Five Fab Eco Songs
- Friday, 27 March 2009
Musicians have a captive audience, so it's no surprise that the eco-minded are using their stage as a soapbox of sorts, spreading the word about environmentalism wherever they go. But some musicians don't just talk about the environment, they sing about it.
We've compiled our favorite eco music. There's something for everyone, from folk-loving hippies to hipsters with eco souls. Listen to the music and then share the ones you like with friends-you can never spread eco awareness too far.
"Escarpment Blues" by Sarah Harmer
The haunting beauty of Sarah Harmer's voice is enough to make people fall in love with her, but her fight to prevent mining on the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada, has also propelled her into a role as environmental activist. "Escarpment Blues," an ode to her struggle, only adds fuel to her fire by exposing the issue to people around the world, and a forthcoming documentary about her efforts to prevent mining will only compound pressure on politicians to protect the land.
"The Horizon Has Been Defeated" by Jack Johnson
Hawaii native Jack Johnson is on a mission. At every single concert, Johnson's brainchild All At Once brings together community and environmental organizations in the Village Green to give concert-goers information on environmental issues and (hopefully) get them involved in global change. Take a listen to "The Horizon Has Been Defeated," a song that calls for a less mechanized world. Though not strictly environmental, lines such as "And then the rigs begin to drill/Until the drillin' goes too far" speak to Johnson's passion for a more natural and eco-centric way of life. (For more on Jack Johnson, check out this interview with Sara Snow on Tree Hugger.)
"Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies
Opening with a strong reference to water pollution, The Pixies' "Monkey Gone to Heaven" is a standard for environmentally themed music. While sewage sludge creates vivid imagery from the first verse, ozone depletion and climate change is highlighted as Black Francis sings: "Now there's a hole in the sky/And the ground's not cold/And if the ground's not cold/Everything's gonna burn."
"Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell
It's been covered by the Counting Crows and Amy Grant, and referenced by Janet Jackson, but you really can't beat Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." The song was penned on Mitchell's first trip to Waikiki, Hawaii, when she looked out her hotel window to the breathtaking landscape in the distance, then looked down and saw, you guessed it, a giant parking lot. The song also calls on farmers to "Put away that DDT" because a few spots on produce really don't matter-and with Mitchell's sweetly serene voice, how could we not listen to her 'go organic' message?
"Slower Than Guns" by Iron Butterfly
From 1970's Metamorphosis, "Slower Than Guns" is about air pollution killing as effectively as (if slower than) guns. If you're not an Iron Butterfly fan, don't let it stop your from checking out this track. The song is, oddly enough, a folk tune turned exotic by the use of a sitar, a traditional string instrument used in the Indian subcontinent since the Middle Ages-not what you'd expect from a psychedelic rock band.