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Road to Hell

In: English and Literature

Submitted By PernilleLarsen
Words 891
Pages 4
Road to Hell
An academic essay

Today we bear the burden of older generations’ ecological mistakes. The industrialisation brought many machines and factories and since then, technology has progressed enormously both for the good – and bad.
The spoiling of the nature does not stop there, however, because we continue in their footsteps, not caring whether or not our grandchildren will ever know a green forest or a sparkly river. “It is not my problem,” some people say, and maybe that is true. But that will change if we do not do something.
Many organisations – like Green Peace – work towards living on a better planet and treating the world with care.

One might walk outside today and think: ”This looks nice, I do not see a problem with nature as it is”, but that is only true to an extent. Many of the major changes, which happen in nature, are not visible in the western world. For instance, the polar ice caps are melting, which some day may cause the sea levels to rise and flood coastal cities. That is not something we can see when we look out the window, and that makes it hard to relate to.
Many rainforests are cut down to grow fields, use the wood for paper and such and to build cities and factories (resulting in extinction of many animal and plant species) but it is not something we see with our own eyes, so it might as well not happen in the first place. Furthermore, flushing soap, chemicals, etc. down the drain, damages the ecosystem because clean water is spoiled – water in which millions of animals live.

When we throw garbage in nature, we walk away, so we do not always realise that it takes hundreds of years, maybe even thousands, for a soda can or a piece of plastic to break down and disappear. Even though our ancestors did carry some blame, we are still carrying the bigger fault. That is exactly what Chris Rea sings, and writes, about in his song “Road to Hell”.

Well I'm standing by a river,
But the water doesn't flow
It boils with every poison you can think of.

The song is low style, the language modern and quick. With the song, Chris Rea tells a story of a man (possibly himself) and in this paragraph, he mentions a river overrunning with poison – poison that human kind put there, chemicals that we do not realise damage more than they do good. He does not just sing of ecological damage though, but of capitalism as well:

She said "Son, what are you doing here?
My fear for you has turned me in my grave"
I said "Mama, I come to the valley of the rich
Myself to sell"
She said "Son, this is the road to Hell"

Here he talks about selling your soul for money, “the valley of the rich”, and his mother, someone “With a face that he knew like his own”, is fearful and worries about him because of the path he (and the rest of the western world) has taken. In the song, fear has literally turned her in her grave, awoken her and brought her to him.

The song contains many different subjects, as seen above both ecological issues; human kind destroying the earth we live on, and capitalistic issues; the western world has become a violent, money-fixated society that does not care about anything but itself, as shown in the paragraph below:

And the perverted fear of violence
Chokes a smile on every face
And common sense is ringing out the bells
This ain't no technological breakdown
Oh no, this is the road to Hell.

Common sense rings out the bell, it simply disappears from us, leaving us a violent and greedy mess. In his eyes, human kind is on its way straight to hell.
That is an agreeable statement, however much we try to deny it. Cars oozing out CO2, money spent on material things, chemicals everywhere, and an indifference towards what we are doing to our surroundings.
Nevertheless, there is still hope.
Today, even though we waste more than ever, we also preserve more than we have ever done before. Wind- and watermills give us green energy, electric and sun driven cars make driving less wasteful. We buy more and more organic foods, green chemicals and soaps, we recycle anything recyclable and TV, radio and newspapers write and talk about it all the time: We have do to something! And that is what we do.
We are standing at a crossroad, and we have two choices: Indifference or action. We can do nothing or everything. We can take the bus instead of the car; recycle cans, paper, plastic, glass and food. Turn off the lights when we leave a room and wash our dishes and clothes on low heat.
If we all do a little for our planet, then the worst case scenario that Chris Rea sings off will not come true, and we will not be on our way to hell. We have been walking down that road. But if we realize what is about to happen, we still have time to rectify our mistakes. We just have to stop going down that road and choose a byway instead.
A road to heaven – not hell.

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