An Anti-Climatic Climactic Dogmatic – Petroleum Patrol Barbershop Quartet
2022, Senior, Performing Arts
Creating this piece of art has been an eye-opener in a way I didn’t expect. I had already known about the detriments of climate change and how it affects the oceans, but in researching more, I realized I didn’t truly know how deep it gets. I was inspired to do my project because I live in the hometown of Dow Chemical—Midland, Michigan. My dad grew up in the 80s in Midland with lungs full of air pollution and yards filled with soot, and he has told me all of his stories about how neglectful Dow was and still is. This idea only expanded through my exploring the internet. I’ve realized that mega-corporations that destroy the oceans and accelerate climate change are very performative in order to reach their customers. These corporations are pro-environment on their social media, but behind the screen, they do everything in their power to repeal regulations and destroy the earth for profit. This got me thinking about how I could use satire to make a song out of one of the most egregious ocean offenders, Big Oil. Each of the barbershop members represents a large oil conglomerate that has had negative effects on the oceans. My message in this piece is that while it is important to take individual actions, only systemic actions will change the course of our planet. We need to be stepping up and facing these large organizations and the government to take initiative and save the future generations and the environment. My message also goes out to these corporations in the fact that we only have one earth. Through this project, I learned so much about the history of climate change. For each decade, I have researched how things and people contributed to climate change itself, and the research that brought it to the public. Studying Al Gore’s environmental advocacy was earthshattering for me. I also learned how far back some of the current graphs we use for climate change go. The first thing I learned was about the Scripps study on Mauna Loa, which I referenced in the song. It’s fascinating how even in the 50s, scientists were trying to get this awareness to the public.