It’s #exoplanetweek you guys!

This story is fascinating on so many levels. One is that estimates based on the Kepler planet survey say there should be over a billion Earth-like worlds in our galaxy alone. Multiply that by the some 100 billion galaxies in the universe…!

Earth, these estimates say, is among the youngest of this group of habitable zone planets to have been formed; in fact, upwards of 92% of theoretically possible habitable zone planets haven’t been formed yet. What are some of the consequences of this? According to the article:

“A big advantage to our civilization arising early in the evolution of the universe is our being able to use powerful telescopes like Hubble to trace our lineage from the big bang through the early evolution of galaxies. The observational evidence for the big bang and cosmic evolution, encoded in light and other electromagnetic radiation, will be all but erased away 1 trillion years from now due to the runaway expansion of space. Any far-future civilizations that might arise will be largely clueless as to how or if the universe began and evolved.”

That means we’re very lucky to be able to even possess the knowledge that we have as a civilization about the workings of the universe. We’re witness to something future civilizations won’t have a chance to be witness to.

I always like to say that we’re extremely early in the history of human civilization. It’s hard not to hear the possibility of 100 billion-billion possibly habitable worlds without a sense of wonder or possibility. We may not be at the cusp of human history, of course, as there are forces daily that dare to tear this world asunder, and we may in fact be at the twilight of humankind.

We’re in a great transitional moment, either we learn to live in harmony with our environment and pass wisdom throughout the ages and help be the shepherds of all life to come, or we destroy the environment we sprang from and gives us succor and all we leave behind are the dead for someone else to sift through to see what went wrong. It would amount to this: a giant experiment in human consciousness ending with a giant monument of death warning against the evils of hubris and the limits of desire.

Stories like these reinforce my belief that there is a great responsibility that comes with being alive which is to care for yourself and the spheres of your life to the best of your ability and to create an environment that is friendly to life, that doesn’t cause others danger or damage or live at others expense. A kind of holism, which is partly recognition that the web of life is the sum of parts, and that includes our part. A Cabalistic saying I’d heard from years back (badly paraphrased): “I am the most insignificant speck of dust in the universe; for me, the universe was created”…



Cash-strapped governments worldwide are throwing vast amount of resources into a zero-sum game. Known oil reserves are already over 3x what’s “safe to burn” (meaning, what would reach what the international community has deemed “acceptable” levels of global warming). Meanwhile G20 countries spent $88 billion looking for more reserves. That all spells global catastrophe. We should be engaging in a herculean transformation of the world economy and instead are speeding gingerly into ecological collapse. This is just one example of how that’s happening.

Climate change is an issue that hit home for me this summer. I have a child, one I had to start strolling around to get to sleep at 4 months on. The heat seemed unnaturally oppressive. Turns out July was the hottest month ever recorded in the ~250 year history of record. Here’s a short list few regional heat records set. In New Orleans we were a day off of tying the second longest streak of 90+ degree days. This alone doesn’t prove global warming exists of course, but I’m convinced the evidence is incontrovertible.

As someone who writes songs about the future, there comes the necessity to think, “what does that future actually look like”? We forge the future, action by action, and what we think is someone else’s problem is in fact everyone’s problem. It’s actually up to everyone to come up with solutions, starting with but not limited to how we’re voting with our dollars and how we’re voting at the ballots.

There’s a climate conference in Paris starting November 30th and it’s up to everyone to have their voices speak up. Otherwise, we’ll just have another bad compromise that benefits the people that are sending us into the abyss. Another round of jaded politics, another dose of disillusionment, another fade into complacency. We don’t have time for this anymore. 

Future Settlers

October 8, 2015

Kicking the blog back in action… the bones of an unrealized dream of the band…

We’re about to release a record called “Future Settlers”. It’s been a journey to this point for sure, and we’re so happy to finally share the fruits of our labor. We’ll be putting the dates out there and such, and soon you’ll get to hear where we’ve been in the past however long it’s been.

I guess we’ve moved faster than we could invest in the band in some sense. Life happened quickly for many of us and we didn’t really get the feedback loop happening that would theoretically drive it all into the public sphere.

Future Settlers… you can hear the title track here

The idea was to imagine history as a whole. What it came down to for me was something very personal, very basic. “I was here” or “this is what I did” is maybe the summation of history. Of course it’s a bit more complicated than that. History is littered with the dead, and we only know the dead’s memory from what has been handed down to us. Someone else passed on those words. When you’re dead, you don’t have a say. We speak for the dead.

That’s where the lines “bones for the future” comes from. Reading books of dead authors to me sometimes feels like sifting through the bones of the past. I flesh them out, but not the same as they were fleshed out. That’s impossible. I’m always looking through the lens of my living present moment, not Whitman’s or Hemingway’s or Homer’s or Descartes’.

Imagining a future right now is scary for me. More on that later too. But the song I wanted to embody a feeling of home. “This is where I am”. “This is where I was born”. “This is my fate and my legacy”. “This is what I have”.

To embody a future is to believe in it. I heard a Patti Smith interview on On Point today, and she spoke beautifully about being enthusiastic. “Belief is a kind of enthusiasm”. I’m paraphrasing very badly. She read out of her book after one of the blunt questions Tom has a talent for putting. To want to live is the essence of believing in the future I think.

Well that’s it, off to bed.