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Editor's Note: Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa is a Sikh historian, scholar and accomplished author. His most recent project expresses his passion for the existential issue of our time: Climate Crisis. 

Khalsa behind the scenes directing his musical anthem. 

Khalsa has a history of being helpers and saviors.  When the dark shadow of religious oppression hung over north India 300 hundred years ago, the Khalsa took on the powerful Mughal state.  When the British empire made a business of suffocating freedom-loving people around the world, again the Khalsa took a stand.  The spirit of the Akali Movement shook the bigoted foundations of empire and soon the British Raj was history. 

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Khalsa's anthem uses comedic themes to address this very serious issue. 

Everyone is an activist.  Eating and sleeping is activity.  It is activism.  But a Khalsa dedicates their actions to a greater cause.  Acting on the broad canvas of history, they serve the good of all.

The inspiration behind the Climate Crisis Anthem music video did not come to me all at once.  It arrived like a slow dawn on another galaxy, taking some months and years to clear the horizon.

Khalsa's anthem is creative and collaborative, invoking youth and dance. 

The urgency of today’s climate crisis is self-evident.  You yourself may have experienced the wrath of Mother Nature, her rhythms akilter, in the form of flood or hurricane or wildfire.  You may have witnessed it from afar on the internet or on television.  Something terrible is happening – in the oceans, in the sky, on the land - and it is gaining momentum with each passing year.

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One dance particularly invokes dance and nature (video below)

There is no lack of evidence.  And there is no shortage of sound scientific analysis.  But these things alone cannot and will not change the terrible course of destiny. 

Climate change is a justice issue - these 6 charts show why

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In Washington and Houston, London and Riyadh, powerful cabals obstruct the way.  Rather than owning responsibility for their role in the growing climate catastrophe, they fight tooth and nail to distance themselves from the outcomes of their polluting ways, and the responsibility of helping those who suffer most from the ravages of storm and fire and drought in the “developing world”. 

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Young girls dance in 'Climate Crisis Anthem'

We need a change in culture.  Young people everywhere are calling for it.  They have formed groups to lobby for it.  Fridays for Future.  Climate Justice Alliance.  UK Youth Climate Coalition.  Sunrise Movement.  

How does anyone change a culture?  You make the culture anew.  You make new songs and new poems, novels and movies with new plots and new heroes.  In your storylines, you uplift the downtrodden and ridicule the haughty evil-doer.  

This is the idea that came to me.  And once I started on it, Waheguruji provided abundant assistance in making our Climate Crisis Anthem music video.  

CLIMATE CRISIS ANTHEM from Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa on Vimeo.

First, a student of mine arranged for friends to perform and record the famous “Funeral March” by Chopin with their brass instruments.  It was not technically perfect, but it was perfect for us, as amateurs taking on the trillion-dollar energy establishment.

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Mothers celebrating with their children is also a visual theme you will see in the Anthem. 

Second, an accomplished children’s choir director expressed her willingness to help.  In the end, she was not able to assist, but her early vote of confidence was a big boost at the time.

Third, Karina Skye Barros aka Siri Priya Kaur from Brazil and Florida, enthusiastically offered to contribute her musical inspiration.

Fourth, Thomas Barquee, whose work I had long admired, agreed to be music producer for a minimal rate of pay.  With his skill and artistic connections, he helped a lot.

Fifth, as the need arose, countless people pitched in financially according to their means.  Some days it seemed we would never have enough, but in the end, we had just what we needed.

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And so it went, one thing after another.  We needed credit.  Credit materialized.  We needed someone to film some scenes.  Someone turned up with helpers.  We needed dancers.  Dancers came forward.  We needed actors.  Actors were found.  We needed someone for the role of Mother Earth.  She materialized.  We needed a violinist for the Finale.  He volunteered his magic.  We needed a colourful coffin for Mother Earth.  Somebody made it.  Waheguruji provided all our people and resources.  

It has been almost two years now.  We have gone from having nothing, to having an extraordinary piece of art. Someone at a television station in Capetown, South Africa early on said they wanted to broadcast our music video.  Now, we are broadcasting email invitations to people around the world.

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Love your mother, celebrate your mother

We are in good company.  Khalsa rarely works alone.  David Suzuki is our main shining environmental star in Canada.  Greta Thunberg is our best-known hero of the climate in Sweden.  Jim Hansen in the US is one of the founders of the scientific study of climate change. Licypriya Kangujam is providing youthful leadership from India.  Harjeet Singh at the Climate Action Network is a powerful voice for people in the Global South.  And there are many, many others.

I hope you will watch our Climate Crisis Anthem music video.  You may like it.  You may not like it.  But if you share it with others, you will help the cause, even if you never do another thing for future generations.  

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The finale of Khalsa's vision features a graceful, dancing figure emerging from a climate coffin (symbolizing a the resilience of Mother Earth if destructive forces were to cease). 

I am also encouraging people to make their own versions in their own languages and to post variations on TikTok.  All these things build a momentum toward a green and living future in these dangerous and delirious times.

I am humbled that Waheguruji has allowed me to play this role as a climate warrior.  It is a role you can take up as well.  Climate warriors are today much in need.  No experience in saving a planet is necessary.

[Behind the scenes of Climate Crisis Anthem photo credit: John Paul Salgueiro]

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