Mother Earth Needs Us to Listen—These Environmental Anthems Are a Great Way to Start

This April, EBONY aims to raise awareness around environmental and sustainability concerns within the Black community and beyond. Through a selection of songs from iconic artists like Sade to Childish Gambino, this playlist is a powerful platform to amplify voices who have boldly advocated for positive change through song.

The tracks included speak directly to the urgency of addressing environmental challenges and promoting a more sustainable future down to social issues within our community.

To name a few, Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” poignantly reflects on the devastation caused by environmental destruction whereas Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” speaks on the state of the planet and calls for mercy and compassion towards the environment. As Black artists often use their craft to bring life to causes important to them, these songs and many others serve as anthems for the Earth Warriors of today.

Upon taking a deep dive into these tunes, the hope is that the melodies and lyrics will inspire action and spark meaningful conversations within the Black community about how we care for our world. A collective commitment to protecting our planet and ensuring a more equitable and sustainable world for future generations requires different levels of action needed; let these songs start you on your way to sustainability.

Michael Jackson, “Earth Song” 

In Michael Jackson’s song “Earth Song,” he addresses environmental issues. One specific lyric, “What have we done to the world? Look what we’ve done,” highlights the devastating impact of human activity on the Earth’s ecosystems and serves as a call to action for environmental stewardship.

Childish Gambino, “Feels Like Summer”

Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer” subtly touches on environmental issues, hinting at the looming threat of climate change and its impact on the seasons. One specific lyric, “Every day gets hotter than the one before,” alludes to the escalating temperatures caused by global warming, underscoring the urgency of addressing environmental concerns.

Louis Armstrong, “What a Beautiful World” 

Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” doesn’t explicitly address environmental issues, but its themes of appreciation for nature and beauty can resonate with environmental stewardship. A specific lyric, “I see trees of green, red roses too,” highlights the beauty of the natural world, inviting listeners to cherish and protect the environment.

Sade, “Pearls” 

Sade’s song “Pearls” subtly touches on the exploitation of natural resources and its impact on vulnerable communities. Sade sings, “There’s a woman in Somalia, scraping for pearls by the roadside.” It highlights the harsh reality faced by those living in impoverished regions where environmental degradation contributes to economic hardship and social injustice.

Marvin Gaye, “Mercy Mercy Me(The Ecology)” 

Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” expresses concern about pollution and its consequences on the planet. One specific lyric, “Fish full of mercury,” highlights the contamination of marine life and the harmful effects of industrial pollution on ecosystems.

Mereba, “Heatwave” 

Mereba’s “Heatwave” confronts the impact of climate change and rising temperatures. The lyric, “Trees swaying in the heatwave, pollen dancing in the air,” vividly portrays the effects of environmental changes on nature and human health.

2Pac, “Changes” 

While 2Pac’s “Changes” primarily addresses social and political issues, its themes of inequality and systemic injustice can intersect with environmental concerns, as marginalized communities often bear the brunt of environmental harm. 2Pac raps, “We gotta start makin’ changes, learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers,” reflecting the call for societal transformation and unity, which can also extend to collective action for environmental justice.

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

Kendrick Lamar‘s “Alright” includes themes of resilience and hope amidst adversity, which resonates with the need for environmental justice and sustainability. The lyric, “We gon’ be alright,” serves as a mantra of empowerment and collective action.

The O’Jays, “This Air I Breathe”

The O’Jays’ “This Air I Breathe” explores the importance of clean air and the consequences of pollution. The iconic group sings the line “Polluted skies, it’s hard to breathe,” and it highlights the detrimental effects of air pollution on human health.

Stevie Wonder, “The Secret Life Of Plants”

Stevie Wonder‘s “The Secret Life of Plants” delves into humanity’s interconnectedness with nature and the need for its preservation. Stevie sings, “Now I understand the secret of the soil” as it reflects on the profound wisdom and symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world, urging listeners to respect and nurture the planet.

Updated: April 16, 2024 — 3:02 pm