If I could send a message to the world leaders who will soon assemble in Glasgow, it would be, in the words of a St Andrews honorary graduate:
What’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
What’ll you do now, my darling young one?
You have been around the world, seen and heard the evidence (the scientific data, the fires, the floods), and met the people whose lives will be most affected; now is the time to act before we “start sinking”.
In fact this song, written nearly 60 years ago, is full of topical references to the state of our world. For example, “sad forests” (acid rain), “dead oceans” (plastic pollution), “graveyard” (Covid), “black branch” (destruction of forests), “white ladder covered with water” (sea-level rise), “guns … in the hands of young children” (civil wars in Uganda and elsewhere), “wave” (from melting icecaps? or a tsunami?), “one man starve” (famine), “song of a poet” (here it is!), “young woman whose body was burning” (the next pandemic?), “man who was wounded in love/hatred” (persecution based on sexual orientation in some countries, the burden of prejudice that so many people have to carry), and so on.
Perhaps the song should be the anthem of COP26?