Whose garden was this? It must have been lovely
Did it have flowers? I've seen pictures of flowers
And I'd love to have smelled one
Whose river was this?
You say it ran freely?
Blue was its color?
I've seen blue in some pictures,
And I'd love to have been there.
Tell me again, I need to know
The forests had trees, the meadows were green
The oceans were blue and birds really flew
Can you swear that was true?
I first heard this song by Tom Paxton in 1970. As an environmental protest song, it was ahead of its time. It imagines a world in which Nature is denuded - a world in which flowers, gardens and trees live only in human memory.
Fifty years since the song first surfaced, its warning message remains more relevant than ever. All over this over-populated planet Nature is in retreat largely because of mankind's short-sighted carelessness or perhaps our indifference. Forests are shrinking as deserts spread. Birdsong is declining along with the humming of insects.
Wild mammals are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the creatures that inhabit our oceans - some of them not yet even discovered. It's enough to fill your heart with despair.
I think of a desperate, malnourished polar bear floating away to oblivion on a a raft of ice as Tom Paxton sings the background song or perhaps the film makers would choose the late Vera Lynn's version instead. If only our politicians, influencers and leaders of commerce and industry were listening. Soon it will be too late.