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green@work : Magazine : Between Blue & Yellow : March/April 2004

Between Blue and Yellow
A Message in the Music

by Katie Sosnowchik


One of the great things about children is that they can teach us adults a thing or two. I am an admitted throwback to the era of singers like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and, later on, Bruce Springsteen and bands like The Beatles. Over the years I have dismissed countless music “fads.” I was a snob. What, I wondered, could contemporary music offer that was better than the songs of the legends that I grew up with? Music had a purpose back then; lyrics resonated with meaning. Or so I thought until my soon-but-not-quite-yet-teenage daughter introduced me to the lyrics of a hip-hop song called “Where Is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas:

Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity

Listening closely, I discovered that the song deals with enormous and weighty issues such as terrorism, gangs, chemical warfare, racism and greed. I was astounded and saddened; these are the problems of the world that my children—all children—will inherit, and what’s especially disheartening is that they know it.

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m getting older, y’all, people getting colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ our wrong direction

The world, according to our children, is a dismal mess—and they have us to thank for it. But that doesn’t mean we have to concede the battle. Progress is being made. Consider, for example, these actions in the area of environmental stewardship. The McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, though defeated, had surprisingly good support in the U.S. Senate. Some of the world’s largest multinational companies have committed to impressive greenhouse gas emission reductions. A small personal care products manufacturer has staked its survival on its respect for Mother Nature and, in the process, may help transform the huge cosmetic industry. Thousands of shareholders worldwide are investing with their values and making companies accountable for their actions. These are just a few of the dozens of positive measures reported on in this issue of green@work alone; multiply that by the 25 issues that have been published prior to this one and that translates into a tremendous number of good green works.

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found

A legacy of doubt and despair is not what any of us want to leave to our children. It has been every generation’s dream that the next should have a better life, a better future than the one before. It’s a dream worth writing music about—and certainly one worth fighting for. Once upon a time, Dylan wrote that the “answers are blowing in the wind.”

Today I believe they are staring us in the face.

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