back
   to the sea

Verse 1:
The CO2 is rising
   over sea and over land;
the atmosphere is nowhere near
   what it was when we began.
The ocean's now acidic
   ... and nothing's like we planned --
It's time for us to  
   make one final stand


Verse 2:
We're fishing out the waters
   of the North Atlantic Sea.
The North Pacific salmon
   may quite simply cease to be.
We find our toxic waste within
   all flesh and blood and bone --
What have we made of
   our one, only home?


Verse 3:
How is it we're so different from
   the first ones through this way?
Like them, we found abundant life;
   we threw it all away.
To make a Northwest Passage
   is a metaphor of men --
(breath) we must find the
   Passage home again.


Verse 4:
Together we can make it,
   we can forge a different path
Together we can figure out
   a different kind of math
Together we'll invent a world
   that's fair and clean and free
Together: that means you,  
   and us, and we


Singing it with twenty people was a priceless moment for me. I hope others do the same.

Feel free to pass this on, and sing in any not-for-profit manner, with attribution/link. A single-sheet printable version is available here.

Originally posted to mwmwm on Sun May 09, 2010 at 08:18 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site