Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Environmental Visionaries Part Two: Don Henley & The Last Resort - How Man Raped the Land

By Marcie Barnes

(Note: this song is credited to the Eagles and Don Henley, sometimes along with Glenn Frey (as a songwriter). However, in the L.A. Times article referenced below, Henley calls it "his baby" and it is widely referenced as a foreshadowing to his solo career. Therefore, I give full credit in that sense to Don Henley for this wonderful piece of work, for the purposes of this article. :) )

First of all, if you are not familiar with the song The Last Resort by the Eagles, check out this excellent article about the song, which includes a clip you can listen to. Full lyrics can be found here.

My husband played this song for me a few weeks ago and I quite frankly can't get it out of my head. He asked me what I thought it was about and my answer was "Wal-Mart?" He rolled his eyes at me and said "It was written in 1976, how can it be about Wal-Mart?" I was surprised. I guess I thought The Last Resort was a newer song, because the message seemed to be so modern to me. Lo and Behold, The Last Resort was indeed written in the 70s and was recorded on the well-known Hotel California album. Anyway, I guess the part about " Some rich men came and raped the land…Nobody caught em...Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus, People bought 'em" really screamed "Wal-Mart! Wal-Mart!" to me. Apparently, Henley was talking about Los Angeles :P.

I think I was still in the ballpark, though, because there are endless examples I could come up with regarding how man is raping the land today - from clearcutting (Wal-Mart) to carbon dioxide emissions (Wal-Mart, see below) and meat production (lots of places, to include Wal-Mart) - this Industrial Era we are in is running at an increasingly fast pace, and at what cost? This recent article talks about how global warming impacts health (and causes death) in more close-to-home ways that you don't hear about at the water cooler. They are called climate-sensitive diseases to include malnutrition, diarrheal diseases and malaria. The article says they already kill millions every year. In addition, as Americans, we are contributing by far the most to the Global Warming crisis, and the lion's share of that is coming from Industrial, Commercial & (public) transportation sources…which is largely what Wal-Mart (and other similar operations) are all about. If I lived in another country I'd be pretty peeved at the US for contributing so much to all these problems that cause global sicknesses and deaths, all while we throw away up to half of the food we produce…sigh, we disgust me.

Anyway, Henley has been an advocate for lots of environmental causes over the years to include his own
Walden Woods Project and Caddo Lake Institute. Although he says The Last Resort is about "the quest for a better life, a personal search for self and success", I still say in this day and age, it's about Wal-Mart.

"Who will provide the grand design?
What is yours and what is mine?
'Cause there is no more new frontier
We have got to make it here

We satisfy our endless needs and
justify our bloody deeds,
in the name of destiny and the name of God"

Buy locally (or even better, grow your own food), get off your dependence on animal protein for your own health and that of the planet, and be happy :)

Next installment: Timothy Ferriss and The Four-Hour Workweek from 2007.


galleryshops said...

The Eagles had to be one of my favorite groups during that era. I hated to see them go their separate ways.

The celebrity involvement in saving the planet has spurred many people to take seriously the threat of global warming. At one time people thought of these people as silly. But now we are seeing the results of the pollutants we are putting into the air. I think many of the respiratory problems can be directly attributed to the air we breathe.

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