Top 10 Beautiful Songs about the Environment
A round up of some favourite songs about the environment and nature.
Inspiring songs about the environment
Music is an important way for us to express ourselves. Songs entertain us, and connect us to each other.
Artists take inspiration from the world around them, and many have written songs about the environment over recent times.
Music as a way to express concerns about the environment
Here are some songs that discuss the environment and climate change.
1. “Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell
This Joni Mitchell song from the early 1970s is still as relevant today as it was then.
In it, Joni raises concerns over the environmental damage we are doing to beautiful places, as we turn them into tourist traps.
It seems like a sweet and breezy pop song. But the core message of ‘You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone is’ is the concern of many over the environmental damage we are doing to the world.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lotBig Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
2. “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
This 1967 song by Louis Armstrong is about embracing the beauty of our natural environment. It uses imagery of nature to send a message of hope, and is a much loved classic song.
3. “The 3 R’s” – Jack Jackson
This Jack Johnson song is a sing-a-long for kids, but the message applies to us all.
It teaches the ideas of the 3 Rs of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling. These are core concepts in looking after our environment, and mitigating climate change.
4. “Feels Like Summer” – Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino is the stage name of Donald Glover, who earned a Grammy-nomination for “Feels Like Summer.”
The song includes metaphors to highlight environmental issues, including water shortages, and decreased bird populations. It has a bigger message than just enjoying the summer heat , but to think about the increased temperatures and what is causing the climate to change,
5. “After The Gold Rush” – Neil Young
Neil Young has been an environmental activist for years. His song ‘After the Gold Rush’ is a sci fi story about the damage we are doing to the environment.
6. “Mercy, Mercy Me” – Marvin Gaye
This song is a beautiful song about the environment, and how we have a responsibility to look after our planet. Marvin Gaye wrote the song in 1971, before people were as aware of climate change as we are now.
7. “Don’t Go Near The Water” – The Beach Boys
This Beach Boys song is about humans polluting the oceans, which the band were synonymous with through their songs about the surfing lifestyle.
8. “[Nothing But] Flowers” – Talking Heads
This Talking Heads song describes a post-apocalypse, where technology has been mostly eliminated, and nature has taken over to reclaim the land. It is the opposite of the story in Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, where they paved paradise.
In the song, the singer David Byrne appreciates the blessings and beauty of the wild natural world, but also misses the luxuries of modern life
9. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – Pixies
A dark and compelling song about environmentalism in a very Pixies style. The lyrics cover the damage done to the ozone layer and ocean pollution.
10. Nature – cover version by the Mutton Birds
“Nature” is a 1969 song by The Fourmyula, a New Zealand pop band. This version is a 1992 cover by The Mutton Birds.
“Nature” was written by Wayne Mason, the keyboard player of The Fourmyula. Mason describes the song was being written:
“in an hour on the front porch of my mum’s house, looking out on a beautiful day with trees and stuff. Bees were buzzing and my heart was fluttering.”Wayne Mason
This song has a special place in the heart of many New Zealanders, as it captures our feeling of connection with the natural world.
Links to more songs about the environment
Click here for another article about Songs about the Climate Crisis
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