Active Listening #2: Until there is nothing left by Natalie Draper

Active Listening is a series that unites composers with audiences who care about social justice. The goal of this series is to inspire empathy, educate listeners, and offer steps to actively support each cause. Each composer has chosen to address a social justice issue they feel passionate about, and with each installment, actions which listeners can take are provided.  A new installment of this 10-part performance video and interview series will be released on the first Wednesday of each month through September 2019, featuring works commissioned and performed by pianist Lior Willinger. This project has been funded by an award from the Presser Foundation.

The second installment of Active Listening takes on environmental concern, specifically questioning how we can fight against deforestation.

Until there is nothing left by Natalie Draper

Trees make life possible. They give us shade and oxygen. They prevent flooding and soil erosion. They provide a home to wildlife. They combat climate change by storing carbon. The New York Times recently reported on a study published in the journal Science Advances, which “found that better management of forests, grasslands and soils in the United States could offset as much as 21 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.” Obviously, we should try to protect trees, right? Seems like a simple equation, but money and greed tend to compute differently.

In live performances, Until there is nothing left is meant to be played alongside satellite imagery from NASA which reveals the effects of deforestation in the Mato Grasso region of Brazil. The time-lapse, which starts in 1984 and progresses to 2018, was assembled by Dr. Lauren Andrews, a NASA employee and college friend of the composer. This heartbreaking progression from vibrant green to lifeless brown is included in the video below, where you can listen to Natalie speak about protecting the Amazon rainforest and the negative impact of development on her childhood neighborhood.

So what can we do?

Natalie offers the following:

  1. Please consider making a donation to Amazon Watch, which is an organization that is invested in protecting the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous populations.
  2. Please consider making a donation to the Rainforest Trust, which works to purchase and protect the rainforest through partnerships and community engagement.
  3. Stay engaged with your local communities. Make sure that local land-use decisions are ones you agree with. If destructive decisions are being made, call your representatives. Write letters. Speak up. Don’t assume the issue will take care of itself.
  4. Learn about gardening and land use; plant a tree!

The recording of Until there is nothing left is available for download on Bandcamp. All proceeds from the sale of this track will go to support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Trust.

The time to start caring about land preservation is now, so let’s take the steps for a greener future.

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