53 Songs About Nature and the Environment

Updated on March 26, 2018
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Our beautiful planet is in distress, from pollution to overcrowding to climate change. Remind yourself how much you love nature and the environment with these pop, rock, country, metal, and folk songs. Make every day Earth Day.
Our beautiful planet is in distress, from pollution to overcrowding to climate change. Remind yourself how much you love nature and the environment with these pop, rock, country, metal, and folk songs. Make every day Earth Day. | Source

Every Day Is Earth Day

My dad participated in the first Earth Day as a college student back in 1970, and in many ways I've followed in his footsteps. For years my family has participated in an annual river clean-up in which we collect garbage that people have left in and around our local river. Along with an army of other volunteers, we comb the water, riverbanks, and adjoining wooded acreage, cleaning as we go.

In one day, we attempt to undo some of the damage that the past year has inflicted—trash that includes tires, soda bottles and beer cans, fishing equipment, discarded clothing, and broken lawn chairs. Litter from careless residents threatens to choke our river. We can at least try to ease the congestion.

I hope you have your own way of giving back to our Earth. If you love the environment as much as I do and place a priority on preserving and protecting it, then why not make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs—because really, isn't every day Earth Day?

1. "Truth to Power" by OneRepublic

If you've never heard this achingly beautiful 2017 pop song, then stop what you're doing right now and listen. It depicts our earth in human-like terms as an aging loved one who reminds you of her increasingly frail and weak state, vulnerable to all the assaults of humanity.

Despite those indignities, the Earth seeks our action to change before it's too late:

It's hard to keep goin' on, hard to keep goin' on
If you could see me the way I see you
If you could feel me the way I feel you
You'd be a believer.

2. "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson

The Earth is crying and the heavens are falling down in this 1995 international chart-topper. War, pollution, and environmental devastation have taken their combined toll, and the narrator wonders whether there is time to reverse the destructive course we are on.

This socially conscious song is the last song Michael Jackson sang before his sudden death in 2009.

3. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" by Marvin Gaye

Yearning for a purer, simpler time, the narrator in this 1971 R&B song laments all the damage that we have done to the earth. This includes poisoned air, oil spills, overcrowding, and radiation. He wonders what we've done and how much more abuse the Earth can stand.

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4. "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows (featuring Vanessa Carlton)

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

When it comes to nature, that's absolutely the truth. This song was originally recorded in 1970 by folk singer Joni Mitchell, then revived in 2003 as a much bigger, international hit.

The tune describes how a paradise-like plot of land was paved over in the name progress so that it could become a parking lot, a pink hotel, a boutique, and a night club. The song also asks farmers to stop using DDT, as the narrator prefers imperfect apples to poisoned ones.

"I've always regarded nature as the clothing of God." - Alan Hovhaness, American composer
"I've always regarded nature as the clothing of God." - Alan Hovhaness, American composer | Source

5. "Eyes Wide Open" by Gotye

Are you willing to make the necessary changes to save the world?

This 2015 pop song is ironically catchy because it features a foreboding message warning us of Earth's destruction. It points to civilization's end and indicts humankind as having walked the plank towards our own self-destruction, eyes wide open.

6. "Pass It On Down" by Alabama

The country group Alabama reminds us in this 1990 ditty that the environment is merely ours to borrow until we pass it on down to the next generation. We have to preserve the air, forests, and the oceans so that our children can enjoy them. The song references the detrimental impact of acid rain, unsafe drinking water, the hole in the ozone layer, ocean trash, and deforestation, and it motivates us to act now:

So let's leave some blue up above us
Let's leave some green on the ground
It's only ours to borrow, let's save some for tomorrow
Leave it and pass it on down.

7. "4 Minutes" by Madonna (featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland)

There is little lyrical depth to this dance pop number from 2008, but the message is clear: there isn't much time left to save the world. The song creates urgency around taking action and encourages us to wake up and do something now.

