Music has long been part of human existence.
Songs about the environment speak directly to the listener’s heart, cautioning them against pollution while creating awareness of serious environmental issues.
Over the years, many artists have expressed concern for the environmental situation, with issues like global warming, acid rain, floods, and storms taking center stage.
From the King of Pop to Josh Willis, here are the 30 best environmental anthems with a powerful message about the climate crisis, pollution, and the impact of man’s activities on the planet.
Table of Contents
- 1. “The Warnings Part 1” by David Axelrod
- 2. “Moon Over Marin” by Dead Kennedys
- 3. “A Day In The Life Of A Tree” by The Beach Boys
- 4. “Fall On Me” by R.E.M.
- 5. “Supernature” by Cerrone
- 6. “(Nothing But) Flowers” by Talking Heads
- 7. “All The Good Girls Go To Hell” by Billie Eilish
- 8. “Seminole Wind” by John Anderson
- 9. “Despite Repeated Warnings” by Paul McCartney
- 10. “The Silent Life” by Rivers of Nihil
- 11. “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson
- 12. “S.O.S (Mother Nature)” by will.i.am
- 13. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
- 14. “The Landscape Is Changing” by Depeche Mode
- 15. “Eyes Wide Open” by Gotye
- 16. “Planet B” by King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
- 17. “Paradise” by John Prine
- 18. “Wake Up America” by Miley Cyrus
- 19. “Pollution” by Tom Lehrer
- 20. “Blackened” by Metallica
- 21. “Feels Like Summer” by Childish Gambino
- 22. “Trouble In The Water” by Common
- 23. “4 Degrees” by Anohni
- 24. “Nature’s Way” by Spirit
- 25. “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young
- 26. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
- 27. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
- 28. “Climate Rock” by Josh Willis
- 29. “The Three R’s” by Jack Johnson
- 30. “I Won’t Ever Be Happy Again” by Bright Eyes
- Best Songs About the Environment – Final Thoughts
1. “The Warnings Part 1” by David Axelrod
David Axelrod combined jazz, soul, and funk elements to revolutionize the 90s hip-hop music scene.
But before that, he had released a 1970s song warning the world of environmental pollution.
The song is both absorbing and frightening, with its biblical extracts from the book of Genesis.
And it has since become an environmental anthem.
2. “Moon Over Marin” by Dead Kennedys
Dead Kennedys’ song is about the Californian city of Marin.
The lead singer, Jello Biafra, reminds everyone that humans are busy destroying the environment.
And he wears a gas mask to protect himself from the polluted air.
3. “A Day In The Life Of A Tree” by The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys sums up his feelings about environmental pollution in the 1971 song.
The singer talks about the planet’s sorry state and the tree’s thoughts if it could talk.
The song is considered one of Brian Wilson’s most touching hits and an environmental anthem.
The tree can also be considered a metaphor, representing man’s life on earth, from birth to death.
The pain in the singer’s voice makes it a special tribute to the environment.
4. “Fall On Me” by R.E.M.
“Fall On Me” was one of R.E.M.’s first-ever environment anthems.
Even though the initial composition was about acid rain, the song has become an anthem for the oppressed.
5. “Supernature” by Cerrone
“Supernature” was from Cerrone’s 1977 album, inspired by the environmental situation.
The cautionary song imagines the effect of artificial chemicals on the environment.
It topped the US disco/dance charts in 1978 and peaked at #70 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
6. “(Nothing But) Flowers” by Talking Heads
This song is about the post-apocalypse and modern technology.
David Byrne envisions a new world after the apocalypse, when cars, factories, and shopping malls are all gone.
And humanity doesn’t rely on modern technology anymore.
The message is that the world can take that route if we neglect the environment and the weather.
7. “All The Good Girls Go To Hell” by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish sings about climate change in the 6th single from her 2019 studio album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The song emphasizes the whole idea that man has messed up the planet.
It received positive reviews from music critics, entering the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at #46.
8. “Seminole Wind” by John Anderson
John Anderson laments man’s destructive activities for selfish gain.
The instrumentation is brilliant.
And the eerie feel is the icing on the cake, complementing the song’s lyrics perfectly.
9. “Despite Repeated Warnings” by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney rose to worldwide fame as a member of The Beatles.
He wrote “Despite Repeated Warnings” as a cautionary track about global warming.
Paul composed this song after visiting Japan and realizing that many were reluctant to accept climate change.
He wanted to attract global attention to the subject.
10. “The Silent Life” by Rivers of Nihil
This is a song about erroneous living.
The addressee realizes that he’s lived his life erroneously and wishes to right the wrongs.
But it’s too late.
The singer uses the leaves in fall metaphorically to represent the changing stages of life.
11. “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson personalizes the earth when discussing the mess man has caused the planet.
This is one of the few times MJ switched from his typical dance anthems to a more touching composition about the environment.
The earth is ‘crying’ because of pollution, wars, and climate crises.
And humanity is to blame.
12. “S.O.S (Mother Nature)” by will.i.am
Will.i.am’s catchy song talks about man’s shifting focus from caring for the environment to making money.
The song portrays climate change as the next biggest threat because man has taken the environment for granted for far too long.
This track will convince you man is the globe’s worst enemy.
And it might even change your opinion about climate change.
13. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong’s song expresses the beauty of the world and the people.
The song’s message is that despite everything in the world, there’s plenty to cherish and newfound optimism for future generations.
This may be the only reminder to take care of the environment.
