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This Is My Prairie, This is My Blog

Hey everybody, this is the first installment of my new blog, ‘Under the Hood’, where I ramble on about whatever’s on my mind. Lots of cool stuff happening soon. Just finished the new record, working on album art, liner notes; it’ll be out in a few months. Website’s getting rebuilt, printing new t-shirts, new blogs.  Lots of new tours taking shape. Playing some acoustic shows with Tyson during Stampede. Spring is coming. And a new video for a song off the last record, just before all the new stuff kicks in. That’s what I’m gonna talk about today.

This Is My Prairie, This Is My Video
Video by Fish Griwkowsky

My buddy, Fish Griwkowsky and I shot the video for ‘This Is My Prairie’ a couple months ago; partly at my cabin up near Barrhead, Alberta, and all the livestock shots further north at his friend’s place. I’m not sure what the thing really even means. I mostly know what the song means, and I guess the vid roughly mirrors the song.  The story of the song is about land ownership, oil and gas, big business, individual rights vs the state, all that stuff; it’s not too hard to figure out. The issues underneath are harder to get a handle on. It’s a tricky one for me. I have some close relatives and good friends on family farms and ranches, and I’ve got some in the oil business, too. I’ve got some that are in both. They all have kids, and they’re not evil people, just like my song implies in the third verse.

It would be easy for me to stand here and say the little guy is always right and that oil companies are always wrong. I’m no fan of unfettered corporate power and I’m often the first guy in the room to rant about that stuff; I’ve pissed off friends and fans talking about it. In fact I think how the big oil business is structured and handled is a bigger problem than the oil itself. I hate how we allow big companies to behave these days. But here’s the other side of it. You drive a car? I do. You heat your home with petroleum? I do. You get on airplanes? I do. So as far as the petroleum goes, most of us are hypocrites. And until they figure out solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, tidal, fission, fusion, hamster wheels or whatever, clean and economical, I don’t see how we get off petro. I don’t like it, but that’s what it looks like from here. And with a couple billion Chinese and Indian people just starting to figure out how good we’ve had it over here the last hundred years and wanting to catch up, I don’t see it getting better.

So how do you fix that? Sort out population growth? Find a new source of infinite and cheap energy? Maybe clean nuclear is the answer. I hope so. Thorium; have you read about that?  I think solar and wind are fantastic, but it’s hard for me to imagine them powering the industry necessary for 7.5 billion people. My foggy memories of Biology 101 remind me that it’s pretty standard procedure for a population to start getting pruned one way or another once it starts getting to large for its environment and starts shitting in its nest. I think we’re there.

So to bring it back to the poor bastard who’s trying to scratch out a living on the family land, and they wanna come through and pollute the place with impunity, how can you not side with him? I’ve read horror stories about what Big Oil has been up to in the third world. It’s less bad here, I think only because we have a more advanced legal system. Sometimes. Maybe. Ask the natives in northern Alberta about that. And even when they’ve messed up your place or screwed up your water supple and you take them to court, they’ve got you out-lawyered 10-1. My mom is very active in trying to at least slow down some of the oil and gas stuff happening in some of the more sensitive areas of the foothills, and it’s good work she’s doing, along with the nature conservancy group she’s a part of. More and more people in Alberta are feeling tension present here; economy vs ecology. I know I don’t want to see the Eastern slopes torn up any more than they already are.

So you sort of end up in a ‘common good vs the individual’ kind of a situation, sitting there wondering who’s running things. I think about this kind of thing endlessly. I wonder who is really in charge. Who it is that has a meeting with Bush or Obama or Ron Paul or whoever the new president is, the day after they take office. Gives them a top secret folder to look over, puts a hand on their shoulder and says, “Mr. President, you need to have a few things explained to you.” How does that work exactly? Real politik, I guess. Read your Bismarck. I stop short of believing in the ancient alien lizard people living among us, but the more I try to learn, the more confused I get, and I read a fair amount. When I see the odds stacking up against us as a species, I try to remember Kennedy’s ambitious, ten year ‘call your shot’ moon mission and the Manhattan Project. We’re pretty quick when we have the will to be. And, so, about 40% of the time I think we’re gonna figure this stuff out; find the optimal level of population, have peace on earth and social justice, feed everyone, explore the stars, populate the universe and live happily ever after. The other 60% of the time I think we’re beyond the tipping point, and have no chance as a sustainable species. Or maybe there will be a violent setback in our technology and culture where we remake society at a less developed technological level. That’s what happened in Britain after the Romans left; they couldn’t figure out how to fix the aqueducts and the roads all went to hell. I dunno.

But, hey, I made a music video. Hooray for me.

Next installment will be happier, I promise.

18 Comments

  • Corey Says

    Exactly how I feel about a lot of this stuff. How come there’s no political party out there with the motto: “It’s time to stop shitting in our own nest”? I’d vote for them. Have you read Collapse by Jared Diamond? The problem’s pretty clear, the solution is harder to figure out. I think our province has a chance to lead the way, but it’s gonna take a lot of sacrifice – no one wants to hear that.

