Experiment– posting the latest news of environmental music and song

If you are a follower of our Songs for EE Facebook group, you will note we post a lot of current events items about musical folks and events that highlight environmental learning. Essentially, we’re curating a number of Google alerts feeds with relevant search topics.

As a trial, I’ll post an occasional summary of these news… starting right now:

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UN Music and Environment Initiative

The United Nations is taking the songs for EE movement to a whole new level!

UNEP Music and Environment Initiative website.

The objectives of the Initiative are twofold:

  • use the popularity of music to promote environmental awareness and respect for the environment among the public, especially young people,
  • assist in the process of “greening” of the music and entertainment industry.

Music is one of the most powerful mediums to communicate environmental messages to billions of people worldwide – irrespective of race, religion, income, gender or age.

Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other partners, the UN Music & Environment Initiative aims to leverage the power of music to address some of the most pressing environmental problems facing the planet.


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New Study on Music, the Environment, and Sustainability Education

“Music fans can be turned off by messaging that seems contrived, preachy, or overwhelming. The efficacy of a pro-environmental message can be profoundly influenced by perceptions of its sincerity, relevance, and artistic quality.” — from the abstract.

Jennifer Publicover, scholar and musician from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada recently successfully defended her thesis titled Perspectives on Music, the Environment, and Sustainability Education from Recording Artists Featured on the David Suzuki Foundation Playlist for the Planet. Info and link to full thesis.

“This study explores the use of music as a tool for environmental education and advocacy, and what sorts of implications there are both for professional musicians who advocate on behalf of the environment and for environmental educators who wish to use music as one of their teaching tools. It is based on in-depth interviews with musicians who have contributed songs to a 30-track compilation album released in 2011 by the David Suzuki Foundation called the “Playlist for the Planet”. Eleven of the contributors were the provincial and territorial winners of a Canada-wide contest set up by the Suzuki Foundation in a quest for environmental anthems, a contest which attracted over 600 applicants and made use of online voting through CBC Radio 3. The rest of the contributors were prominent Canadian musicians specifically invited by the Foundation. Nearly half of the album’s contributors have graciously donated their time and insights to this academic study, including Bruce Cockburn, David Myles, Danny Michel , Tanya Tagaq, Remy Rodden, and many others, representing a wide range of musical styles, types of engagement with environmental issues, performing contexts, and fan bases.”


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Introducing the music/environment connection, by Harold Wood


Harold Wood has made great contributions to music and environment, through his detailed  Earth Songs pages. Here is a repost from the home page of this site. 

Modern science, and even economics, tell us that global environmental protection is a necessity and must become a greater priority. But what we know in our minds isn’t enough to inspire action. We need to feel with our hearts the magnitude of our responsibility to care for the earth.

Music is, and always has been, a primary motivator for humans. La Marseillaise was valuable to the French Revolution, and We Shall Overcome was a major component of the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Nkosi Sikeleli’s music was helpful during the South African struggle against apartheid. In Estonia, between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. Their successful effort became the Singing Revolution where the Estonian people strategically and willfully sung their way to freedom — and helped topple an empire along the way.

We need music linked to environmental activism! Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher often expresses his own deep faith in the power of song, to unite people and empower them to act without fear. Referring to environmental and climate justice advocates in America, Tim summed up his own perspective: “We will be a movement,” he frequently stated, “when we sing like a movement.”

And its beginning to happen! A Belgian initiative in 2012 launched a Sing for the Climate initiative with a rousing song “Do it Now!” In Belgium that year, more than 380,000 people sang ‘Do it now”! and the resulting video was was given to Belgian and European Union political leaders with great success. They now hope people will make their own music videos singing the song and upload it to share with world leaders at the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Paris. So far people from 23 countries and 430 cities have done so!

In the United States, People’s Climate Music is helping to expand the climate movement by organizing diverse and influential artists to create music and culture that inspires action to solve the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced – climate change. Organizations leading People’s Climate Music include Hip Hop Caucus, 350.org, Avaaz, NRDC, and Sierra Club. Check out their environmental album, Home, a compilation of rap and R&B songs whose title doubles as a stirring acronym: Heal Our Mother Earth.

For one of the most recent songs of this genre, see “Love Song to the Earth” – a benefit song with some of the world’s biggest names in music joining voices to inspire action on climate change. Every time the song is purchased, streamed, or shared, the royalties go directly towards the efforts of Friends of the Earth to keep fossil fuels in the ground and lower carbon emissions, and to the work of the U.N. Foundation to inspire international action on climate change.

But let’s not let just the professional musicans sing these songs. We need to sing our own songs for the Earth, climate justice, peace, and freedom. Let all of these Earth Songs inspire us to greater love and protection of the Earth.

Earth Songs … a collection of environmental songs (ecology music), albums, and songbooks with lyrics that promote the love and protection of the Earth, and links to related resources.

