Age of Oil

It was as if there was a contest
To see how many holes could be dug
To see how much of it could be sucked from the ground
To kill off every beetle and bug
To kill off every woman and child
To kill off every man
And they put it all in barrels
Then they put the barrels into cans
That’s how it was at the end of the age of oil

It was like a competition
To see how big everything could get
From the highways to the strip malls
To the giant TV sets
From the MOABs to the draglines
Monster trucks and SUVs
And the massive roaring chainsaws
That cut down all the trees
That’s how it was at the end of the age of oil

It was like they were trying to see
How many garbage dumps they could fill
How many flagpoles they could squeeze
Onto a single windowsill
How many countries could be bombed
How much black gold they could drill
How much coal could they extract
If they just blew up the hills
That’s how it was at the end of the age of oil

It was as if there was some kind of test
And the only way to pass
Was to turn the planet’s atmosphere
Into a cloud of poison gas
It was like the only thing that mattered
Was the death of life on Earth
That seemed to be the proof
That you had made your money’s worth
That’s how it was at the end of the age of oil

And now here we are
Rotting in this bubble
And I’m looking at my grandchildren
Framed in by the rubble
Wondering what I coulda done
To avert this fate
But I was too busy playing concerts
Saying fuck isn’t life great
That’s how it was at the end of the age of oil

“Age of Oil” originally appeared as part of the online album, Waiting for the Fall, in 2005 (different from the later compilation album with the same name). It was inspired by the feeling like we’re on the brink of extinction as a species, or somewhere close to it, and most of the world’s political leadership, especially the United States, acts like this isn’t the case, and the fracking, offshore oil drilling, coal burning, etc., continue to cause worsening climate change.

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