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The Rules

This is part of a project called #ChoirsForEcocideLaw with a number of other composers and artists. Download the score here (free for climate-related campaigning). Recording below (just a demo for now, please ignore my voice quality!)

hutchingsmusic · The Rules – DEMO ONLY

Email me if you’d be interested in performing this. For 2-part choir and piano, optional divisi to 4 parts. This is a somewhat dark and angry piece and might not be suitable for very young singers.

If you prefer a lower version, here’s the Dm score. (Email me for a recording of the Dm version.)

Complete lyrics (if you’re getting bored of the spoken bit, skip to about 1 minute in):

[SPOKEN] The Amazon has been called the lungs of the world. It has between 200 billion and 400 billion trees.
Every day, about 10,000 acres are cut down. Every year, about a billion trees are lost.
It’s estimated that the Amazon cannot possibly survive if it loses 25% of its trees.
But it might be less than that. We don’t know where the tipping point is.
When the lungs of the world stop breathing, will we blame it on the axe that cut down the last tree?
Or the man who swung the axe? Or on the boss who gave the order?
Or the people who bought their products and drove their profits?
Or the laws that encouraged the corporations to make a profit at all costs?
Or the governments that didn’t make any rules to stop them?

[SUNG] All the rules say that it doesn’t really matter if the last tree dies
All the rules say it’s OK to poison rivers if your profits rise
When the fish are dead and the streams won’t flow
The polluters shrug and say well, you know,
It’s within the rules: do they take us all for fools?
When the last drop of water’s gone
and the crops and the harvest fail
who’s to blame?
When the last living tree is felled
And we see that the forest’s gone
Is the axe to blame?
Or the man who wields the axe? Or the man who owns the land?
Or the man who sold the tree? Or the man who bought the logs?
But it’s all within the law
that says it’s okay, profit’s good,
chop the tree, sell the wood,
plough the land, feed the cows,
eat the steak, enjoy it now…
All the rules say you can keep on taking water till the well runs dry
All the rules say there’s a fine but you can pay it when your stocks get high
If there’s profit made for a corporation
Then the boss won’t care ’bout deforestation
And we know they’re fools, but it’s not against the rules
It’s in the rules…
Under the North Sea there is an oil field
And if the sale of drilling rights go through
It’ll make a twenty billion dollar profit
And about a billion tonnes of CO2
When the atmosphere traps the heat
When the ice on the mountain melts
Who’s to blame?
When the water begins to rise
When the cities begin to flood
Is the sea to blame?
Or the heat that melts the ice? Or the gas that traps the heat?
Or the car that burned the fuel? Or the men who drilled the well?
But it’s all within the law
that says it’s okay, drill the well,
get the oil, time to sell,
just a little CO2,
one degree or maybe two (three, four, five…)
All the rules say you can keep on burning oil until the sky’s aflame
All the rules say that the companies and governments are not to blame
When the seas rise up and the buildings fall
And an angry planet comes to call
You can’t hide behind the rules
We won’t care about the rules
Who’s to blame? (x6)
Are we to blame?