8. "Make a Little Wave" by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas

This 2009 song is about the power of social activitism. It emphasizes what one determined person can do, making small changes that in turn can impact the broader world and those in it. The tune was part of an initiative by young Disney stars to benefit environmental conservation and wildlife organizations.

9. "Doctor My Eyes" by Jackson Browne

Who is to say what exactly made the guy in this 1972 pop song so glum. Some say it was the war. Others say it was the totality of living. Regardless, he's witnessed the evil and destruction of the world too long, and it has wrecked his idealism. As he tries to seek a doctor's help, he realizes that he's become too hardened and simply accepts his fate.

Don't be this guy. Our environment needs you to persist and get busy.

10. "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver

Anyone who has been to the Rockies understands the all-natural high you can get there:

Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

The 1972 soft rock tune is one of Colorado's two official state songs, describing both the beauty of the mountains and lamenting the destruction brought with economic development. Tourism is the top industry in Colorado today, generating more than $80 billion in revenue annually—both a blessing and a curse.

11. "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons

If we're not careful, nature as we know it will cease to be. We'll be left with what's in this 2012 electro-rock song, a radioactive wasteland. The narrator paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic world where he is surrounded by ash and dust and breathes in toxic chemicals.

12. "Fall On Me" by R.E.M.

This early R.E.M. song from 1986 was initially about environmentalism and the problem of acid rain. The result of pollutants, acid rain damages forests, fresh water, aquatic life and infrastructure. It causes paint to peel, steel on bridges to corrode, and stone statues to erode.

13. "Seminole Wind" by John Anderson

Today the Sunshine state is a booming tourist mecca, but it used to be home to the Seminole Indians. This 1992 country song bemoans the draining of the Florida Everglades and the forcible removal of the natives from their lands in the name of flood control and economic development:

Ever since the days of old
Men would search for wealth untold
They'd dig for silver and for gold
And leave the empty holes ... .

Amazing Facts About the Environment

Did You Know?
And How About This?
The U.S. consumes 30% of the world resources yet has only 5% of the world's population.
Every day, 27,000 trees are cut down for toilet paper.
Approximately 40% of lakes in America are too polluted for swimming, fishing, or aquatic life.
Paper can be recycled up to 6 times. Unfortunately, paper still makes up about 29% of municipal solid waste in the U.S.
Walk a mile on an average U.S. highway and you'll find 1,457 pieces of litter.
Every year, 80 trillion aluminum cans are used. Although they can be recycled indefinitely, only about half of aluminum cans are actually recycled.
The human population has grown as much in the last 50 years as it has in the last 4 million years.
Each minute, we lose 100 acres of rainforest.
According to an 2018 study, microplastic particles exist in 90% of bottled drinking water.
Americans toss 25 trillion Styrofoam cups each year. Styrofoam is the most unfriendly packaging product to the environment today, taking more than 1 million years to decompose!
Global demand for clean water will increase 40% by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Plastic bags and other plastic trash kill 100,000 animals in our oceans every year.
Turn your concern into action.

14. "Blackened" by Metallica

Metal rockers care about our environment, too. This 1991 metal song personifies the planet and features Mother Earth's painful death at our callous hands. Our selfish actions will catapult the planet into a blistering obscurity, obliterating all life as we know it:

Smoldering decay
Take her breath away
Millions of our years
In minutes disappears.

15. "Time Is Ticking Out" by The Cranberries

We need to wake up to the impact that our actions are having on the global environment before it's too late. That's the urgent message in this 2002 indie rock song. It references the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the hole in the ozone layer, and radiation. Blaming human gluttony and politicians' inaction, the narrator fears that our children will reap an environment that has been ravaged by pollution.

"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer
"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer | Source

16. "Don't Drink the Water" by The Dave Matthews Band

This rock song from 1998 is a tribute to the native people of America and the persecution and devastation felt at having their entire world ripped from them by encroaching European colonists.

