Collecting climate music

One of the collections of Climate Museum UK is songs and compositions about climate change (and the wider planetary crisis).

It feels important to capture the musical response to the unfolding planetary emergency. Musicians/Artists gathered in this list might be commissioned for new works. Researchers might use this collection to inform research on music & arts about the environment. These songs can provide solace or inspiration, or be sung in protests or performances.

CLIMATE MUSEUM UK PLAYLISTS

There are 100s of songs/pieces on our Spotify playlists:

OTHER INSPIRATIONS OR RESOURCES

  • The public Facebook group Green Sounds. Relevant lyrics are shared, as well as You Tube links.
  • The Centre for Climate Safety has been collecting (see their playlist of 148 climate music) and researching climate music. Here’s a podcast where they discussed some climate songs. See their substantial resource of links to videos and projects, with an Australian leaning.
  • Extinction Rebellion has a ‘demonstration choir’ that focuses on one song, Emergency by Blythe Pepino. The choir can be created by you and spring up anywhere. Videos of many demonstration choir appearances, and instructions on how to do it, are on this Facebook group. 
  • The Strawberry Thieves choir in South East London sings at protest events for environmental and social justice. Here are scores and parts for their songs about climate change.
  • Paula Downes is a music educator active in the climate movement, who offers some songs, including sheet music for World Anthem by Andrew Downes.
  • ‘Layman Human’ has made all his climate songs available for free
  • Love Songs for the Planet are 18 familiar love songs rewritten with a climate twist.
  • Composer Jonathan Dove, who went on Cape Farewell’s expedition to West-Greenland in 2008, launched a work named Gaia Theory for a symphony orchestra which was premiered during the BBC Proms 2014. Inspired by the work of James Lovelock and continuing Dove’s concern to address environmental issues in his music, Gaia Theory takes as its starting point Lovelock’s idea that the Earth behaves as a self-regulating organism, and his description of all the inter-related processes maintaining the earth in the optimum conditions for life as a kind of dance.
  • Houses Slide by Laura Bowler, a commission from the London Sinfonietta, is powered by bicycles and reflects Laura’s journey in response to climate change
  • Aslak Grinsted is a climate scientist who makes music when he’s on location in Greenland doing his research.
  • Climate Elvis and his song Climate Rock
  • More than just music, a radical performance troupe led by (Reverend) Billy Talen, The Church of Stop Shopping
  • A song called Something in the Air shared by Pete Smith
  • The Sustain Series is a volume of music created by recycling other pieces, and all on themes of sustainability and climate.
  • For thoughts on how you might use songs: In a creative guide for the #RiseforClimate day of action (8th Sept ’18) Lu Aya of the Peace Poets has shared some ways that music can be used in movements for climate action and justice: Gathering, Grounding, Focus, Energising, De-escalation, Grieving, Bonding, Moving, Transitioning: Escalating, Accompanying, Channeling, Messaging, Transforming, Beauty, Rage, Love, Connectedness, Purpose, Closing.
  • And some other climate-themed albums and playlists on Spotify:
  • The playlist below is music produced by the duo ‘Decades After Paris’ in chronological order of the place each song has in the story. The 2015 album tells a story of our future with climate change, starting at the NYC People’s Climate March in 2014. Subsequent releases contribute to this story, at different parts of the timeline. The latest piece, Apocalypse Sky was a response to forest fires in 2017.

Comment on this post or email on climatemuseumuk@gmail.com if you’d like to add a track to the collection.

Published by: bridgetmck

Founder of Climate Museum UK. Director of Flow Associates, cultural consultants, since 2006. See www.flowassociates.com Before this I was head of learning at the British Library, Education Officer at Tate and similar roles.

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