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Earth Day/Week bonanza of EE songs

Earth Day April 22 brings out the eco-singer in us, it seems…folks love to celebrate the Earth with song at this time of year. Commercial interests tend to jump on board too, like it or not. Here is what’s come our way in the last little while:

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Quotables from our info/ideas section

Here are some quotable excerpts from our Ideas/Info section…

A song may jolt us. It can unlock our shared ancient yearning for peace, the mystical energy tapped as we view an unspoiled vista. The emotions released by a song (or speech, play, movie) can help validate the principle of environmental protection being more important than individual property rights….That is why art and music are so important. They can define, mystically, who we are. Without the dreamers, there is no hope society can save itself. Margaret Mead is correct. A folk song can save the world.

(Fred Starner,  A Folk Song Could Save the World). [David Suzuki thinks so too…]

…the songs that I gravitate toward tend to be simple without being simplistic, and direct without being preachy, about things that children can connect to easily in their own experiences. And, of course, the songs which are the most fun to play with and add to with an audience, also will continue to be fresh and enjoyable for them (and me)…
I love to sing outdoors, so that the natural sights and sounds of the environment can creep into the experience, and can be the springboard for other songs and conversation about how our world works. And while we’re at it we might try to make some music with a piece of grass, or an acorn top, or listen to the wind through the leaves.

(Dave Orleans, Earthsinging in Your Own Backyard)

Students, especially elementary age kids, love music. So, if you embed learning outcomes within an activity that youngsters are already physically and often emotionally invested in, they will be much more likely to remember the content of the lesson….
There are many ways that music (and the arts generally) can be tapped to teach all subjects. I would like to offer the musical intelligence mode as a natural place to begin a more active use of Multiple Intelligences theory in classroom and outdoor education teaching and learning….
Musical melody can often hook their emotional (affective) energy as well, increasing the chances that they will care about saving the species. In general, teaching kids to care – about themselves, those around them, and other living things – is one of the biggest gifts educators can offer. Utilising our affinity for music facilitates such a synergistic benefit.

(Peter Lenton, Tapping Music to Encourage Environmental Literacy)

If opportunities for participation in all these various kinds of musical activity are presented to students and accepted by them as worthwhile, it does not guarantee that an environment ethic is being developed. However, since and environmental ethic must necessarily begin with an awareness of and appreciation for the resources involved, it may be assumed that positive involvement in these kinds of activities could be a good beginning….
All of these experiences–listening, performing, creating–help to fulfill that personal desire to respond individually to a basic question: What meaning does this (fact, idea, concept, generalization) have for me?

(Jean Hoem, Music and the Environment)




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Singing Locally, Thinking Globally

It’s been a lot of fun reviving this online home for the Songs for EE (SEE) community… and one of the most striking elements is how many fabulous artists/creators  there are out there! Seems like every region has its own eco-troubadour singing the praises of their local natural heritage. These are caring folks who use their talents to create “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible“.

singlocalsmlThere are surely more that SEE does not know about yet… please send in your links to your regional eco-singers so we can add to our list.

Here’s to “Singing Locally, Thinking Globally”!

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Webinar: Inspiring Deeper Learning Through Music

Produced by Green Teacher magazine
Presenters: Remy Rodden and Joyce Rouse (Earth Mama)

Thursday, March 31 2016 7:30-8:30pm EST


Why do we teach and learn our ABC’s with a song? Learning techniques that use music, motion, humor and fun take place in the affective domain of the brain, and tend to be deeper and longer lasting. Join two veteran singer-songwriter-performers for tips and tools for using music to teach and reinforce concepts for long term behavioral changes.


Remy Rodden
is a singer-songwriter and Manager of Environmental Education and Youth Programs with the Department of Environment, in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. He’s performed his “not-for-kids-only” nature and conservation songs from coast to coast to coast in Canada, and every continent including Antarctica — in schools, in festivals, at conferences, and for the penguins!

joyce-rouseJoyce Rouse (Earth Mama) is a singer, songwriter, actor, educator and creator of the  Earth Mama® music projects.  She addresses the critical issues facing our planet, as inspired by her love of Earth and her Masters Degree in Earth Literacy.   She communicates her messages in an effective and entertaining way, in words adults and children alike can readily understand, and in a variety of tempos that make them fun to listen to and easy to remember.  Her songs are heard world-wide through various media, at Earth Mama concerts, and on her eleven CD’s which now play on six continents.

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Songs for EE Back Online!

Ok, indeed, it has been a while. My goodness, 2011 was the last entry? How the time flies. And how other priorities (family, day job…you know) take over.

Nonetheless, he we are again, and hoping you will learn, share and create community though this site, and our Facebook group.

And I will admit, this flurry of activity is pressure-prompted as our upcoming webinar draws near.

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Songs for EE Workshop at EECOM 2011

Here we are in Regina at the annual meeting of EECOM: The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication.What a time! Kudos to the organizers for such a well-coordinated and stimulating program.

Links for items discussed in  this workshop:

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