The song's narrator is a non-native who looks forward to moving aside current inhabitants and building upon their once-sacred land. Filled with hatred, greed, and an insatiable appetite for expansion, he claims what is not his and fills the water with their blood.

So you will lay your arms down
Yes, I will call this home
Away, away
You have been banished
Your land is gone
And given me
And here I will spread my wings
Yes, I will call this home.

17. "Another Way to Die" by Disturbed

The message in this 2010 heavy metal song is a warning to us all:

The time bomb is ticking
And no one is listening.
Our future is fading
Is there any hope we'll survive?

The song predicts apocalyptic consequences of humans' insatiable consumption. Global warming is Mother Earth's revenge, and it will lead to starvation and destruction of our way of life unless we repent and reverse course immediately

18. "Going Up the Country" by Canned Heat

Long before it became a GEICO jingle, this 1968 rock song was the unofficial anthem of Woodstock, appealing to escapist desires of young hippies. The narrator invites his friend to leave the city's conflict and flee to the peace of the country, where they can jump in the water and commune with nature.

19. "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil

Just as Americans have a shameful past in usurping the land of the American Indians, Australians similarly treated their own indigenous people poorly. This 1987 rock song references destroying land that belonged to the native Australian people and the indifference towards their suffering. It also calls for returning their land to them, finally.

20. "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

This instantly recognizable pop ballad from 1967 is in the Grammy Hall of Fame for good reason. The uplifting song references skies, rainbows, trees, roses in bloom, and other natural phenomena as proof of the beauty of life.

"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein, German-American physicist
"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein, German-American physicist | Source

Even More Songs About Nature and the Environment

Song
Artist(s)
Year Released
21. Nature's Way
Spirit
1970
22. Equally Destructive
After Forever
2007
23. Only Human
Jason Mraz
2008
24. Fields of Gold
Sting
1993
25. Gone Green
Brad Paisley
2014
26. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Peter, Paul & Mary
1962
27. Take Me Home, Country Roads
John Denver
1971
28. Listen to the River
Enya
2015
29. Green River
Creedence Clearwater Revival.
1969
30. Nothing but Flowers
Talking Heads
1988
31. Nobody's Fault
Aerosmith
1976
32. If a Tree Falls
Bruce Cockburn
1991
33. Echo Beach
Martha and the Muffins
2010
34. Sunshine on My Shoulders
John Denver
1971
35. Winter Bird
Aurora
2016
36. Stonewall
Annihilator
1989
37. Down by the River
Albert Hammond
1972
38. The Range
Bruce Hornsby
1988
39. The 3 Rs
Jack Johnson
2006
40. Conviction of the Heart
Kenny Loggins
1991
41. Skies of L.A.
Celine Dion
2007
42. S.O.S. (Mother Nature)
Will.i.am
2007
43. I Need to Wake Up
Melissa Etheridge
2005
44. Poison in the Well
10,000 Maniacs
1989
45. What About Now
Daughtry
2006
46. Why'd You Want to Live Here
Death Cab for a Cutie
2001
47. It's the End of the World as We Know It
R.E.M.
1987
48. A Campfire Song
10,000 Maniacs
1987
49. Paradise (What About Us?)
Temptation
2013
50. Be the Rain
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
2003
51. Dirt
Florida Georgia Line
2014
52. My City Was Gone
The Pretenders
1984
53. Spanish Pipedream (Blow Up Your TV)
John Prine
1971
Know a song about nature or the environment that should be on this list? Suggest it in the Comments Section below.
"I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment." - Pat Buckley, Canadian socialite
"I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment." - Pat Buckley, Canadian socialite | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 FlourishAnyway

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      • Frances Metcalfe profile image

        Frances Metcalfe 3 weeks ago from The Limousin, France

        You're so welcome!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Frances - The US could learn a lot from other countries' approaches to the environment, such as the weighing of trashcans and paying based on the amount of garbage you produce. Because my husband has worked as an engineer at recycle paper mills for so many years, we recycle as much as we can -- much more than anyone else in our neighborhood. I also like Ireland's approach of making shoppers bring their own bags or pay for them. Thanks for stopping by and giving the French perspective.

