Let’s all stop digging up bones

Fossil fuels are the skeletal remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. It took eons for geologic processes to concentrate their carbon into coal, gas and oil, but it’s taking only a few hundred years, a mere blink in time, to release it. Seems a risky thing to be doing, as this song suggests.

Feel free to sing this to the tune of Randy Travis’ Diggin’ Up Bones:

We’re diggin’ up bones, we’re diggin’ up bones
Exhuming things that’s better left alone
We’re burnin’ up old carcasses of critters dead and gone
Everybody and his dog is diggin’ up bones

500 million years it took to make coal gas and oil
3 centuries of burnin’ them could bring us to a boil
Our time is short to change our ways and maybe save our souls
Or rue the day we started digging up bones.

Three-fifty parts of CO2 is all we can afford
We just blew past 400 with the likelihood of more.
We had a good thing goin’ for 200 years or more
But now we’re payin’ the price for diggin’ up bones.

Last night I had a nightmare, smokestacks spewing GHGs
Of watersheds and forests, fields all fouled by our own greed
We understand the difference between avarice and need
So I wonder why we’re all still diggin’ up bones.

There only is one planet Earth on which we all depend
Our climate scientists all agree it’s time we did defend
All of Earth’s creatures large and small who look to us to mend
The harm we’ve caused from all that digging up bones.

They say that all these pipelines, about to come on stream
Will be our salvation, whatever do they mean
They’ll leave our kids a planet that is too messed up to clean
They’ll be thinking we were all addicted to bones.

To ship dilbit by rail or pipe the arguments abound
Let’s all agree with option 3, just leave it in the ground
Reduce our need for energy until ways can be found
To put to rest our need for digging up bones.

I sure hope we can change our ways before all’s dead and gone
Just maybe we should all quit diggin’ up bones.

Scott Harris,
with thanks to Murray Young

Published in the Chronicle-Journal, Saturday, July 5, 2014