  • Pingback: Corb Lund and Fish Griwkowsky shoot This Is My Prairie | Edmonton Journal

  • Fabian Says

    Very interesting things you’ve written there. For years I’ve thought we’ve gone too far in populating the world and trying to move forward that we as humans are overlooking the pure joy the world can give us. When all the governments and big corporations are concerned with is GDP and gross earnings how are we as a species supposed to move on and make the earth a happy prosperous place for all of us. It’s sad when a population is critisizing the way everything is done in order to “sustain” an ever growing population that is only made worse by higher amounts of people living in smaller areas. It’s time to be ashamed of ourselves as a society.

  • Jesse Says

    Well said Corb. Unless this population of ours has a complete 180 lifestyle change in terms of travel especially, we could be in some trouble. Nuclear looks like the way to go, Canada is like #2 in the world in uranium supplies (thanks again Saskatchewan), but people either fear radioactivity or change or both. Anywho, the site looks great as does the video! Looking forward to the next album.

  • Melissa Albertson Says

    Don’t apologize for the tone … good writing makes us all think. Love the new site, great work. I’m digging, as you said, the “groovy mountain man” pics and vibe.

  • Brent Says

    Well I think that you are on the right track. I have been in India for the last 5 months and it is like they have no moral respect. Everyday there is a article in the paper that is describing how someone has taken their life by setting themselves on fire or immolation. The reasons are for abuse by the husband, they bore another girl child, or that they did not score well on exams in school. It seems in that the “well-to-do” have their own world that does not involve mankind. And don’t even get me start on religion. Lets just say that it has come to certain factions throwing meat at temples and this is sparking riots where in a civilized, most democratic society, there is a curfew for 7 days in parts of the city. And this is just one region of India. I don’t thinks there is enough space to rant about Africa.

  • Brent Says
  • Nicole Says

    I think we’re headed for an apocalypse, and there’s nothing a future US President can do about it. The issue isn’t just oil – it’s population growth – shitting in our own nest, as you put it.

    But hey, I liked the video.

  • Trevor Says

    Love it Corb, keep ur head up. Thanks for the insight!!!!

  • Senta Graney Says

    I hear what you are saying brother. Too much of thinking about this issue can make you crazy. Unfortunately it is world wide – even here in Australia. I just go back to Al Gore’s statement in his movie the Inconvenient Truth… plant more trees. I think we will be ok if we just plant more trees. But I worry if we have past the point of no return… really enjoyed your first blog… thought provoking!! Cheers.

  • Esther Says

    Your new website looks great and I love the new video. Nifty camera shots, using the reflection and for some reason I liked the shot of the old dog getting up. Not sure why, maybe cause my dogs are old or I feel that way some days, dunno.
    Keep writing sweetie, both your songs and the blog. I like hearing you soapbox. I can’t wait for the new album. Love ya, Esther.

  • russ Says

    I battle myself over this every day. I work at a major oil sands site, it pays well and supports my family and all that, on the other hand I see the destruction first hand. I live on Vancouver Island and I know how ecologically sensitive the BC coastline is, and know a potentially damaging profect is threatening my home waterways, one that I certainly don’t depend on, but could benefit from through job security. It’s a pissing match in my mind that I will live with for some time. Looking forward to the new record Corb! Great webpage!

  • Rebecca Says

    I enjoyed your BLOG…we are looking forward to seeing you in New Braunfels when you get here on May 11. We are coming with the whole family as it will be my son’s 12th birthday and he is so stoked about seeing you for his birthday! Like the new site and ready to see the whole thing fully completed and REALLY excited about the new album…any chance you can bring us a rough cut? See you in May!

  • Marilyn Says

    Albert Einstein said “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. I guess we need to think outside the box before mother nature gives us the hard slap we so rightly deserve. I believe we can get it right if everyone tries a little bit harder – but I am the eternal optimist.
    Great website and video! I too am looking forward to the new album. Keep the journal going if you have time – we all benefit from the insight.

  • Jessie Smitham Says

    Well said! It comforts me to know that you really are as intelligent as your song lyrics indicate! Love the new site, love the pics, love the opinions! Keep it up!

  • Ben Says

    Damn straight, brother.

  • Reed Says

    Hey there Corb, great piece mate. I live and work in Alberta. I am both an Oilman and a certified Reclamist. Everyday I struggle to find a balance, yet I always do. Some say shut it all down, while others say get it while it’s good. I on the other hand say show the oil company how being green can affect there bottom line. If you show them ways to make money and support their employee’s then they will do it and show a vigour that would amaze most. This is my praire and this is my home.

  • shayne Says

    corb the new web site looks great and i love all the new stuff keep up the good work and plz come back to new brunswick soon

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