Music has been used as a tool for advocacy and change since it was invented. Throughout history, an assortment of topics have been covered in the lyrics of passionate artists: injustice, racism, poverty, war, and the list goes on. One topic that has not received as much attention as one would think is that of environmental justice. However, with the growing debate of climate change, global warming, sustainable energy, etc, the issue of environmentalism will surely find its way into more and more songs, like the ones listed below.
In honor of the amazing earth each one of us calls home, in today’s post we highlight 10 Environmental Songs that Advocate for Nature.
1) Colby and Awu – Green, Go Green
On this track, we aim to provide an inspiring environmental song that highlights the human impact being made on the planet and ask the world to “join hands” and “Go Green”. As we say in the song, “truly going green will take all of humanity, let’s come together for the planet ya’ll, we need some unity.”
2 ) Will.i.am – S.O.S (Explicit)
Normally known for being part of the pop/hip-hop band The Black Eyed Peas, American rapper and singer-songwriter Will.i.am goes solo in his song “S.O.S”, which is a call to the Almighty asking for assistance to heal the world’s ailing environment. Will.i.am asks “Jesus or Buddha, Muhammand, Jehovah, somebody come and help us out.”
3) Michael Franti and Spearhead – Hey World (Don’t Give Up)
Led my American poet, musician, and composer Michael Franti, the group Michael Franti and Spearhead reflect on the destruction of nature that has been caused by humans, and ponder the future of our planet. In the song’s chorus, Franti speaks for humanity, pleading to the Earth “Don’t give up on me, I won’t give up on you. Just believe in me like I believe in you.”
4) Markese “Doo Dat” Bryant – The Dream Reborn (My President is Green)
Underground hip-hop artist out of East Oakland, Markese “Doo Dat” Bryant spits out a gem in his song “The Dream Reborn.” Weaving in personal experience with more broad environmental issues, Doo Dat highlights a topic that is seldom referenced in the arena of hip-hop, as he expresses, “rappers never rap about it, they’d rather act hard, while these companies doing toxic in my backyard.” The Dream Reborn brings the Green Movement to hip-hop.
5) Niyorah – Globe All Warming
Roots reggae artist from the Virgin Islands, Niyorah, gives his perspective on one of the most talked about environmental issues: global warming. Referencing the increased temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels, Niyorah warns us that “our lives are about to change.”
6) Ziggy Marley – Dragonfly (Explicit)
Jamaican-born musician and son of the legendary Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley sings a song to the creatures of nature, advocating for the bees, dogs, cats, trees, butterflies, and the tiny dragonfly. In an effort to awaken the empathy and compassion of humanity towards nature, Marley ponders in his song, “I wonder how you’ll survive with the environment going down the drain…You must be wondering what kind of creature am I.”
7) Tracy Chapman – The Rape of the World
American singer-songwriter and Grammy award winner, Tracy Chapman, cuts to your core in her song “The Rape of the World.” Her poetic word choice brings a much needed feminist perspective to the rampant exploitation of our collective Mother Earth. Bringing attention to the variety of environmental ills man has inflicted on the earth, her chorus sum up her message: “Mother of us all, place of our birth, how can we stand aside and watch the rape of the world?”
8) Jamiroquai – Emergency on Planet Earth
British funk and acid jazz band, Jamiroquai, produce a funky song that highlights several social and environmental issues affecting the world. Confused by the lack of action being taken, Jamiroquai asks if “anybody’s listening?” as they scream out that “we got emergency on planet Earth.”
9) Mos Def – New World Water (Explicit)
Known as one of the most prolific lyricists in the history of hip-hop, New York based rapper Mos Def examines another highly important issue within the realm of environmental justice: access to clean water. Mos Def goes on to list a number of concerns related to water, but closes his song connecting these issues to the social malady of greed, as he states, “used to be free now it cost you a fee, ’cause it’s all about getting’ that cash money.”
10) Earth Song – Michael Jackson
International pop icon Michael Jackson’s “The Earth Song” is likely the most well-known environmental song ever made. Using a series of questions to help us all reflect on our responsibility to the earth, Jackson’s main question is “What have we done to the world?” If any song is going to inspire you to do something for the earth, it’s The Earth Song!
We hope this list of Environmental Songs has strengthened your connection with the earth and inspires you to do something to go green! If you’re looking for some more new music that will have you feeling inspired, go check out these 10 inspiring songs that make you want to change the world!
About the Authors
Colby and Awu are an international music duo, from the United States and Cameroon, committed to making music that uplifts your spirit and inspires you to make the world a better place! Their music is a blend of pop and hip-hop, mixed in with some African roots. They released their debut album, Change the World, in 2013 and are currently working on a 2nd album.
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