Sustainability is the cultural infusion of ecological values into everyday life in order to encourage actions that promote stewardship. Also, sustainability encourages that people do not live above their needs to allow resources to last long term and keep future generations in mind. Society today is full of consumers, which is leading to the destruction and degradation of natural resources. In order to change this and move towards a more sustainable society we need to infuse good environmental ethics into our lives.
Music is a huge part of most cultures. It is everywhere and it is powerful, and can alter emotions, and behavior. Therefore, if good environmental ethics were infused into our music, then maybe we would be moving towards a more sustainable mindset. Many artists today incorporate environmental messages into their songs. Below are a few songs that encourage environmental stewardship and spread awareness, but that are also catchy and upbeat.
1. Xavier Rudd- “Messages”
In this song Xavier Rudd speaks about the beauty in nature and that it is in jeopardy because, “some people they just won’t understand,” the consequence of their behavior towards nature. He implies that deep down everyone has a connection and finds fulfillment within nature. He encourages the listener to act upon that feeling of connection to protect nature. He also says to the listener, “well I know you are strong,” as part of the encouragement to do something about the environmental destruction we are facing today.
Dr. Octagon released “Trees” in 2006, a song about the importance of trees. Throughout the song the chorus is continuously repeated, “Trees are dying” this is a result of our behavior. This song doesn’t have very cheerful lyrics, but Dr. Octagon uses a catchy beat to spread the awareness of how important trees are in our society and how we are misusing them. He mentions that we are being exposed to due to our environmentally unconscious behavior in the form of high levels of carbon dioxide and pesticides. Lastly, the music video is hilarious but it could also portray a future, if society does not start using trees more sustainability.
Imogen Heap released this song in 2009. This song is telling the listener that the mess that humans have to work on is reversing the damages that they have done to the environment. In this song she sings, “You're gonna lose it all and find yourself on your knees. So get a grip and you might flow, reverse the great slow bleed. I've tried patience but you always want a war this house won't tolerate anymore.” She also encourages action now, unlike all the other songs on this list. Also, the song sounds like she is not giving us a choice, we either reverse our damages or else, an interesting idea.
The environmental lyric meaning of this song is more abstract compared to the other songs. Unlike the other songs on this list, Jelen does not clearly say it is about the earth. However, we can assume he is referring to the earth because he mentions not wanting to miss the sunlight pouring through the trees. Also, he is known for writing songs with an environmental message. In this song, he encourages everyone to understand the damage that we have done to the earth and to react on it. He describes the damage we have done to the earth as the “wreckage”, and encourages us, the listener to be part of the solution, “to climb out of the wreckage.”