14. “The Landscape Is Changing” by Depeche Mode
The landscape is changing because of man’s activities
The singer expresses his concern for the environment because of man’s actions.
Apart from creating awareness that the landscape’s changing, the song also reminds everyone to “take care of the world.”
15. “Eyes Wide Open” by Gotye
Gotye looks to the future in her 2011 alternative rock song.
The track is about the future generations living on a planet messed up by man’s activities.
According to Gotye, the real tragedy isn’t the looming climate change.
It is that humans are aware of their destructive activities and do nothing about them.
The lyrics are painfully relevant, making it one of the greatest songs about the environment and caring for it.
The line, “We walk the plank with our eyes wide open,” references man’s walk towards their death from their activities.
16. “Planet B” by King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
The Australian rock band wrote a heavy rock song with some environmental messages.
“Plan B” takes a general view of the environmental situation and how man has messed up the beautiful planet.
The music video is bizarre.
But the blatant message about the environment has always remained relevant.
“Open your eyes and see/There is no Planet B.”
17. “Paradise” by John Prine
John Prine wrote a touching tribute to his father about strip coal mining, a trending topic at the time.
The song quickly became an environmental anthem for those who cared about protecting it.
But not every listener was happy with Prine’s message, making the song’s message a subject of controversy.
Whatever your opinion, John Prine’s painfully relevant message about the impacts of strip mining will live with us forever.
18. “Wake Up America” by Miley Cyrus
“Wake Up America” is an upbeat song about environmentalism and other global warming and pollution issues.
Cyrus’ raspy vocals stand out.
But the powerful call to action is even more beautiful, urging everyone to step up their effort to save the planet.
We don’t know which is more interesting.
Listening to a 15-year-old Miley Cyrus singing a powerful ode to Mother Nature.
Or seeing her going away from her typical jingle-jam hits about her love life.
19. “Pollution” by Tom Lehrer
“Just two things of which you must beware: /Don’t drink the water and don’t breathe the air.”
The issue of pollution and climate change stands out from the beginning of Tom Lehrer’s narration.
The singer takes a humorous view of the environmental situation in the US, warning people to act before it’s too late.
20. “Blackened” by Metallica
Metallica will be remembered for many hits like “One,” “Master of Puppets, and “Fade to Black.”
But one of their greatest songs had a strong societal and environmental message.
“Blackened” is about Armageddon, but it also covers the theme of deforestation and pollution.
The heavy guitar riffs set the mood before the song switches to rhythmic dual guitars.
21. “Feels Like Summer” by Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino’s song deals with global warming and climate change.
The animated music video features top celebrities like Migos, J Cole, and Will Smith enjoying summer activities.
It’s easy to assume that the song is about the summer.
But the lyrics tell a different story, with Gambino warning about climate change and its dangers.
He asserts that human is to blame for everything as “every day gets hotter than the one before.”
22. “Trouble In The Water” by Common
Common, Aaron Fresh, Laci Kay, Kumasi, and Malik Yusef collaborated on one of the greatest compositions about climate change.
The song was meant to spread a message about climate change and attract people’s attention to the potential dangers.
According to the singer, the climate crisis is just as real as anything else, and the faster humanity acts, the better the survival chances.
From the beginning to the end, the song mentions pollution, temperature changes, and water contamination, a sign that man must act quickly to save the situation.
23. “4 Degrees” by Anohni
Anohni’s alternative song is one of the best hits about the environment and climate change.
In the 3-minute track, the singer foresees the apocalypse through man’s continued disregard for the planet.
The song’s mood goes from sad to guilty and panicky.
And it’s sure to evoke emotions every time you listen to it.
24. “Nature’s Way” by Spirit
Spirit’s 1970 rock song is an ode to mortality and the planet’s fate.
The singer talks about nature telling us that something’s wrong as a reminder of how man has taken the environment for granted.
Almost five decades later, nature’s still reminding man that something’s wrong.
25. “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young
Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” is considered one of the best songs about the environment.
The song denotes the passage of time, with the narrator reflecting on life’s journey.
26. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” is the song everybody needs today.
It is a sorrowful cry for the planet and how man has destroyed it.
The singer talks about everything wrong with the world today, from radiation to oil spillage in oceans and blue skies.
Surely how much longer before man acts?
27. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” isn’t always the first name that comes to mind when talking about the best songs about the environment.
It has a subtle message about the environment, with the ultimate realization humanity has destroyed everyday life.
Many people interpret the lyrics differently.
But it is still perfect for the playlist of the greatest songs about the environment, climate, and weather.
28. “Climate Rock” by Josh Willis
NASA scientist Josh Willis demystifies all the myths and misconceptions about the climate.
He talks about man’s activities and their impact on the climate.
The song earned him the nickname Climate Elvis.
29. “The Three R’s” by Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson’s 3 R’s of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” encourages everyone to be mindful of their activities.
It is a delicate reminder of environmental consciousness and a memorable tune to sing with your kids.
30. “I Won’t Ever Be Happy Again” by Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes’ Conor Orbest expresses his sadness at the status of the planet in this song.
While it isn’t an outright song about the environment, it echoes the sentiments of environmental action.
Best Songs About the Environment – Final Thoughts
With the degrading environmental condition, many artists are bringing the world’s attention to the climate crisis and its threat to human existence.
Music lovers are fast realizing the impact of man’s activities on the environment and the potential threat to future generations.
And we hope our list of the 30 best songs about the environment, climate change, and crisis has been an eye-opener in the journey to redemption.
While creating the perfect playlist with the best songs about the environment, remember to take care of it.
Let’s save the planet by working together.