J500 Media and the Environment

Earth Day: A tribute in song by rarab

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

What better way is there to celebrate than with song? Here are some of my favorite environmental songs…I hope enjoy the “concert”!

First, no discussion of music and modern environmentalism would be complete without mentioning the great folk troubadour Woody Guthrie and his timeless anthem, This Land is Your Land.” It raised issues of Environmental Justice long before the movement had a name; it reclaimed our connection to our land–and empowered us with the knowledge that we’re all equal stakeholders when it comes to the future of our planet:

Our next act is the incomparable Joni Mitchell. To me, no single line sums up the importance of the environmental movement than her angelic falsetto: Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone……so here she is to perform, Big Yellow Taxi:

There were several artists throughout the 1970s who addressed environmental issues, Jackson Browne’s, Doctor My Eyes,” immediately comes to mind…but since to me the 70s is always about the birth of punk, what better song to showcase than “London Calling” by The Clash? Always the prophet, Joe Strummer painted a clear picture of nuclear holocaust and subsequent climate change: “The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in, engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin, a nuclear error, but I have no fear, London is drowning and I live by the river…”

I came of age in the 1980s, and so that’s pretty much my frame of reference. During that otherwise forgettable decade known for parachute pants and acid-washed jeans, R.E.M, more than any other band carried the environmental banner. My favorite environmentally-themed song of theirs is a tune called, Cuyahoga,” which recounts the horrors of a polluted river that once served as the playground for childhood memories. Cant’ beat an opening like: “Let’s put our heads together and start a new country up…” Can I get a whoot-whoot?:

I had intended to include a video of hip-hop artists Public Enemy, but, alas, the song I wanted to showcase, Bedlam 13:13 is not available on YouTube. Still, check out the lyrics: “No more, no more/Mother earth gets treated like a whore…” Preach, Chuck D! Of course, I should also mention the great work of KRS-One, too.

So there you have it, the first half of our Earth Day concert…want an encore? Just add your favorite clips to this discussion!



1 Comment so far
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Your concert rocked. So what are you thoughts on something like Live Earth? Not a lot of songs about the environment, but a lot of messaging around the songs. . .

Comment by j500

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