Hello! I'll get to the point: species are disappearing off the face of the Earth, and I'm really sad about that!
I think most of us have seen statistics before, about things like how since 1970 we've managed to kill off 68% of our wildlife populations, how 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest are lost daily, how there likely won't be any wild gorillas left in the Congo by the mid-2020s. These statistics are alarming but they are good. They are useful. They turn the indescribable capitalistic horrors of wide-scale environmental exploitation into tangible data that can be worked with to find solutions. If the battle to conserve nature is to be won, it will be won through data. The people that turn this data into real action -- scientists, legislators, volunteers -- are the heroes in this story.
The quantification of environmental destruction does, however, leave out some crucial parts of the narrative. Ask a volunteer in a wildlife conservation center why they do what they do, and, no matter how much they rationalize with figures, the core answer is always going to be an emotional one. We hate seeing nature ravaged and species pushed to extinction because it just hurts in some deep, innate part of our being. I hate that the spoon-billed sandpiper is going exctinct because it's adorable. Look at the little guy!
This is why they -- the scientists, the legislators, the volunteers -- are the heroes in this story, and I am not. They see the widespread damage people have done to the Earth and they're doing something real, tangible about it. They feel the same emotional crotch-kick I feel when looking at the numbers, and despite this, they are truly thinking. Me, I'm just operating on gut.
I guess this is the part where I tell you what I'm actually doing! I'm making music for endangered species. Each song is dedicated to a different critically endangered species as listed on the IUCN Red List. When you buy these songs, the proceeds go to the organizations responsible for conserving the subject matter of your purchases.
Why am I doing this? On one level I'm doing it because I want to help these species, because I want people to associate these species I care so much about with the music they carry around with them everywhere they go, so that they might eventually be swayed in the direction of action. On another level, I'm doing it simply because learning about and absorbing these animals is a top-notch source of pathos for me. Cheesy as it feels to admit, they make me feel emotions, not just doomerist despair but so, so much beyond that. Animals are aliens. They experience and feel so much that we don't. It's great songwriting fodder.
That's part of the reason why I'm trying to stay away from preaching with this. It's not just that preaching is annoying, but also that there's tons more to love about these animals than their being poster children for human irresponsibility towards the environment. I hope that I've conveyed that love well enough in these songs. I hope that, when you listen to these songs, you can feel and internalize that love for yourself. That might matter even more than monetary donation, in the long run. (Please do donate if you can, though!)
With this project, I'm the guy running a GoFundMe for Homeless Bob down at the train station so he can have food for the month. I know I should be focusing my efforts on bringing down the oppressing societal forces that keep people like Bob down, but I haven't got the guts. The guts to do that are with the scientists, the legislators, the volunteers. I just feel for Bob, because he's just a nice guy. I feel for these few animals I've more-or-less arbitrarily chosen. They are four drops in a sea of millions, but they are four real pretty drops, and it'd be a real shame if they disappeared. I'd like you to think that as well. If we all thought that, we'd maybe be able to help out the people with the guts.
By buying these tracks on Bandcamp, you'll be supporting the people who work tirelessly to effect actual change. 100% of the proceeds will go to them. Additional donations can be made via Bandcamp or directly via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a message along with your donation so I know which organization you'd like your money to go to, or just leave it blank and I'll evenly distribute it among all of them. I've got a spreadsheet going. It's real efficient.
Trying to think of a good sign off,
High school senior, Taipei, Taiwan