      • Frances Metcalfe profile image

        Frances Metcalfe 3 weeks ago from The Limousin, France

        Apposite article for our times. The environment is something we in our household really care about. we recycle everything possible It's helped here in France that your dustbin is weighed each time it's emptied and you have to pay for the weight you chuck out, so you're encouraged to take any thing it's possible to recycle to the appropriate recycling bin. The poll was SO hard to choose just one from the list - they're all so devastating to the environment, don't you think? But in the end I chose deforestation. A great way though to bring more attention to the damage we're doing to our 'What a wonderful world'.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Jo - That's one with a humorous twist. Thanks for the suggestion. I've added it at #53. Have a wonderful week. Hope spring has sprung in your part of the world.

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 3 weeks ago from Tennessee

        My favorite song about nature, though it may not fit this list perfectly, is John Prine's 'Blow Up Your TV'. It's become my anthem here on the hill where we live. I've taught it to all of the granddaughters.

        Great list. Worthwhile subject.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Chitrangada - Thank you for your kind words of support. If we all make changes, even small ones, we can make a difference in the world. Have a wonderful week ahead!

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

        Great article, and a very important one!

        You shared the environmental facts too, along with the wonderful list of songs. Michael Jackson’s song is one of my favourites. Other songs are equally good.

        Thanks for sharing, and spreading awareness about the precious Nature and environment, through your excellent article!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Heidi, It's often hard to tell where this world is going these days. Just when we thought the Cold War was behind us, we find that history does have a way of repeating itself. Hope you are doing well and that spring has sprung or is about to for you. It's daffodils here today but snow tomorrow.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Dora - Isn't that so sad? I plan to visit the Amazon this summer with my family. We have gotten our yellow fever and other vaccines already and are excited about going but there's also a bit of sadness because I know it's being destroyed at such a fast clip. Thanks for commenting. Have a good week.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Devika - I couldn't agree with you more. Hope you are doing well.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Rasma - I hope it inspires others to do something good for nature, even if it's just picking up some litter or recycling more. Thanks for commenting.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Larry - He does epitomize concern about the Earth, doesn't he? Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 4 weeks ago from Oklahoma

        A lot of good songs in this genre, but John Denver is who I think of first.

        So many problems and it's hard to prioritize, but I really feel global warming is the most immediate danger to this planet.

        Great list!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        Great topic. Thanks for the lyrics and especially for the environmental facts. Each minute, we lose 100 acres of rainforest? Wow!

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

        John Denver is the first artist that always comes to mind for earthy, nature-y songs. But I do like Sting's Fields of Gold. Another one of Sting's I'd add is "Russians." Great list for Earth Day coming up next month! Happy Monday!

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 4 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Great songs! Well said! Our environment needs a lot of care.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 4 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

        Fantastic collection never knew there were so many about nature and the environment. Thank you for sharing.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Linda - It's my hope that more people will turn their love of the environment into loving action for good. The Earth needs all the help she can get right now. Thanks so much for your support.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for creating this article, Flourish. The Earth needs all the help it can get. I couldn't vote in your poll because all of the choices concern me a great deal.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Suhail - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I believe very much as you do, that overpopulation is the root of many of our critical environmental problems, as way too many people compete for a limited number of resources. I have also noticed what you do in regard to multiplying oneself (overmultiplying) in the name of extreme religion. Education opens wonderful doors. I sometimes shock others incapable of understanding my more extreme views that humans are not inordinately superior to animals. We exploit animals horribly, but we are all in this together. I hope you and your family -- including K2 -- have a wonderful week.

      • Suhail and my dog profile image

        Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 weeks ago from Mississauga, ON

        Hi Flourish,

        I was not expecting a list of songs along this theme, but I am glad to report that this is the list most familiar to me. This is because I am an environmentalist and nature lover (although not a tree hugger).

