We’ve Put Together A Playlist Of Happy, Sad And Hopeful Songs About Climate Change

Do you ever wish you could express your climate crisis hopes, fears and frustration through the medium of song? Well, if you don't have musical talent yourself, plenty of other people have done it for you!

Music has always been closely linked to protests, revolutions and powerful change. Every movement has its ballad. Well, luckily, the climate movement is spoilt for choice! There's an array of songs from bands old and new that are either about the climate crisis explicitly or the destruction of our environment and the power of the people.

We've made a playlist on the1 Million Women Spotify account of all the best songs born out of our climate crisis, some may surprise you! There's something for every mood - songs to dance to and songs to cry to. As a self-proclaimed music nerd, I'm always ready for my next playlist challenge, and this one was fun!

Here's a taste of what you'll find on the playlist:

Radiohead - Idioteque

This one's a great reminder of the urgency of the climate crisis and the reality of the situation.

"We're not scaremongering

This is really happening, happening

We're not scaremongering

This is really happening, happening"

Childish Gambino - Feels Like Summer

The music video features animated cameos from Beyonce, Kanye West, Michelle Obama and many more that reflect events from the media. However it's the lyrics that really speak to climate change and other issues of the time, for example:

"Every day gets hotter than the one before

Running out of water, it's about to go down

Go down

Air that kill the bees that we depend upon

Birds were made for singing

Waking up to no sound

No sound"

Billie Eilish - all the good girls go to hell

Billie Eilish has spoken in interviews about how the song overall is about climate change and global warming, among other things. In the music video she falls from heaven into a pool of oil and the lyrics talk about hills burning in California, which she says speaks to how her generation are used to seeing these things within their lives.

"Hills burn in California

My turn to ignore ya

Don't say I didn't warn ya"

Bad Religion - Kyoto Now!

Back in 2002 Bad Religion released this protest song with a title that was clearly calling for the Kyoto Protocol to be signed. The Kyoto Protocol called for industrialised countries to commit to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with individual targets, like a precursor to The Paris Agreement.

In typical punk fashion, their lyrics reflect their frustration with those in power at the time.

"You might not think it matters now

But what if you are wrong?

You might not think there's any wisdom

In a f**d up punk rock song

But the way it is cannot persist for long

A brutal sun is rising on a sick horizon."

Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Shut It Down

Originally released on his 2019 album Colorado, Neil Young recently released a music video to the song during Covid-19 and retitled it Shut It Down 2020. Lyrics include:

"Have to shut the whole system down

All around the planet

There's a blindness that just can't see

Have to shut the whole system down

They're all wearing climate change

As cool as they can be"

The Pixies - Monkey Gone to Heaven

With Biblical references entwined and possibly Darwinian references to humans being the monkeys going to heaven, environmentalism is a focal point of this song. I will admit that this one is more elusive than others, but Pixies fans mostly agree this song is about the destruction of our environment.

"The creature in the sky

Got sucked in a hole

Now there's a hole in the sky

And the ground's not cold

And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn

We'll all take turns, I'll get mine too"

The 1975 - The 1975

This one is a bit more on the nose than the others as it's a musical composition that features a modified speech by Greta Thunberg calling for action on climate change. All the proceeds from the song went to Extinction Rebellion.

Paul McCartney - Despite Repeated Warnings

All hail Sir Paul for giving us an almost 7-minute long song about decades of warnings from climate scientists about the climate crisis and decades of inaction from governments.

"What can we do, what can we do

What can we do to stop this foolish plan going through?

What can we do, what can we do? (Yeah, yeah!)

This man is bound to lose his ship and his crew"

Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Released in 1971, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we all have an obligation to care for it well before the threats of climate change were widely known.

"Mercy, mercy me

Things ain't what they used to be, no no

Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas

Fish full of mercury"

Smash Mouth - All Star

You all know this one. The years really do start coming and they don't stop coming! Whilst the song may not be completely about climate change, this verse pretty much sums it up -

"It's a cool place, and they say it gets colder

You're bundled up now, wait 'til you get older

But the meteor men beg to differ

Judging by the hole in the satellite picture

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin

The water's getting warm so you might as well swim

My world's on fire, how 'bout yours?

That's the way I like it and I'll never get bored"

Check out our playlist for more songs about climate change and the environment!

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