Tar Sand Song


TMS Editor

Words by Diane Perlman, PhD (TRANSCEND member)*
Music by Woody Guthrie
Performed by Ya’akov-Yisrael “Jimmy” Costello


To “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

This land has tar sand

They have a grand plan

When they extract it

They unleash carbon

And release toxins into the water

Tar sands must stay for you and me


The land has natives.

What is their fate if

We give them cancer?

What is your answer?

And when we mine it

We wreck the climate

Tar sands must stay for you and me


They tell us oil’s

For our enjoyment

and the pipeline

Will bring employment

This industry robs

From many more clean jobs

Let’s hire more for you and me


Marsela has shale

Our shale’s not for sale

You frack out gases

Make sick the masses

Puts poison fire into the water

Our shale must stay for you and me


For mountain top coal

They’re selling our soul

Unto the devil

Each time they level

Coal cannot be clean

Deception is so mean

This coal must stay for you and me


Obsessed with fracking

and with extracting

Cause our addiction

is an affliction

Will legislature

Protect our nature?

And will they vote for you and me?


This land’s not our land

It’s for our children

for future life forms

the earth is too warm

We must preserve it

‘cause they deserve it

Three fifty (350) parts per mil for them

*Diane Perlman: Dedicated to my grandtwins,  Neima and Neli, born 9/15/10, their cohorts and their descendants. The content inspired from learnings from Bill McKibben, James Hansen, Naiomi Klein, Native residents and chiefs from Alberta who visited DC, and the youth of the world who appeared at the UN Conference on Climate Change, the Klima Forum and all over the streets of Copenhagen in December 2009. This song is meant to be educational.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Nov 2011.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Tar Sand Song, is included. Thank you.

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One Response to “Tar Sand Song”

  1. satoshi says:

    It seems to me that the impact of the above lyrics is much stronger than relevant international declarations on environment, including the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health (2010) and other relevant declarations of this kind.

    For your information:

    The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: http://www.c-fam.org/docLib/20080625_Rio_Declaration_on_Environment.pdf

    The Parma Declaration on Environment and Health: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/78608/E93618.pdf


    When Europeans began to colonize the American Continent, they thought this way: “This land belongs to us.” Native people on that continent thought this way: “We, residents of the land, belong to the land.” The former is a human-centered thinking, while the latter is a nature-centered thinking. Which way of thinking is environmental friendly? The answer is clear.

    Even the term, “environmental protection”, for example, is based on the human-centered thinking. But the truth is that the atmosphere, water and any other elements of nature on the Earth have been protecting living creatures on the planet, including humans, over millions of years. Now, we, humans, say, “We protect environment.” Aren’t we too arrogant in relation to nature?

    Who actually needs protection? The mother Gaia or we, humans, or both? The mother Gaia will exist even if we, humans, will destroy nature on this planet completely. But, in that case, we will perish from this planet.

    Strategic studies teach, “We should not change. They should change.” Peace studies teach, “Both conflicting parties should change. Thus, we should change; they should also change. So, go beyond the contemporary situation.” Which way of thinking is environmental friendly? The answer is clear.