        I was so amazed to see Midnight Oil in there. When I started reading this article, this band was on my mind and I was curious whether you would mention it here.

        Since I listen to many songs from this list repetitively, I used to get depressed earlier on, but now this makes me work for environment even more.

        I hope you are seriously planning to write a book on this thematic songs lists :-)

        Like so many others, I believe for all the environmental problems we are having now, the root cause is over-population. More the religious extremist the group is, more it is contributing to over-population believing that 'Man' (I repeat, 'Man') is superior to all other creations and that all the animal forms have been created to serve 'Man'. I can see it in all religions, except Hinduism, but then that is marred with many other social issues.

        Warm regards from a pleasant Mississauga in the GTA,

        Suhail and K2

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Mary - You're so right with the nuclear weapons. I don't know why so many bullies aspire to have them and threaten to use them. They could make it so that we don't have anything left to worry about or hope for. I appreciate your comment.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Dianna - Thank you for your kind support. I hoped to get this out well ahead of Earth Day. Have a great weekend!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Mary - People are usually motivated to do something when they have a significant emotional event or when they see that it serves their own interests. We have a long way to go not only in Western countries but around the world. Thanks for weighing in. Have a wonderful weekend.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Bill - I hope we get our priorities right as well. Have a good weekend.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Linda - It sounds like you live in a little slice of heaven. I envy your duck pond and brook in particular. I live on only a small plot of land with a wooded backyard which we have tried to make a woodland haven for the animals -- lots of birdfeeders! Unfortunately, a ginormous Amazon distribution facility has been built very close by and the traffic, litter, and noise encroach. I am ever cognizant of the price of convenience.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 4 weeks ago from Brazil

        Although it's easy to think of protecting the environment as a current trend, it has been around a long time. So many artists have been pushing the issue for a long time. I personally love John Denver's music and he was (mostly) a supporter of a natural way of living without destroying the planet.

        Although many measures are put into place in many westernized countries, pollution and poor land management are rife in other places.

        Excellent list of nature songs.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Flourish, what a great article for ushering in the Spring Equinox. All of life is awakening in my little corner of the world. This is without a doubt my favorite time of year, and feel extremely blessed to live in this beautiful place. I am surrounded by nature--tall trees, a gently moving brook, a duck pond, and whitetail deer roaming about. The loss of habitat (deforestation and poor land management) are my biggest concerns because it impacts our ability to sustain life both now and in the future.

        Thank you for creating a hub that is both beautiful and causes us to gain a better appreciation for our world and how keenly fragile it is.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        My two guesses made the top ten....#9 and #10....great list of songs....great topic...hopefully we will learn, as a species, to protect this gift we have been given.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 4 weeks ago

        Love the quote on nature being the clothing of God. Once again you have amazed me with your ability to inspire through music.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        The pictures are lovely made more pleasing by the words in them. Overpopulation seems to be taking a reverse trend in many countries now but the possession of nuclear weapons seems to be the dream of every dictator.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Frank - Overpopulation is my vote, too, Frank. Way too many people! I don't know what we're gonna do with them all! Have a good weekend.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

        Nikki - I'm glad you enjoyed this. I cannot imagine what we'd do if our natural environment became so contaminated we just had cities. Yuck.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 4 weeks ago from London

        What a wonderful list of songs about nature Flourish!

        Loved reading their names, quotes are so deeply connected between God and Nature which is great to soothe your mind and soul as Nature also refreshes your inner soul.

        And it’s our duty to keep it clean and tidy to keep it’s refreshing look and do not destroy it.

        A marvellous read to enjoy, thanks for sharing with us.

        Bless you dear!

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        Frank Atanacio 4 weeks ago

        Yeah these songs really hit the mark... doctor my eyes was about war.. over population is how I voted... thanks for sharing Flourish

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